When you're a kid, Christmas is nothing short of magical. But when you're an adult, it can turn into more of a trial, especially if you have relatives to entertain. You can bet you'll be judged on everything from the gravy to the cleanliness of your bathroom... and the softness of your guest towels.
Luckily, our friends at Sheridan have some to the rescue with some top tips that will guarantee fluffy towels through Christmas and beyond. We're talking a company that washes its towels 100 times before taking them to the market – most others will do it just three times – so we're pretty sure they know what they're talking about.
1. Choose the right washing cycle
You best bet for day-to-day cleaning is to select a 40 degree gentle machine wash, remembering not to overcrowd the machine so it has plenty of water around them to soak and wash. And NEVER dry clean your towels.
Occasionally, it's a good idea to give them a deep clean on a 60 degree cycle to remove any bacteria and oils.
2. Treat whites and colours differently
'For white towels, optical brighteners are fine to use,' advises Jo Ross, General Manager of Design at Sheridan. 'But avoid using on coloured washes, and try to keep them separate to avoid colour running.'
3. Don't ever leave a stain to set in
Whether it's make-up, blood or mud, treat any stain as soon as it occurs. Sheridan recommends oxygen-based stain removers.
Related: The 12 stains of Christmas
4. Bleach is NOT a good idea
If you're aspiring to crisp white towels, it's tempting to reach for the bleach, but this can actually stain your towel. Be sure that bathroom cleaning products containing bleach are kept well away from your towels, too.
5. Select your detergents carefully
'Avoid using silicone-based fabric softeners and conditioners,' says Jo. 'These will repel water and will reduce the absorbency of the fluffy towels.' instead, to protect the fibres, you could try a more gentle plant-based washing detergent – Ecover specialises in these. This will also help towels retain their colour.
6. Dry your towels the right way
Line drying your towels in the shade is ideal and it reduces electricity usage. Tumble drying your towels for a few minutes when they are almost dry off the line will maximise their softness. Dry your towels on a medium to warm setting and ensure they are completely dry before storing in your linen cupboard.
More ways to festive bliss: How to make a Christmas wreath – six steps to a festive floral centrepiece
Is it bath time yet?
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
Growing tomatoes in grow bags is easy, so long as you follow our expert guide
Short on soil space? It's time to start growing tomatoes in grow bags...
By Kayleigh Dray
How to grow begonias from tubers – the perfect shade-loving flower for colour all summer long
Begonias are the perfect addition to any garden
By Kayleigh Dray
Are slab kitchens still on trend? Give an ultra-modern design a refresh with these 5 stylish tricks
Simple doesn't have to mean boring - these style tips will bring a pared-back kitchen scheme to life
By Alisha Solanki