Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (2023)

Taking care of towels is harder than taking care of other clothes. That’s because towels frequently come in contact with body skin.

As a result, germs make their way in towels and create health issues. With that said, a question may arise, should you wash towels in hot water to prevent complications?

Of course, you should. Unlike cold water, hot water will clean your towels thoroughly and leave them smelling fresh. Though heat can damage towels, when it comes to making them germ-free, hot water has no alternative.

Read on this write-up to know the relationship of hot water and towels in detail. Along with this, we will cover the drawbacks and benefits of hot water and cold water for laundry.

Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (1)

Does hot water ruin towels?

Not at all. Hot water is good for towels actually. It won’t ruin towels instantly or after a few washes. But there is no guarantee that hot water will always be good for towels.

Generally, hot water is good for white towels while warm water is good for colored towels. When bacteria, mould, grease stains, food bits on towels are too stubborn to remove with normal or cold water, hot water will help then.

Therefore, occasional washes with hot water is okay for white towels. However, if you continuously use hot or warm water, it may damage the towel fabric, which is fiber or cotton.

Cotton belongs to the delicate fabric group. Continuous application of hot water will shrink cotton towels, along with the disruption of the towel fibers. Moreover, your bright towels will look dim and lifeless.

Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (2)

Do I need to wash my towels in hot water?

Only occasionally and for logical reasons. As you have learned from the previous section, certain conditions require hot water.

If an ill person uses your towels, you use towels as diapers, or if your towels are exposed to open wounds, they will be heavily infested by bacteria.

Again, if you share your towels with others, they will catch sebum, sweat, salt, dead cells from others’ bodies.

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Kitchen towels often catch germs, sweat, oil, grease, and food particles. Likewise, the towels you use for other purposes contain seen and unseen substances.

To get rid of those substances for good, you need to sanitize your towels. And cold water is not strong enough for sanitization. Hence, hot water can do the task effortlessly.

Though hot water efficiently removes allergens, bacteria, and viruses, it can harden stains too. Protein-based stains need pretreatments with natural cleaners and cold rinse cycles.

If your towels are just stained, don’t need sanitization, you need to pretreat those stains and use cold-water washing. No need to use hot water later.

Wash your new towels before use with cold water to remove chemicals and lint.

To de-stain and disinfect your towels, pretreat the stains first with/without cold water. After that, wash the towels in hot water.

What temperature should you wash towels on?

Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (3)

Before you wash towels, you need to decide on what purposes you will wash them. Is it only a casual wash, stain-removal operation, or disinfecting? Depending on the wash preferences, wash temperature will vary.

If your towels are made of softer fabrics and not too dirty, you can clean them with 30°C washes. However, experts suggest that 30-degree is not good for towels, since towels catch on germs, bacteria, and bodily substances.

The best wash temperature for towels, both colored and white, is 40°C. 40-degree washes kill most of the germs nesting in those soft cloth pieces, also maintain the fluffy texture and look.

If the towels of your house are shared by others, or by an ill person, then 40-degree won’t be enough. You need to put the towels then on 60-degree washes. 60°C temperature will get rid of the odor, mildew, germs, and bacteria more efficiently.

Some towels can tolerate 90-degree washes. But they belong to a specific quality, and are not fit for household uses. You may find them in expensive, lavish hotels.

Should I wash my laundry in hot or cold water?

Both hot and cold water are usable to wash your laundry. However, they produce different outcomes. You cannot use either water on every type of clothes.

We intend to end the hot-water and cold-water debates for good in this section, so read thoroughly.

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Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (4)

When to use hot water for laundry

Use hot water to speed up wash times, remove oily stains, kill bacteria, fungus, virus, insects, allergens, and deodorize clothes.

Before you apply hot-water washing for your laundry, know which clothes can go hand-in-hand with hot water:

  • White cottons
  • Heavily soiled and sweaty garments and underwear
  • Bed, sickbed linens and sheets, also kitchen linens
  • White bath towels and kitchen towels (if necessary)
  • Clothes with oil and grease stains

(N.B. – Use warm water for nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon blends, and lightly dirty clothes.)

Here are the right causes for hot rinse cycles.

To dissolve detergent easily

Hot water helps to dissolve detergent, which cold water cannot. Since detergent doesn’t become clumpy, it won’t leave white patches on clothes. Another advantage is, a hot wash requires less detergent than a cold wash.

To wash faster

Easier and faster solubility of the detergent leads to faster chemical reaction of the detergent. As a result, dirt, germs, odors, and stains are washed away quickly. And you will get clothes smelling fresh and clean.

To disinfect

Cold water cannot kill germs as effectively as hot water does. Hot water kills germs and prevents them from spreading at its best.

Not only that, if there are other types of irritants and allergens stuck in your clothes, hot water can deal with them too.

Experts recommend sanitizing towels, sheets, and other everyday garments with hot water if a household is battling viruses. In this way, the healthy family members won’t be reinfected from the ill members.

To remove soluble stains

Though hot water fails to lighten protein-based stains, it still works on water soluble stains.

Hot water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and remove tomato sauce stains, wine stains, chocolate stains, and grease stains more quickly. But you may need to pre-soak the stains for better results.

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Drawbacks of hot-water washing

Deepens protein-stains

Eggs are a protein item and they harden when you boil them. Just like eggs, protein-stains become darker when exposed to hot water.

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Deadly for environment

Your washer uses three times more electricity than usual for hot washes. More use of electricity aids in wasting the energy, decreasing the machine lifespan, and increasing the power bill.

Again, the machine will release more byproducts in the earth’s atmosphere during hot washes. It will end up affecting the environment.

Damages fabrics

Hot water breaks down the fibers of synthetic fabrics, including polyester, nylon, vinyl, and ultimately makes them useless.

Also, heat is a big NO for delicate fabrics like lace, wool, and silk. If you have garments made of these fabrics, hot water will fade, shrink, and wrinkle them.

When to use cold water for laundry

Use cold water to protect the fabric quality, save water and electricity in the loads, and remove protein-based stains.

Cold wash is helpful in the following cases:

  • Delicate, synthetic fabrics
  • Jeans
  • Bright-colored, dark-colored, and dyed clothes
  • Lightly soiled clothes and garments
  • Clothes with stains of food, mud, grass, makeup, blood, and sweat.

Now read on why you will need cold rinse cycles from the following paragraphs.

Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (6)

To save fabrics

Cold water won’t fade or discolor fabrics. So you can wash clothes of any color with cold water. It will protect and maintain the structure of synthetic fabrics and some other delicate fabrics.

To save energy

Compared to hot washes, you need less electricity in cold washes, because the machine doesn’t need to heat water. Less use of electricity causes less pressure on the washer, thus increasing its lifespan.

Your energy bills won’t be crazy high either. Again, cold washes are environment-friendly. Since cold water doesn’t wrinkle clothes, you won’t have to iron them.

To remove protein-based stains

When your clothes are exposed to coffee, juice, ketchup, mustard, jelly, and blood stains, you need cold water to remove them. Pre-soak the stains in natural cleaners,wash them off with cold water, and your clothes will look like new.

Drawbacks of cold-water washing

No sanitization

Cold water only helps to remove stains, not disinfect. Chances are higher that if you wash your bacteria-manifested clothes with cold water, they will reinfect you.

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Detergent preference

Not all detergents are easily soluble in cold water. Cold water leaves detergent patches on clothes. You need to use specific laundry detergents formulated for cold water to avoid this problem.

Waste of time, water, and detergent

For dealing with stubborn stains, you need to pre-soak the clothes in a solution and later wash them again in cold water. In this way, your laundry time increases, as well as the use of water and detergent.

How long to wash towels in washing machine?

Should you wash towels in hot water? - Home Clasp (7)

Actually there is no fixed timeframe for washing towels in a washing machine. You must wash them after every three uses, but how long to wash towels in washer depends on the manufacturers.

Some machines take 20 minutes, some take half an hour, and some take about an hour and a half. The machine manual will mention it all. Moreover, the wash time may vary if you increase or decrease the wash temperature.


Does high heat ruin towels?

Sometimes it does. Continuous exposure to high heat shrinks towels. Also, towel fibers become weak or rigid. Besides, high heat can fade the towel color. In a word, high heat decreases the beauty and lifespan of towels.

Can you wash a towel in a washing machine?

Yes, you can wash a towel on a regular or normal cycle in a washing machine. Regular or gentle cycles help to clean lightly dirty towels better. But rough cycles with faster spinning and longer washing time clean stubborn dirt and bacteria better. Some washers may have a cycle designed for towels. You can use a sanitizing cycle for your towels, but don’t do it for every wash. Continuous sanitization will damage the towel fabric.

Is it OK to do all the laundry in cold water?

Actually, yes. You can wash any cloth pieces, especially delicate fabrics, with cold water without worries. Cold water won’t disrupt the textile structure but won’t disinfect either. Clothes that are bright-colored, dark, dyed, lightly soiled, and contain protein-based stains are good to go with cold washes. Also, delicate fabrics like silk, wool, linen, cotton require cold water for washing.

Should you wash towels at 60 degrees?

Yes, you should if you want to sterilize them 100%. Towels that have been shared, used as diapers, exposed to open wounds, heavily soiled or bacteria-manifested need 60-degree washes. This temperature is better at killing germs, bacteria, viruses, fungus than 40 degrees.

Is it OK to wash towels at 30 degrees?

No, it is not. 30-degree washes are for clothes, except towels, underwear, household linens, that need general wash. 40 or 60 degrees is the correct temperature to wash sheets, towels, everyday clothes, and heavily soiled garments and remove dirt, stain, and germs from them.


By this time, you must have understood when you should wash towels in hot water. We also hope that the rules of applying hot water and cold water in the loads are clear to you.

Setting the correct temperature and using the right laundry detergent will protect your clothes. You won’t have to buy new ones frequently, indicating more savings on your budget.

Neither cold water nor hot water alone is good for washing all clothes. Therefore, always read the labels of new towels and other clothes to avoid unexpected laundry damages.

You can learn more can you does putting a towel under the door block sound?

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What happens if you wash towels in hot water? ›

However, using hot water comes with a warning. If your water is too hot, it can decrease the life of your towel and also lead to fraying, color bleeding, and shrinkage. The expert recommends opting for a temperature range between 104-140°F for clean towels that will look fresh, wash after wash.

What temp is best to wash towels? ›

A good temperature for washing towels and sheets is 40 degrees, but a 60 degree wash will be better at killing germs. Changing your sheets and towels once a week can help to keep them fresh and clean**. Use our laundry tips section for guidelines on different fabrics.

What is the best way to wash towels? ›

The best way to wash colored towels is with warm water and color-safe bleach, if necessary. For white towels, use hot water and non-chlorine bleach as needed. White towels should be washed separately or with other white items to avoid subtle discoloration over time.

Should you wash Pee towels in hot or cold water? ›

How to clean pee stains on clothing and bedding. Debra Johnson, a cleaning expert for Merry Maids, recommends running urine-soaked articles through a full-wash cycle using cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar (without detergent at this point).

What clothes should not be washed in hot water? ›

Hot water can cause bright colors to run and fade, and can shrink certain types of fabric. Hot water can also damage certain synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and vinyl. The heat breaks down the fibers and can ruin the fabric.

Will towels shrink if washed in hot water? ›

Washing cotton in hot water can cause shrinkage. While cotton fabrics tend to have a maximum shrinkage capacity, heat can cause your cotton items to permanently shrink. Avoid this by using cold water when washing cotton, or alternating between warm and cold washes.

What temperature should you wash towels to keep them soft? ›

Similar to harsh detergents, high temperatures strip the natural fibres of their natural softness. We suggest washing your bath towels on a cooler temperature, between 30 and 40 degrees.

Should you dry towels on low or high heat? ›

Do dry on low heat. To prevent overheating—which can tighten the fibers, making them stiffer and less absorbent—dry towels together on the low setting.

Should sheets be washed in hot water? ›

Water Temperature and Detergent - The best overall temperature to wash your sheets in is warm water. Hot water will fade colors and can be harsh on fine threads. Cold water may not clean your sheets as well as you would like. Choose your favorite detergent or a mild one that will help you care for your sheets properly.

How do hotels get their towels so soft? ›

The main reason is that they wash their towels in hot water 40-50c with commercial detergent and no fabric softener. Fabric softener can really reduce the absorbency of your towels,which leave a waxy residue on towels, for example. Also, cotton gets more absorbent with use, and hotel towels are well-used.

How do you get towels clean and fluffy? ›

Add Baking Soda

Mix half a cup of baking soda along with a normal detergent dose for fluffier and cleaner towels. Baking soda also naturally eliminates musty and mildew smells that come from towels remaining damp for too long.

Is it OK to use the same towel for a week? ›

The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels after three uses. If you shower every day, that means laundry almost twice a week. Regular laundry is sufficient to clean towels and remove any germs that are starting to accumulate.

Does hot water clean towels better? ›

What Temperature Should Towels Be Washed At? - White and lighter colored towels wash well with the hot water setting. Hot water helps to brighten white and light-colored towels for better cleaning. Dark colored towels should be washed with the warm water setting.

Do you need to wash after peeing? ›

Cleaning your private parts after peeing is an important part of overall hygiene. It helps get rid of odors caused by leftover urine droplets and keeps your genitals healthy. Bacteria need warmth and moisture to grow, so keeping the area clean reduces the risk of skin irritation and bladder and yeast infections.

Does pee come out in laundry? ›

If you are battling a dried or set-in urine stain, it's best to soak the fabric in a solution of cool water and oxygen-based bleach for at least 30 minutes. If the stain persists, let the fabric soak in your solution overnight and try washing again.

Does laundry get cleaner in hot water? ›

Consumer Reports' past tests found detergents have gotten much better at putting enzymes to work in removing dirt and stains at lower water temperatures, and are less effective at higher temperatures. You'll save energy washing in cold water.

Does hot water clean better than cold? ›

Hot water cannot bond with any insoluble dirt, making it a better medium to clean than cold water. Therefore, hot water is more effective for cleaning purposes than cold water as it has higher kinetic energy, extra space between its molecules, and is more compatible with detergents.

Can you wash clothes with just hot water? ›

Hot water is best for washing white items, and warm water is good for washing knits. But these shouldn't be your only default settings. While hot water may seem like it will give the deepest clean, it can actually fade, shrink, or damage your clothes.

Does high heat ruin towels? ›

Give towels a gentle shake when removing them from the washing machine; this will fluff the fibers and speed up the drying process. Excessive heat will damage fibers and increase the shrinkage of the towels, so tumble dry on low heat only. Don't over-dry towels.

Does hot water make towels softer? ›

Tips to Keep Your Towels Soft

Try warm water: Are you washing towels in cold water? Warmer water absorbs detergent more effectively, resulting in less residue on your towels. Try switching it up and use warm water for your next load for fluffier towels.

Does hot water soften towels? ›

Tips to Keep Your Towels Softer Longer

Increase your washing water temperature: Warm or hot water will produce better results, especially if you do not use a heavy-duty detergent. Don't overcrowd your washer when washing towels.

Do towels dry on high heat? ›

Heavier cotton items like towels and jeans can be dried on high heat. To prevent static buildup, add a Bounce® dryer sheet atop laundry in the dryer machine.


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