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How to wash beach towels

Trips to the beach are a welcome delight in the summer, but stained beach towels aren't! Read this guide for tips on how to wash beach towels and remove stains.

Updated By Wiki Tips English Team

beach towel with flip flops and a sunhat

It’s summer holiday time! There’s a lot of laundry to handle both before and after a trip – you want to set off with freshly laundered beachwear and towels, and you’ll need to give sandy, ice cream-stained belongings a very thorough clean when you return. Either way, this guide will give you tips and tricks on how to wash beach towels and remove stains, so you can use them for many summers to come.

No time wash the towel before your next beach day? Try using refresh laundry products like Day 2 that will freshen your towels without having to fully wash them

You will need:

  • Washing machine
  • Tumble-dryer (optional)
  • Persil laundry detergent

How to wash beach towels

Once you’ve got sand and beach debris out of your towel, you can wash them in much the same way you wash your bathroom towels. Follow these quick steps.

  1. Sort between light and dark piles

    Check the towel’s care tag to be sure of the correct way to wash it.

  2. Wash on a hot wash

    Unless otherwise indicated, wash your beach towel in a hot wash (between 40 to 60 degrees) with a cold rinse – this should help to kill any bacteria it may have picked up. Use a good quality detergent, like .

  3. Dry your beach towel in a tumble-dryer or air-drying

    You can tumble-dry beach towels for maximum fluffiness. However, air-drying is a more economical and eco-friendly method. Shake out your towels before you hang them to fluff them up, and unless they’re white, don’t put them in direct sunlight, which can fade colours.

How to get sand off a beach towel

Once you get sand in your beach towel, it isn’t quite so comfortable to use. You also want to avoid getting huge amounts of sand in your washing machine, which isn’t built to handle this problem. So how do you get rid of sand embedded in the fabric?

  1. Give the towel a hard shake

    When you’re about to leave the beach, make sure to give your towel a good, hard shake before you pack it away. You want to hear the towel “snap” when you shake it, to make sure you’re getting as much sand out as possible.

  2. Vacuum the beach towel once home

    Once you’re home, vacuum your beach towel, using either a handheld vacuum cleaner or one of the extensions on a larger vacuum cleaner to pick up any sand that’s deeply embedded.

  3. Fill a basin with warm, soapy water and swirl the towel around

    As a final trick, fill a basin with warm, mildly soapy water and swirl your towel around in this. Any sand in the material should come out and drift to the bottom of the basin. Then launder your towel as normal.

Removing stains from your beach towel

Other than sand, any number of things can accidentally spill onto your beach towel, including ice cream, mud, boat tar, and even blood – it’s easy to get a few scratches on a stony beach. Here’s a quick guide on how to treat the more common stains. Just remember to read and follow the instructions on any product labels, and to work fast - stains are always easier to remove when fresh.

  1. Ice cream and chocolate

    Scrape away as much ice cream or chocolate as possible. Pre-treat the stain with a commercial stain remover or a liquid laundry detergent like for ultimate stain removal. Rub with water and repeat until the stain is gone. If the stain has dried, or is particularly stubborn, soak your towel in soapy water for 15-30 minutes.

  2. Mud

    Wait until the mud has dried, then scrape off as much as possible. Saturate the stain with liquid laundry detergent and rub into the affected area. Dab at the stain repeatedly or use an old, clean toothbrush to work away at the mud until it’s gone.

  3. Tar

    Gently scrape off excess tar with a knife or spoon. Blot at the stain with baby oil, eucalyptus oil, or mineral turpentine until it’s gone (make sure to test any product on a small area first).

  4. Blood

    Soak in cold water, pre-treat with a commercial stain remover or laundry detergent, and gently rub until the stain is gone.

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Now that you know how to properly care for your beach towels, they can continue to keep you dry and comfy on beaches and by the pool for many holidays to come.

Originally published