When you buy something, you’ll likely want to use it for some time. Because of this, keeping your towels fresh and well maintained is key to lengthening their lives and increasing usability. However, aesthetics is also a chief concern, and let’s be honest here—who wants a faded towel? Absolutely no one. Since this is the case, it’s only right that we give you a solution. Check out our tips for keeping cotton towels from losing their color. Before we start giving you tips on how to slow this process, let’s break down what causes your cotton towels to fade to begin with below.
If you looked closely, you’d notice that clothes fibers degrade at different rates. This is because every fabric is different, and some fibers are more resistant to fading than others. Unfortunately, cotton is more prone to fading than most fabrics, and there are a few reasons for this. Let’s check out some of the components of fabrics and how they work with color below.
There’s more to color than…well…color. Dyes adhere to different fabrics in various ways. Cotton, in particular, is water soluble, meaning that it’s far more prone to the effects of water and more likely to release color. It’s common to notice your colored towels fading after a year or so of use if you don’t take care of them adequately. You can slow this process significantly if you know how to care for them.
The Dyeing Process
You can add color to a fabric in a ton of different ways. Vat dye tends to be the most expensive. It involves submerging material into a large vat of color and saturating all the fibers so the colors permeate the fabric. While expensive, it gives the longest results since the color is evenly diffused throughout the material.
Pigment print dyeing is when dye applied to one side of the material could—or couldn’t—seep through across the other side. The process as a whole is designed to dye only one side, so you generally don’t see this sort of process used for monotoned towels.
The Toning Process
As it turns out, the tone also has a lot to do with fading. You can expect the color to fade sooner if your towel is darkest. So, you can expect your navy blue, burgundy, and forest green towels to fade quickly. While the vibrancy may not last, your white towels will retain their shine.
Causes and Conditions of Fading
Now that we know what the dyeing process looks like, it’s time to determine some of the causes and conditions of color fading. First, a caveat: seeing some colors fade is normal, but this process shouldn’t happen quickly. The effect should be subtle and barely noticeable, if at all.
Incorrectly laundering all-natural fabrics like cotton is the primary reason for fading, and when you adjust the habits that make your towels fade, to begin with, you stop the problem in its tracks. Before we get into that, let’s talk about how color bleeds from the fabric.
Cotton bleeds with a combination of light, heat, and strong friction. Sound familiar? That typifies the entire washing and drying process!
Additionally, dyes transfer color when they rub against each other or a surface if rubbed vigorously. If you want to see whether or not your towels are prone to fading, you’ll find another interesting clue on the product label. You might see some warnings such as “Do not use detergent,” “Use cold water,” or “Wash before using.” If you see these warning signs, pay attention! It could save your towels from fading.
Ways To Preserve Your Colors
So, what are some tips for keeping cotton towels from losing their color? As it turns out, there are quite a few of them. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, read below, and we’ll teach you how to preserve your towels’ vibrancy.
Don’t Over Wash Your Towels
Earlier, we mentioned that friction is a huge cause of dyes fading over time. Your washer and dryer are huge culprits in causing your clothes to fade. Therefore, try to wash your towels sparingly. Every three to four days should be ideal since dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria can accumulate on your towels. You still need to clean them; ensure that you’re not hand-washing them or anything similar more than that. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing your towels to fade prematurely.
Wash Them at Cool Temperatures
You shouldn’t wash them in hot water unless there’s soiling on your towel. Remember, your towel dye fades quickly when it has to deal with friction and heat. Make sure when you’re going to wash them that you do so in either cold or warm temperatures. If you do this, they’ll be far less likely to fade prematurely.
Let Them Air-Dry
When you have towels fresh out of the washer, flash dry them so you can get the wrinkles out without having to deal with the added friction, then hang them up. Alternatively, you can take them out of the washer and hang them on a clothesline directly, letting the air dry them. You can also use products to dry them quickly and wrinkle-free.
Use the Right Detergent
Nothing will sap your precious towels of color faster than a harsh, chemical-heavy detergent. Instead of this kind of detergent, use detergents designed to mitigate staining. It might be a good idea to use these detergents specifically, but if you don’t see any, you can use any gentle detergent without the chemical byproducts. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to vibrant, clear towels.
Want some other tips for taking care of your towels? Read on below.
- Don’t remove makeup with your towels. When you do this, you’ll invariably leave stains that would be hard to remove in the washing machine. Instead of doing this, use cleansing pads or a face towel.
- Don’t use a lot of laundry detergent. We know it’s tempting to add a little more than you should. More detergent = extra clean, right? That logic is faulty; however, too much detergent softens your towels.
- Don’t use fabric softener at all; this quickly wears out the fibers of your clothes and makes them lose their absorbency. If you must use it, dilute it with water. That way, you’ll get the same benefits, but you’ll mitigate any issues.
If you’re interested in browsing our selection of American-made bedding and towels, look closely at what we offer. You’ll happily take advantage of all the stock robes, towels, and bedding. Red Land Cotton will offer you luxury and elegance.