I'm going to start posting regularly again. Today I just want to share something I just learned. It's so delightful that after so many years of life, there are still things to learn.
Anyway, in the summer we have a problem with mildewy smelling towels. It happens every summer. There is no visible mildew, but there's that horrible moldy smell. In the past, I have treated it with bleach in every washload and hot water. But it hasn't been very effective. They smell fine out of the dryer, but after a day or two of use they begin to leave a mildewy smell on your skin. Yecchh.
So I did a little research online and discovered that bleach doesn't actually kill mildew. It bleaches dark stains of mildew, but it doesn't kill it. To kill it, you can use white vinegar. I've heard of this before but was always skeptical. It sounded too eco-friendly to actually work. But a painter I know said that white vinegar is the best thing to treat mildewy areas of woodwork inside and outside of homes before painting and that impressed me. So I tamped down my skepticism and I tried it. It worked fantastically. No mildew smell at all since I first did it several weeks ago.
Here's what I did: I soaked the towels for 1 hour, in my washer with the hottest possible water, to which I added 1 cup of white vinegar and only enough water to barely cover the towels. After an hour, I let it finish the wash cycle and then washed again using detergent and the hottest water. Then I dried them in the dryer at the hottest setting.
Now when I wash them each week, I add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash and use hot water.
And presto, chango! No mildew.