This is how often you should replace your towels, according to experts

Pay extra attention to this everyday bathroom essential

Neutral bathroom with green textiles
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Are you replacing this everyday bathroom essential as often as you should? Experts reveal how often you should be replacing your towel.

Even if we opt to buy the best bath towels, given the constant wear and tear they undergo as we use them essentially every single day, there'll come a time when looking at a replacement is necessary. And we're not talking about how often you can reuse a towel, but rather how long before you should buy a new one altogether. 

We've asked the experts to weigh in, as well as what to do with old towels, and here's what they said.

Neutral bathroom with green textiles

(Image credit: Christy)

How often you should replace towels

While washing your towels regularly is a beneficial task, they sadly won’t last forever. Ideally, towels should be replaced every two to three years, according to Sally Evans, marketing executive at Vantona.

Lily Cameron, cleaning supervisor at Fantastic Services recommends keeping a towel for five years maximum, but even that might be pushing it.

Neutral bathroom with tiled walls and floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

The main reason towels should be replaced is for hygienic reasons. Nic Shacklock at Online Bedrooms adds, 'If you notice a bit of a damp smell lingering in your towels after they’ve been washed then there may be some trapped bacteria within it.' At this point, even using the Ecover laundry bleach hack won't be enough to save your towels.

And after hygienic reasons come general wear and tear, as this actually factors into the effectiveness of their absorbency. 'Over time the towel fibres will break down, fray and tear which means it won’t work as well as it used to.'

bathroom with shelves next to a door with towels and storage baskets

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In summary, 'if you notice your towel is no longer drying as well as it used to, becoming rough to the touch, or not really cleaning properly,' then Emily and Jonathon Atwood, founders of scooms, say it's time to replace it.

How to extend the lifespan of your towels

Despite this, there are some things you can do to prolong their shelf life.

'Investing in high-quality towels made from materials like zero-twist cotton or bamboo can help extend their lifespan, but taking proper care of them is also crucial,' advises Rhiannon Johns, trained interior designer and head of brand at Piglet in Bed.

Doorway through to a white utility room with white washing machine

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'To start, it’s a good idea to wash and dry your towels before using them for the first time. This will remove any finishing softeners that may be lingering on the towel, which can hinder their absorbency. When washing your towels, use a mild detergent and machine wash them at 40 degrees celsius.'

'Avoid using fabric softeners, which can reduce the absorbency of your towels, and bleach, which can cause discolouration. Finally, always store your towels in a dry location to keep them fluffy and fresh.'

bathroom with open shelving and towels under sink

(Image credit: Future PLc)

What to do with your old towels

Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy, inventors of the towel as we know it today assures us that old towels can be useful, for example, if you dye your hair at home or need to dry a mucky pet.

They're also a gem if you want to repurpose them as cleaning or dish rags by cutting them into your desired shape or size, donate them to a local animal shelter or charity shop, use them as padding when moving, DIY bath mats, or even as insulation on your doors or windows.

bathroom with shelves and storage for towels and laundry

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The possibilities are pretty vast. So, given this information – do you have some old, rough towels you realise now that you ought to tend to and replace?

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.