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Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

Keeping your gym towels in top shape will help your professional or personal gym to keep clean and reduce stink!

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

If you’re going to offer towel service at your gym, you might as well be good at it!

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

1. Immediate Washing

Preventative maintenance is the name of the game. Frequent smaller loads are more effective than less frequent larger loads. The longer gym towels sit, the harder they are to clean.

Before mold and bacteria create discoloration or fiber damage, be sure to get them in the washer! Let’s face it, your gym towels are generally mopping up sweat off of you, other members, and gym equipment. It’s not a pretty purpose that they serve…

Putting laundry off is not recommended, hygienic, or sanitary. Wash your gym towels separately from other towels and laundry immediately after each use to prevent infection-causing bacteria and fungi. Keep up with your laundry daily so there is never a need to play catch up.

Gym Laundry Tip: If you have a machine on-site, try treating your gym towel laundry routine like a hotel linen service. When new admin staff, trainers, or janitorial staff start their shift, have them move the laundry along a step or two in the progression. If everyone does a little, there is never a lot left for one person!

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

2. Avoid Fabric Softeners

Fabric softeners contain a high level of silicon which actually prevents water and sweat absorption, the main function of gym towels. What good is a gym towel if it can’t absorb sweat?

Adding fabric softener to gym towels – or, really, any towel – is a big laundry mistake! All you need is a strong and reliable laundry detergent to wash your gym towels. We have an article on the best laundry detergents for gym towels here. Any of these tough gym towel detergents is more than enough to help clean and soften your gym towels. There is no need for extra fabric softener coating!

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

3. White Towels Get 15% Chlorine Bleach

Believe it or not, white gym towels are relatively easy to keep clean. If you use a professional gym towel laundry service, the bleach that is used on your towels is a 15% chlorine bleach. This is the same solvents used on hotel sheets! If it is good enough for the Marriot, it should work fine on your gym towels…

However, this bleach can’t be used on gym towels with colors. So, if you are picking gym towels, get either 1) pure white in color or 2) dark colors. Pure white in color can be bleached while dark colors hide stains well. Stay away from lights and brights.

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

4. Baking Soda Wash & Vinegar Rinse

Maybe you’re doing the gym towel laundry yourself and do not have access to laundry service chemicals, bleaches, and solvents. Not a problem, here are some at-home tricks.

Similar to placing it in your fridge, using baking soda can help keep workout towels smelling by removing odors. It can also loosen towel fibers and keep your gym towels softer for longer.

Add vinegar to the occasional wash, not more than once a month, to prevent detergent buildup. This will also remove odors and restore absorbency.

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

5. Stain Care For Gym Towels

These are a few of the most common gym towel stains and suggested methods for removing them.

Sweat Stains

Post-workout sweat can leave lasting stains, especially on bright white gym towels. Soak stains with a prewash stain remover and wash in hot water with a safe bleach.


Smashed fingers, nicks, or even falls can lead to blood stains on gym towels. When this occurs, immediately soak it in cold water and wash normally. If you weren’t able to wash immediately and the stain is dry, soak in an enzyme-based stain remover and wash as normal.


Soda, juice, smoothies, energy drinks, pre-workout, protein shakes, etc. They can all leave problematic stains behind. Using cold water, soak the stain and pretreat with a stain remover. Wash as normal.


Makeup comes in all shades and if not removed from towels properly, can leave stains behind. Pretreat with a stain spray and wash as normal.

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

6. Wash Gym Towels In Warm Water

Warm water is detergent’s favorite temperature. Because it dissolves easily, it leaves minimal residue on your towels and the possibility of color fading is less than with hot water.

Towels should be washed in warm water to help kill bacteria, mold, viruses, etc. Warm water is ideal for colored towels, while hot water is best for white towels. Washing your gym towels in hot water can decrease the life of your towels weakening gym towel fibers, fading gym towel colors, and forcing shrinking or misshaping the towel from a perfect rectangle.

Typically, gym towels have short life spans which means gym owners are constantly replacing damaged inventory. Hot water washing expedites this inventory aging but it guarantees clean, sanitized towels with every wash.

Laundry Tips for Washing Gym Towels

7. It’s Okay To Buy New Gym Towels

Really, they’re not supposed to last forever. In fact, they’re not supposed to last long at all! By the time you’ve reached a state of threadbare, you’ve gone too far. Or if it no longer absorbs sweat or water, even after the vinegar and baking soda washes, it’s time to shop for replacements.

Since gym towels are always being pulled from rotation due to damage, stains, or theft, it is important to have enough inventory on hand to account for this loss.

If you’re operating your gym property with just enough gym towels for one day, you’re complicating the cleaning process by putting a strict timeline on yourself, your employees, and your gym towel laundry service.

Having just enough gym towels means you are constantly sending your towels for cleaning. And, with most gym towel laundry services, your cleaning costs will be more expensive at lower volumes. Buying enough linens to keep your gym stocked with clean inventory for a couple of days will help you save money with your cleaning service. Plus, extra inventory will bring you peace of mind…

Work with a Gym Towel Laundry Service

Get your gym towels treated, washed, folded, and delivered by The Folde! Suitable for commercial or residential service, you can skip laundry day and keep doing more of what you love.

Towels serve a critical role in gym etiquette, both at home at the studio. Keeping your gym towels in top shape will help your studio or home gym maintain a greater level of hygiene and cleanliness. Why not get some help from a gym towel laundry service?

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