Can you wash towels with your clothes? The best answer

We all lead busy lives and washing can take up too much time. For example, people that sport often has to wash their gear multiple times per week. Can you wash towels together with clothes to get it done faster? 

Yes, you can wash towels with clothes in some instances. However, it’s best to wash them separately in the washing machine and dryer. Washing them together can cause them to shrink and lose their softness. Towels have to wash in warm temperatures so that they are clean. Some clothes (for example if they are made out of spandex) might shrink at these temperatures. Therefore it is better to wash them separately if the washing instructions indicate that you can’t use high temperatures. Using liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets can also help but don’t expect miracles from them.

Towels are often wet after you have used them. Clothes are generally dry. This is why they should be stored separately after you have used them and before they are washed. Clothes can get moldy if the towels make them wet. Therefore it is better to have a separate bucket for each so that they don’t come in contact. If you sport, don’t leave your gear in a backpack after training! This can lead to a bad smell and even ruin your clothes. People that play basketball or volleyball all know the feeling of forgetting to take your gear out. Everything is wet and smells bad. It is important that you wash clothes and towels as soon as possible once they get wet. At least hang them out to dry. 

So while you can save some time by washing them together, you should only do it if you are sure that both items can deal with the same temperatures. You also have to be careful when you add them to the drying machine together for the same reason. You can air dry them in the sun together though. Once items have been washed, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to store them together. 


If you want to do this anyway, it is often better to wash the towels at a lower temperature. This won’t make them completely clean but makes sure that the clothes don’t get damaged. You shouldn’t do this too often as bacteria can grow in towels if they are not properly cleaned. In some instances, such as after you have gone to the swimming pool, it is a bad idea as well for the same reason. This can lead to dangerous situations if there is a strong bacteria on the towel so should be avoided. If your towel is not really dirty or you didn’t use it, you can wash it at a lower temperature. This keeps the clothes and towels in good shape if the materials don’t interact too much. There are so many types of materials out there that it is difficult to predict in advance how things will turn out when you wash them. The washing instructions are often your best option to learn more about this. These can be found in the color of clothes and are stitched to towels as well. They use symbols to indicate what is allowed and what isn’t.  


Why you should avoid doing it

There are several reasons why it is better to wash them separately:

-Washing towels with clothes is not recommended because it causes the towels to lose their softness and shrink. 

-Washing them together will cause them to get tangled in each other, which can be difficult to untangle.

-It’s best to wash them separately in the washing machine and dryer so they don’t get soiled by other garments.

-The clothes can shrink if you wash them too hot. The towels might not be completely clean if you don’t wash them warm enough.

-The sweat in the clothes can make the towels dirty as well. 

-You are destroying the clothes and potentially the towels if you do it often. 

 Let’s take a look at how to wash sporting gear as this is often a mix of towels and clothes.

We have already argued that it should be avoided and given several reasons. In some instances, it can work. Let’s take a look at these reasons as well.

Why you should do it

There are also some advantages of washing them together:

-You will save a lot of time. Sorting clothes and towels is an annoying job. Often it is better to store them separately though. Then you avoid this issue altogether.

-It gets done faster. A washing machine can take several hours. If you need the gear fast, it can help you to get it washed quicker.

-If the fabric of the clothes is able to withstand the heat, it should be possible to wash them together.

-If the clothes are cheap and you don’t mind that they shrink somewhat. 

-It saves water and energy. It reduces the cost of washing clothes. 


These advantages might not outweigh the disadvantages. Sometimes you just need your laundry quickly and you can take the risk if you feel that it will work out fine. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t though as a lot of fabrics can’t withstand high heat. 


If you haven’t already, it’s time to get on the same page with the laundry gods on this one. Towels and clothes shouldn’t be washed together in most instances. There are better ways to get your laundry done faster. For example, you can use a steamer to remove odors from clothes. This doesn’t work perfectly but can work well enough. If the clothes aren’t too smelly, you can let them rest in the sun as well. This can remove a lot of odors and get rid of a lot of bacteria. These are better options if you don’t want to damage your clothes or towels. The washing instructions (that are stitched in the clothes) always give the best overview as the manufacturer knows what materials are being used.