How To Stop New Towels From Moulting

How to Stop Towels from Shedding Fluff

I generally like to write about new ways of looking at life, usually on topics of spirituality or belief. But sometimes it’s the everyday challenges that trip me up. Like when you buy some new bath towels and find that, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to stop them from shedding little bits of towel everywhere.

I am reliably informed that this phenomenon is called moulting. Some people feel better when they have been unwell and someone gives a label to their illness, but telling my towels they had Excessive Moulting Syndrome didn’t do anything to help the situation.

I had bought a set of new towels in a rather jolly, almost fluorescent, turquoise colour. Each time I used them I got bits of turquoise towel fluff all over me. This was especially annoying when I hadn’t shaved for a day or two, and the stubble on my face would act like velcro, trapping all the fuzz on my face.

After washing the towels several times without success, I reluctantly decided it was time to venture online in search of answers. Here's what I found out.

Cures for Towel Fluff: Shaving and Lint Brushes?

I soon found out that I was not alone. Many others before me had experienced similar problems with new towels. I trawled through several pages of Google search results and read every suggestion ranging from shaving the towels (yes, really) to buying new ones that don’t moult (yeah, thanks for that). Eventually I found someone saying that a lint brush could cure the towel's moulting. Since I already had such a brush, I thought I’d give it a go.

I dusted down the ironing board (this was the first time the ironing board had seen the light of day in the past 5 years) and set about stroking my beloved towels with the lint remover. Sure enough plenty of bits of towel stuck to the brush so I thought it was working. Afterwards I washed the towels again and when they were dry I put them through their paces. Failure. Complete abject failure. They were no better than before.

Now on the verge of throwing the darn towels into the bin I turned once more in desperation to the beloved World Wide Web. Somebody somewhere must know what to do, surely?

When new towels stick to you like cotton candy, old towels can seem very comforting.
When new towels stick to you like cotton candy, old towels can seem very comforting.

How to De-Fluff New Towels

After a lot of reading I found that two suggestions were being repeated more than the others. One was to wash the towels with a cup of white vinegar (I didn’t fancy that) and the other was to wash them with half a cup of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. I had some of that so I thought I’d give it a go. I washed the towels on a hot wash (about 60 degrees Celsius) with the usual detergent plus half a cup of baking soda. The instructions said it was best to dissolve the baking soda in water before adding it to the machine to stop the soda from congealing inside the machine, which I duly did.

An hour later I hung the towels out to dry. Next time I used them I was astonished to find that my troubles were over. My towels were healed. Hallelujah! No more turquoise fluff on my beard!

So was it the baking soda or simply just the hot wash? Some people say the key to resolving problems is to let go of our attachment to solving them. Having pretty much given up on the towels before they went into the wash, maybe that was the real reason? I'm inclined to go with the baking soda.

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Comments 20 comments

John 3 years ago

Thank you.

Alyssa 2 years ago

If this works for me, you are a God

Sean 2 years ago

i think this has worked, so thank you!

Ravenna 2 years ago

Thank you! I thought I was alone

Ashleigh 2 years ago

If this is true you are a genius and thank you for sharing. Towels (expensive, thick, black fluffy ones, in the full ranges of sizes) are currently in the machine. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed this will work! I will even try the vinegar!

Sandra 2 years ago

Thanks for the helpful comments . will try the white vinegar/ baking soda. It would be nice if the companies or distributors making these towels would have the ideal solution on their products and with our washing dilemmas.

lynda 24 months ago

At last I typed my problem in and the answer can up first.

I am continually finding turquoise fluff on the floor from my towels, which means when the floor is washed all the fluff goes into the grout.

I must look to see if I have turquoise moult on myself. Thank you.

Nikki 19 months ago

Oh, finally a sourion - will try the baking soda. thank you.

Nikki 19 months ago

Ok, this didn't work :( I was hopeful.

Annette Kearney 15 months ago

does the baking soda work to stop lint from coming off new bath towels when washing for the first few times.

The Key Maker profile image

The Key Maker 15 months ago from Pembrokeshire, UK Author

Hi Annette,

My experience has been that washing them with baking soda just once is usually enough to stop the lint from coming off new towels altogether, but sometimes it takes another couple of washes without baking soda before they completely stop moulting. Hope that helps.


Monique 13 months ago

Thank you thank you! I am hardly the house cleaning wiz, and I had been trying to figure out for the life of me why towel fuzz got stuck to my skin.

Now I know why and will following this tip!

hy 12 months ago

Hi do these work for clothes that moult too?

The Key Maker profile image

The Key Maker 12 months ago from Pembrokeshire, UK Author

Hi, I'm not sure as I have never tried it for anything except towels. It might depend on what material the clothes are made from. If you are going to try, it might be an idea to test the theory on something that is not too precious, in case there are any side-effects.

Good luck


WM 11 months ago

This did not work at all for me.

UmiNoor profile image

UmiNoor 11 months ago from Malaysia

I can imagine how funny you must look with your stubbles full of lint. Anyway, I too have the same problem with my new towels. I will try to wash them with baking soda. I don't think I like them to smell like vinegar.

Jeanette 8 months ago

I just recently had clothes that wreaked like a locker room I could barely stand to wear my clothes without feeling sick from the smell I think it comes from the water so I googled how to get rid of the stench and it said to wash with 1/2 cup of vinegar poured into the washer along with your detergent, the first time didn't work so I repeated the process and now the smell is gone and I've since did my personal laundry and it works great. I'm allergic to the smell of vinegar but there was no smell at all of vinegar when washed and dried, I think it's a result of leaving the clothes in the washer to long when there done and not drying immediately. I'm gonna try the same procedure on these new black towels to see if they stop mounting before I donate to charity as I hate to waste money .

Sue 4 months ago

Washing new towels in white vinegar works and there is no smell of vinegar once washed and dried.Its so easy just to pour 1 cup of white vinegar into washing machine and wash as normal then dry in clothes dryer.

Nigel 4 months ago

Anyone just tried a boil wash?

The Key Maker profile image

The Key Maker 4 months ago from Pembrokeshire, UK Author

Hi Nigel,

Personally I wouldn't risk washing the towels at a temperature higher than it recommends on the label in case you damage them. As you can see from the comments, vinegar has worked for some people and the bicarb definitely worked for me, so they are probably safer bets for you if you want to de-fluff your towels.


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