Free shipping on orders over $200, always!

We all know the feeling: When your once stark-white towels suddenly cast a yellow-gray tint. Your towels are the workhorses of the bathroom after all, and staining and discoloration are all-too common conundrums. Luckily with a little TLC, reviving tired towels isn’t out of the question. 

Below, we dive into the top culprits of discoloration—and all the ways you can reverse it.

“What’s making my towels discolored and dingy?”


Using too much detergent on your towels can leave behind a soapy residue, while using too little may lead to a buildup of body oils, soaps, and other products. 

Hair & skin products 

Certain skin care products, shampoos, oils, serums, and more can stain your towels—or contribute to stain-causing buildup. 

Natural oils

We’re all human and our bodies produce oils. The makeup and amount of these natural oils vary from person to person, but they all have the potential to discolor your towels.


Cool water wins when it comes to washing your Weezies. Many towel manufacturers and our own factory agree that hot temps scorch the cotton fibers, causing them to deteriorate more quickly. The result: less soft and yellowing towels.

FYI: Detergent manufacturers and other online sources may say washing in hot water can make detergents more effective. Though an occasional warm or hot wash won’t damage our towels, consistently hot soaks will. 


If you live in an area with hard water—as in, water that’s high in dissolved calcium and magnesium—you may find your towels turning gray or dingy overtime. 


Still seeing stains? Look for contaminants in your water or washer. For instance, your washer could be trapping detergent, softener, and other chemical residue. Similarly, it could have mold or mildew, making your cycles less effective. 

“How can I brighten my towels?”

Clean your washer

Feel like your washer needs a good clean? Before you start a load, follow these steps to have it working like new.

Go for gentle, brightening products

Wash your towels with an all-purpose bleach alternative. (We love this one by The Laundress.)

Spot treat stains

Grab your favorite stain remover (for us, that’s The Laundress Stain Solution) and follow the instructions on the label. It’s okay to use warm or hot water for stain treatments once in a while.

Try a deep soak

“Towel stripping” involves soaking towels for a longer period of time to remove buildup. Here’s how




About the Author

Liz Eichholz

Liz Eichholz

Co-Founder & Creative Director
University of Georgia, BFA, Graphic Design
11 years of experience