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Soft, White Towels | Secrets of Luxury Hotels

Soft, White Towels | Secrets of Luxury Hotels

To get soft, white towels, like at a luxury hotel, it’s not enough to just choose the right material. You’ve also got to know how to clean and maintain your towels to keep them soft and white. That said, here’s how you can get soft plush towels–the type you’re likely to find in a luxury hotel.

Get soft, white towels like at a luxury hotel by opting for 100% organic cotton weighing 700 GSM (grams per square meter). Use hydrogen peroxide to remove stains, not bleach. Also, use baking soda for softness, vinegar to eliminate residue, and dry them properly.  

Towels with less than 400 GSM are comparatively coarse even when they are new, so retaining their softness is a non-starter. Once you buy a plush towel, adopt a few best practices of luxury hotels to wash, dry, and maintain it so that it remains soft and white. Read on to learn how.

How Hotels Wash Their Towels

cheerful maid touching button on washing machine in hotel laundry

Hotels use industrial washing machines, which are more powerful with a much larger capacity than those manufactured for consumers. Hotels also use heavy-duty detergents with a higher pH than standard detergents used in most homes. 

The hospitality industry doesn’t use the standard home appliances that you and I have. Industrial washing machines are much more effective and efficient.

Also, hotels don’t use light-duty detergents, which are suitable only for finer fabrics that don’t get extensively dirty and soiled. Instead, hotels use heavy-duty detergents with a pH of around 10, whereas light-duty variants have a pH of around 8. A higher pH value makes detergent more corrosive, so the cleaning effect is better. 

How to Wash Your Towels at Home

So what can you do at home to get your towels soft and keep them plush?

You may use the Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10X (available on Amazon.com) laundry detergent with 10 active enzymes for intensive cleaning. It’s compatible with all water conditions and high-efficiency washers.

Another option is the Persil Pro Clean Original (available on Amazon.com). This is twice as powerful as the light-duty Persil Laundry Detergent Liquid. The Persil Pro Clean is more effective at deep stain removal because its light-duty detergent formula doesn’t have as many enzymes.

How Hotels Keep Towels So White

Hotels will use several cleaning tactics to keep their towels white, including washing them in hot water, using hydrogen peroxide to remove stains, and using vinegar to remove built-up residue. 

In addition to heavy-duty detergent and industrial washing machines, most luxury hotels employ different tactics to keep their towels white, including but not limited to the following:

  • Hot water: Cleaning towels in hot water is a standard practice in the hospitality industry. Most industrial washing machines have preset modes that regulate the temperature based on the selected program. Note that hot water doesn’t necessarily imply scalding temperatures.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: The housekeeping staff of many luxury hotels pretreat towels with a hydrogen peroxide solution. Many carry a spray bottle to apply hydrogen peroxide on stains before piling all the dirty towels en route to the laundry department. 
  • Other solutions: Hotels don’t have an identical practice, but vinegar is a popular choice, especially to remove detergent or suds residue from towels. Vinegar effectively removes any residual sud buildup in the natural fabric of towels after washing.  

How to Keep Your Towels White

Try using a hydrogen peroxide and water in a 1:1 ratio to soak or spot-clean a towel if it has a stain. You can also add a cup of white vinegar to a few cotton towels after washing them with a heavy-duty detergent to cleanse any potential residue buildup. 

Both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar have a similar impact on retaining whiteness because of the effect on stain and sud buildup, which are facilitators of discoloration. Also, residue buildup makes towels more vulnerable to further staining than the natural fabric of the towel.

But Hotel Towels Are So Soft!

Hotels keep their towels soft with a pre-treatment consisting of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar. They are also careful not to use too much bleach or detergent when washing the towels. They usually don’t use fabric softeners, which can prevent towels from being absorbent and drying quickly.

Suppose you clean your towels with detergent and then use a half cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove all residue. You can then wash the towels again using a half cup of baking soda to soften your towels. Remember to use hot water and regular wash, rinse, and spin cycles.

Baking soda is a great option for cleaning, softening, and removing odors. You should not use baking soda and vinegar together, however. Make sure that you use them in separate loads or use baking soda in the wash with detergent and vinegar in the rinse cycle.

Secrets to Soft Bathroom Towels at Home

While you may think that you should use bleach to keep your towels soft and white, you won’t need to use bleach if you use the three cleaning and softening agents: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar.

However, if you opt for bleach as a whitening agent, don’t use any more than absolutely necessary. Bleach can damage cotton if you use it excessively and incorrectly. A plush towel probably won’t disintegrate should you use bleach once, but the softness could be affected if you use it a lot.

Likewise, you shouldn’t use excessive detergent if you want to keep your towels soft. Moderate detergent use reduces residual suds, and the abrasive cleaning doesn’t damage the fabric. Also, you won’t have to use baking soda or vinegar all the time if there’s little to no residual buildup.

The last secret to keeping a towel soft is drying it optimally. Take the towel out of the dryer before it is crisp, and then air-dry it. This will retain the softness of a plush towel. 

Hotel Towels Are Usually More Absorbent

white hotel towels on a cleaning cart in a hotel hallway

The first reason why hotel towels dry better than your home towels is the quality or GSM. The 700 GSM towels used by hotels are plusher and more absorbent. The other reasons include how hotels clean and maintain their towels.

According to Alexander Tsemperas, the General Manager of Danae Suites, hotel towels are so good at drying because they’re made from 100% natural fibers like cotton rather than a polyester blend and they’re washed in hot water 104 to 122°F (40 to 50°C).

But the second reason is that hotels do not use fabric softener and neither should you.

So What Towel Materials Do Upscale Hotels Choose?

The most common hotel towel material is 100% cotton. While Egyptian cotton is more popular, especially in luxury resorts, Turkish cotton is also prevalent in hotels. Luxury hotel towels are rarely below 600 GSM, and cotton-polyester blends are relatively uncommon.

So How Can You Get Hotel-Quality Towels for Home?

To get soft, white towels like a luxury hotel at home, you’ll need to start with plush, 100% cotton towels. One of the best hotel-quality towels is the Delilah Home 100% Organic Cotton Towel. The bath towels are plush with over 700 GSM. Also, these Turkish cotton towels are completely non-toxic and without any chemicals. 

Next, you’ll want to ensure you’re washing your towels with heavy-duty detergent and taking them out of the dryer to air dry before they are crisp. To ensure softness, limit the amount of bleach you use and opt for a combination of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar when necessary. 

To really turn your bathroom into a luxury hotel experience, start by adding a towel warmer. Especially if you live in a cold climate, this can be a game changer for helping you love getting out of the shower or bath.

Note: Do you want to turn your home bathroom into a spa? We’ll send you a step-by-step guide when you sign up for our newsletter by filling out the form below:

Tags: clean towels with baking soda, hotel towels, How to keep towels soft, How to keep towels white, How to wash towels, soften towels with vinegar

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