Why does color fade from my bath towels?

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Every so often when I wash and dry a load of towels, one of them will come out with big blotches or at least half of the towel with the color looking like it was bleached away. I never use bleach except with my solid white towels. Sometimes this happens with brand new towels. What happens? Also hoping someone can give me some tips on how to soften towels, thanks.


  13 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 24, 2016
    You are using to much soap.This has happened to me many of times.I switched and put the detergent into the section for soap and then put in the towels. Don't ask me why but since then I have not had a problem. I have brand new machines. Go figure.

    • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
      @Janet Pizaro My machine doesn't have a soap section. I just pour the liquid around in the bottom of the washer as it is filling and then put the towels in.

  • Judy H. Judy H. on May 24, 2016
    My machine doesn't have a soap section, I just pour it around the bottom of the washer as it is filling and then then throw the towels in. Do you think perhaps the one towel that gets "bleached out" does so because it may have landed directly on some of the soap I poured in?

    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 25, 2016
      @Judy H. Yes that is my thought. It has happened to me previously. So I think it is to much soap. Just another thought what brand of soap do you use.

  • William William on May 24, 2016
    Do you have any teenagers in the house?! Acne medicine, acne face wash, some types of specialty cleansers for the skin-- these things can cause fading, either from the handprints or from being wiped off, or on T-shirts, from sweating. Also some "whitening" toothpastes and denture cleansers can also cause fading.

  • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
    No, no teenagers or whitening toothpastes or denture cleansers.

  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 25, 2016
    Try using your detergent in pod form although I can't see that using too much liquid laundry soap would bleach clothes, at least the pod is pre measured. Another option is to try a different soap like an all natural Seventh Generation

    • See 1 previous
    • MN Mom MN Mom on May 26, 2016
      Yes! I have kids with allergies so I have always used a "free" of colors and scent detergent. When my oldest went off to college, she switched to using an all natural pod which contained primarily baking soda and she loves it for the fact that it has no harsh chemicals and is biodegradable. She uses Seventh Generation from Target. I'm sending the pods to college this fall with my twin sons...easy to use, no measuring! We have hard water too and they work very well at getting the clothes clean.

  • Terrie Neudorf Terrie Neudorf on May 25, 2016
    You can stop it from happening , by pre washing them in vinegar and salt . It sets the color and makes it harder to discolour or stain after that. Do you always by the brand towels . They might have a color issue . I never use a fabric softer , liquid or sheets they aren't good for towels . Just vinegar in the rinse . I hope this helps .

    • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
      @Terrie Neudorf How much vinegar and salt and what temp. of water?

  • Con3711289 Con3711289 on May 25, 2016
    If you're using powdered detergent, it's likely that it's not all dissolving in the water before coming in contact with the clothes/towels. Best solution is to fill the washer with detergent and water and agitate for a minute before adding the clothes. A nuisance, but not as big a nuisance as ruined clothes. If you're washing in warm or cold water rather than hot, getting the powdered detergent to dissolve thoroughly is even harder. It can happen with liquid detergent, too, but not like it does with the powdered. I 'd switch to the liquid if it worked as well in my water, but, of course, it doesn't.

    • See 1 previous
    • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
      @Contactkch-reg I don't use powder, perhaps I need to let the machine fill and agitate anyway. I would think if it happened once, it would happen everytime, don't you? It is so unpredicatable.

  • William William on May 25, 2016
    No teenagers....! The towels are this happens to are being used to wipe some kind of product that acts as a bleaching agent. Face creams, hand sanitizers, tanning products, etc.

    • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
      @Thank You William These are bath towels only. I use only white hand towel around the sink or wherever skin products are used so I can bleach them should they get stained by something.

  • Francesca Francesca on May 25, 2016
    Weird. I get the same thing and it's random. Wonder why..

  • Katie Katie on May 25, 2016
    Does you washer have a bleach dispenser? I learned the hard way that they sometimes hold on to some of the bleach. I was a teenager doing my own laundry and it ruined a brand new pair of jeans I'd been saving for. Never used the dispenser again.

    • See 2 previous
    • Judy H. Judy H. on May 25, 2016
      @Cindy Scott Thanks, I replied to the response above yours which is almost identical to yours.

  • Julie Craig Julie Craig on May 25, 2016
    Yup...TEENS! Any of those acne/zit creams/medicines/facial scrubs will RUIN your towels!

  • Terrie Neudorf Terrie Neudorf on May 26, 2016
    Hi , warm temp water . 50/50 vinegar and water . It depends on the size of the load . Pre soak I do in a pail . I guess the amount of salt . Average is 1/2 cup to a pail . I add vinegar to freshen my towels when washed too . I just put it where the bleach should go. I love it. Clean and soft.

  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on Jun 18, 2016
    Actually, it's specifically the acne products with benzoil peroxide that bleach collars of clothes, etc. . Products like Clean and Clear with salicylic acid are great and won't ruin your laundry.