Why does a bath towel start to smell bad?


sunfried_84 asks:

If you are always drying yourself off after taking a shower and you are clean, then why does a bath towel start to smell bad after you have used it for a couple of days? Shouldn’t it smell faintly of your soap?

Best answer:

Answer by Donna
It can get mildew from being wet.

10 thoughts on “Why does a bath towel start to smell bad?

  1. When people bath its natural that you don’t wash off 100% of dirt, even if you did there is a layer of oil on your skin that needs to be washed off.

  2. It starts to smell because it grows mildew. It’s not just that you’re “clean” because even though you may appear clean, there is still bacteria on your skin (sometimes fungi, too: athlete’s foot, ringworm, yeast infections, etc.) It grows on the towel, causing a smell. Before we were married, my husband would use the same towel for over a week. That’s just nasty.

  3. bacteria/mold is growing in your towel when it is wet
    you need to change it more often
    wash it in hot water
    and don’t let it sit wet in the machine to long
    dry it promptly

  4. I think it depends on where you live as where I am its quite dry so towels that are hung up after a shower are dry in no time so that doesn’t happen. Its probably because of high humidity and the towels have a chance to get mildewy before drying.

  5. You will get many answers to this question. The most likely cause of towels beginning to smell is that they take a while to dry out especially if left either bunched up or in an area that does not have a lot of ventilation. What you are beginning to smell is mildew in its mildest form. Simply a form of mold, not the gross stuff you see that is black and yucky, but mold nevertheless. In addition, you are leaving behind dried skin cells that do not actually come off in the shower, and those contribute as well, as they degrade or are victims of the mold. If you left the towel outside in the sun on a dry warm day, it would not smell because mold grows mostly in damp, dank and dark areas.
    So, just bite the bullet and use a towel about three times, then make sure it is dry before you wad it up and throw it in the dirty clothes basket.

  6. When towels are left damp, especially in a washer mildew begins to grow on them…thats where the odor comes from!

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