Wondering Why?

Why do towels smell sour?

Some people have always wondered why used towels smell sour or bad. For the most part, the main reason for the foul-smelling towels is the presence of various microorganisms.  One such microorganism is called mildew or mold.  These organisms are classified as fungi, and they can basically thrive in a variety of conditions as long as they have a good source of food or a good environment that suits their survival.  In the case of towels, mildew thrives on the moist environment provided by used towels.

The foul smell in towels could also be caused by bacteria.  Various bacteria are also able to thrive in damp and dark conditions provided by towels. Regardless of the temperature, some bacteria are able to survive and even multiply in used garments such as towels.  The moisture in towels, for example, will provide a perfect environment for these microorganisms to survive.

Aside from typical microorganisms such as mildew, other viruses, and bacteria, dirt on the towels may also cause them to smell sour. Dirt and sweat from the body will also emit a foul odor, and when these are invaded with microorganisms and bacteria, the odor may turn even sourer.  The more dirt and microorganisms there are, the more foul the odor of the towel is.  There are also cases wherein dead skin cells will get stuck in the towel fibers, and this will provide food to the bacteria that already exist in the towel.  Along with the moisture on the towel, all these factors will contribute to making the towel smell very sour.

In some cases, the sour smell of the towel may come from the washing machine or the detergents used.  Washing machines that are not cleaned and maintained properly may accumulate dirt over time, and this may cause the towels to smell bad.  There are also cases wherein various detergent products that have not dried properly may cause a sour smell on the towels.


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