Staying cool during hot summer days can be challenging. For those who enjoy outdoor activities or suffer from heat sensitivity, cooling towels provide welcome relief from high temperatures. These innovative towels contain special materials that provide a cooling sensation when wet.
However, to keep your cooling towel working effectively over many uses, proper storage is essential. By following key steps for cleaning, folding, and choosing the right storage location, you’ll maintain your towel’s cooling performance.
Step 1: Thoroughly Clean the Cooling Towel
Before storing your cooling towel, it’s crucial to wash away any dirt, bacteria, or odors that may have accumulated. Start by rinsing the towel under cool running water and scrubbing gently with your hands.
Pay special attention to stained or smelly areas. For tougher odors and stains, create a cleaning solution of:
- 1 cup cool water
- 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent
Submerge the towel and let soak for 10-20 minutes before rinsing clean. Never use fabric softener or bleach as these may break down the towel’s special cooling fibers.
Key Takeaway: Always wash your cooling towel thoroughly before storage to prevent odors and buildup.
Once washing is complete, check the entire towel, including any edges or seams for damage. Look for:
- Holes, tears or thinning fabric
- Loose threads or unraveling edges
- Strange odors that persist after washing
If you notice extensive damage, odors that won’t wash out, or diminished cooling relief from your towel, it may need retirement and replacement.
Assuming your towel remains in good shape, move onto thorough drying next.
Step 2: Allow the Cooling Towel to Dry Completely
Before storage, it’s imperative your cooling towel dries fully. Any remaining moisture enables mold, bacteria and stench to take hold.
Follow these proper drying guidelines:
Wring Out All Excess Water
After washing, wring your cooling towel manually, grasping opposites sides and twisting firmly. Repeat wringing until no more water drips out. Take care not to twist too harshly to avoid damage.
Tip: Roll the towel loosely and step on it to press out additional water, then wring once more.
Allow Air Drying
Find a clean, dry spot away from direct sunlight with ample airflow. Drape your towel openly or hang it on a clothesline.
Drying times vary based on:
- Towel size and thickness
- Humidity and temperature
- Air circulation
Expect at least 2-6 hours for a standard-sized cooling towel to dry indoors, longer if the air lacks adequate circulation.
Warning Signs Your Towel Remains Too Wet:
- Feels cool and clammy anywhere
- Remains darker in any spots
- Gives off a musty odor
Use your best judgment to confirm sufficient dryness before moving onto the next storage steps. An improperly dried cooling towel breeds mold and bacteria over time.
Step 3: Fold the Cooling Towel Properly
Correct folding keeps your cooling towel neat and compact for storage. It also avoids permanent creases which may hinder performance.
Follow these directions to properly fold your towel:
- Lay the completely dry cooling towel flat on a clean surface. Smooth out any lumps or wrinkles.
- Fold the towel cleanly in half, matching up the short edges precisely.
- Fold in half again the same way. Continue folding in this manner until the towel forms a long, narrow rectangle.
- Finally, fold or roll up the rectangle tightly to minimize size and space. Secure with a rubber band, string or cloth tie if desired.
Your cooling towel is now neatly folded and ready for storage!
Key Takeaway: Folding your cooling towel neatly before storage saves space and prevents permanent creases.
Benefits of Proper Folding:
- Minimizes size to fit compact spaces
- Creates smooth edges to prevent fraying
- Avoids long-term creases which may affect cooling
- Allows quick and easy unfolding for use
When done folding, immediately move onto selecting an appropriate storage spot to prevent moisture sneaking back in.
Step 4: Choose a Cool, Dry Storage Location
To optimize your cooling towel’s lifespan and effectiveness, select a storage place meeting these criteria:
Heat degrades the special cooling fibers and materials inside the towel. Over time, heat exposure steadily lowers cooling performance.
Ideal storage temperatures range between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Avoid hot places like:
- Near appliances like dryers, ovens or heaters
- Inside vehicles on hot days
- Direct sunlight
If you live in a hot climate, consider storing the towel in an air-conditioned room when possible.
While moisture activates the towel’s cooling properties during use, dampness while stored nurtures mold, bacteria and stench. Prioritize storing your cooling towel where the air flows freely in and out.
Good places for dry airflow:
- Cabinets or closets near exterior walls or windows
- Higher shelves rather than enclosed boxes
- Designated towel drawer with slatted design
- Hanging from a closet rod or multi-hook
Riskier Areas to Avoid:
- Bathrooms or laundry rooms with excess moisture
- Tightly-closed plastic bins or cardboard boxes
- Down low near leaks or flooding risks
- Places you store damp fabrics like bath mats or beach items
Sealed Container (Optional)
For extra protection, place your folded cooling towel inside a tightly-sealed plastic container safe for fabrics. Ensure no moisture sneaks inside.
Suitable sealed storage containers:
- Plastic bin or storage box with tight-fitting lid
- Large re-sealable plastic bag, with excess air squeezed out before sealing
- Airtight plastic or glass jar/bottle if folded towel fits
Monitor sealed containers closely for any moisture buildup. Leaving a wet towel sealed enables rapid mold and bacteria growth!
Key Takeaway: Select a storage spot for your cooling towel that remains cool, dry and allows for plenty of airflow.
Step 5: Store Properly Between Seasons
During cooler months when you won’t use cooling towels, take special care to store it away safely until next summer.
Follow these best practices for seasonal storage:
- Wash and thoroughly dry the towel first as usual
- Consider placing the sealed storage bin or bag in garage, attic or basement to save room
- Make sure the chosen secondary spot doesn’t get overly hot or cold
- Set phone calendar reminders to take out the cooling towel as summer approaches
- Inspect carefully for mold, odors or damage before first summertime use
- Replace if aging towel shows extensive wear after 1-2 years without use
With mindful seasonal and long-term storage habits, your quality cooling towel lasts for many sweaty summers to come!
Keeping Your Cooling Towel Fresh and Effective
Besides choosing suitable storage spots, maintaining your cooling towel well requires regular upkeep and inspection too.
Follow these best practices:
- Wash Before Storage – Give your cooling towel a periodic wash before returning to storage, even without visible stains or odors. Sweat and skin oils become embedded in fibers.
- Air Out Often – If storing a cooling towel long-term, air it out at least monthly in a sunny spot to prevent musty towel smells.
- Inspect Condition – Prior to each summer season, carefully check for any mold, damage or wear necessitating replacement. Catching problems early keeps your towel in top cooling condition.
- Watch for Diminished Cooling – After a couple years of use, most cooling towels gradually lose effectiveness. At the first sign of inadequate temperature relief, replace yours to stay comfortable.
With diligent storage methods and regular upkeep, your valuable cooling towel beats the heat for years of enduring relief. Reward your efforts by staying chilled as temperatures rise!
What is the best way to store my cooling towel to extend its lifespan?
The best practice is washing the towel first, allowing complete drying, folding neatly and storing in a sealable plastic bin or bag in a cool, dry place like a closet or cabinet. Taking steps to protect it from light, heat and moisture prevents damage from the elements that break down cooling fibers and materials most rapidly.
How long do cooling towels typically last with proper storage methods?
The average well-made and properly stored cooling towel lasts around 2-3 years with regular summer use. Higher quality towels may last upwards of 5 years if washing and storing carefully between each season.
Is it necessary to wash my cooling towel every time before storing or can I just hang to dry?
Washing your cooling towel thoroughly before storage is highly recommended each time to prevent odor, bacteria, and mold growth. However, if you don’t have time for a full wash, you can get away with just hanging to completely dry after use. Keep in mind that over time, skin oils, sweat residue, and sunscreen may still embed in the fibers and reduce cooling capacity if you never wash.
What are signs my cooling towel needs replacing?
Some clear indicators that a cooling towel has reached the end of its effective lifespan and needs replacement include:
- Inadequate cooling relief or drying out too quickly during use
- Thin, holey fabric or sections with worn threads
- Unpleasant odors that linger after repeated wash attempts
- Discoloration that appears dirty overall
- Mold or mildew growths that reappear quickly
- Brittle texture no longer pliable after rewetting
Can I store my cooling towel folded up or does hanging work better?
Either folding neatly or hanging work fine, as long as proper drying happens first either way. The main benefit of hanging is allowing airflow all around to prevent moisture trapping inside folds. However, for storage longer than a few weeks, folding better protects the fibers from accumulating too much dust by creating a surface layer. Personal preference rules here.
What temperature should I wash my cooling towel at?
Check your cooling towel’s attached tag before washing to verify the exact recommended temperature. Most quality towels handle gentle machine cycles or hand washing with cool water just fine. Avoid hot temperatures over 90°F (32°C) as heat accelerate breakdown of special cooling materials.
Getting the most out of your valuable cooling towel relies heavily on proper techniques between uses.
Taking time to fully dry, store cleanly folded in ideal conditions, and perform occasional maintenance preserves effectiveness through many hot seasons.