7 Ways You're Ruining Your Towels

Woops. 😶

Everyone is prone to laundry mistakes, but some mishaps are, ahem, more preventable than others. (Here's lookin' at you, hot pink sports bra washed with white T-shirts.)

Towels don't come cheap, so you'll need to pay extra attention when washing and drying these items -- experts recommend doing so every three uses. The great news for all that effort? Towels can can last up to 10 years if you take care of them properly. Here are a few mistakes you're likely making, courtesy of Missy Tannen, founder of luxury linen line Boll & Branch. Fix them now, and give your towels the long life they deserve.

1. You're using fabric softener.

This reduces your towel's ability to absorb water or dry you off after a shower. The residue also locks in odors, giving your towels that mildewy smell.

2. You don't hang them up to dry.

A balled-up or folded towel is just waiting for mildew. After washing your towels, put them in the dryer. And after drying off your body, hang them on a hook in a nicely ventilated space.

3. You use them to take off makeup.

That stuff stains, often permanently. Use a rag or face wipes instead.

4. You're using WAY too much detergent.

"Too much laundry detergent can actually stiffen towels," Tannen says. Use less than you would for a regular load, or consider a gentler option like a baby detergent.

5. You're forgetting to shake them out after washing.

In small washing machines, big towels get all bunched up. So shake yours out between the washer and dryer. If you don't, "the dryer will essentially 'iron' the creases into the towels," Tannen says.

6. You're wiping toothpaste on them.

7. You're cleaning them with bleach.

Avoid using a detergent with bleach to wash your towels, as it can lighten the color or leave spots. A regular or "gentle" detergent should work just fine. And don't forget, you need to wash your towels WAY more often than you think.

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5 Laundry Mistakes You're Probably Making