Save Money by Purchasing White Linens and Towels

I don’t know about you, but with prices of groceries and gas skyrocketing, I’m looking to save money any way I can. One of the less obvious ways of saving money is to pay attention to the color of your sheets and towels. I always buy white. Always.

Now, I know only buying white sheets and towels may seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be. And the money (and time) savings of only dealing with white linens is worth it to me. Why buy white?

white towels

White Always Matches White

While there are different shades of other colors…sage green, kelly green, forest green, etc…white is white. If one of your towels gets worn and you need to replace it, you can go to any store and buy a white towel, and it will match what you have.

Not so with other colors. When you need to replace just one towel in another color, you have to replace them all, if you like matching towels hanging in your bathroom. If the store where you bought the first set no longer carries the colors, it will be hard to find a match.

The same goes with sheets. If I buy a white sheet set, and the bottom sheet wears out before the top sheet, I can just replace the fitted sheet, as opposed to buying a new set.

White Coordinates with Other Colors

Lest you think my home is sterile and boring, let me reassure you that it’s not. I use a lot of reds and greens throughout my home in the form of throw pillows, blankets, comforters, and wall hangings. And white coordinates with almost any color!

A well placed piece of colorful art, a rich colored lampshade, or a jewel toned rug can brighten up a room with white linens. Painted walls and cabinets can also make a room pop, despite white towels. White does not have to be boring!

White can be Bleached

I’m not a huge fan of bleach, but I do use it once in a while on my towels and sheets. If my linens start to fade or get dingy looking, running them through the wash with a cup of bleach can brighten them enough to look almost brand new.

While other colors of towels and sheets can fade and look old before they are worn enough to replace, you can eek extra months or even years out of white sheets and towels, just by using a little bleach. I usually double rinse after bleaching my linens, as I hate the smell of bleach, and I don’t want it next to my skin. With the double rinse, I find I don’t notice the effects of the bleach on my laundry.

While sticking with white as the color of your sheets and towels may seem like a trivial thing, it really does simplify life and save a little money. I never have to sort my sheets and towels, any sheet can be used on any of the kids’ beds (they’re all the same size), and I replace towels when they are worn, rather than when they start to look faded.

Have you made the switch to white? Have you found that it simplifies life and saves a little money?

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.


By , on Oct 27, 2012
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Pam:

    Have you tried using white vinegar in your rinse water? It seems to help when you line dry items to keep them soft. I use white vinegar for all sorts of things in my home.

  2. Mike Brown:

    Another way to save money is NOT to put clothes, linens etc. through the dryer. I hang most of my clothes on hangers, put them in the closet and let them dry naturally. For sheets I hang on shower curtain rods, spring loaded type, I have mounted in my closets. Remember: Every time you clean the dryer’s lint screen those are fibres your throwing out.

    • Good ideas, Mike! I also hang up all tops, shirts, blouses to dry, just because they will shrink in our 1995 dryer if I don’t. Funny thing? Men’s clothing doesn’t shrink in our dryer, just the women’s tops. Strange! But I need to hang them on a rod we placed above our washer and dryer, because my husband and I share a small closet. If I hung the clothes to dry in that small closet that has a concrete block outside wall, they would all mold – it’s too crowded to allow anything to air dry. You’re right – every time we place things in the dryer, they are becoming less attractive, although we’ve placed our bath towels in the dryer for 7 years now, and they still look great!

    • Lynnae McCoy:

      Mike, you’re definitely right about the dryer. The only thing I don’t like about line drying towels is that they get a little crunchy. Does anyone have tips for soft, line dried towels? I guess I could throw them in the dryer for a few minutes once they’re dry. I’ve done that with some succes in the past. But recently I’ve gotten lazy and have just dried the towels in the dryer.

  3. I’ve always been afraid of using white towels, because children (and adults) often don’t wash hands well enough, and the hand towels turn gray pretty quickly. We have a 1980 washer, so it doesn’t have a method to add bleach during the wash cycle like the newer washers do, or to rinse twice, I guess, unless I would do this manually. I don’t really like using bleach for clothing, anyway. But in our family, we don’t get a new hand towel/bath towel every day like we live in a hotel. We wash the towels twice a week (sometimes once a week in the summer when they dry quickly and don’t have an odor). Since we’re using the towels on clean hands and clean bodies, we wait to wash until I can detect a slight odor, usually after several uses.

    Just doing that one thing saves us tons of $$ on our natural gas bill. If I washed all of our towels each day, I can’t even imagine how much higher our natural gas bill would be! :)

    I know some people will think that this is gross, to not get a fresh bath towel each day, but we’ve not had skin problems or rashes or anything because of it. If we were using them on dirty hands/bodies, that would be different – I’d definitely be washing them every day!

    It may not sound very frugal, but I buy the more expensive Hotel Collection towels at Macy’s when they go on a really great sale in the late fall, in November and December. The towels may be more expensive than what you’d find at your basic ‘mart, but they last us literally for YEARS! I bought our sage green towels for our hall/main bath literally about 7 years ago, and they are still pretty soft and look great! (And that’s with using unscented sensitive skin-types of laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets.)

    Because we only wash the towels 1-2 times per week, they stay looking very new and good literally for years. I’ve been married almost 18 years, and I’ve only bought towels for each bathroom twice! But because they were the Hotel Collection brand, and because we don’t wash them every single day, they are wonderful towels. Love ’em!

    Someone told me once that it wasn’t sanitary to not get a clean towel every day after a bath/shower. I smiled when she said that she washes their bed sheets once a month. Yikes! People are in their beds for many hours each night (hopefully, right?!!), so I think they should be changed every week or at the minimum, every two weeks. But everyone is going to have their own standard on how frequently to change sheets and towels – and that’s okay!

    We bought a set of sheets for our master bed when we got married, from JC Penny’s, and back then the higher quality sheets were thicker – but even 18 years ago, it cost probably around $75 for the set of queen sheets. We still use them for six months of the year on our bed, washing them weekly or every other week when I forget to do it weekly. They still look pretty brand new. Maybe they aren’t in a color I necessarily love anymore (!), but they are thicker, nice sheets. Same thing with our flannel sheets – we’ve used the same set for years and years.

    I’ve never had towels or sheets fade, but maybe that’s because where we hang the towels, the sun doesn’t shine on them directly. I’m not sure how sheets would fade unless the beds weren’t made and the sun shone on them a lot.

    The only recent set of sheets I bought was for one of the girls’ twin beds. While it wasn’t a cheap set of sheets, I was surprised at how thin the fabric was. Yes, it was very smooth with a higher thread count, but it is so thin that I doubt it will last more than a few years. I found this to be interesting. The previous set of sheets she had used had been used for about 25 years!

    I guess I just haven’t seen a need to purchase sheets and towels as frequently as others, nor have I had the $$ to do so.

    For those of you who use white sheets and towels, have you ever tried Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing on them? You would be amazed at how white they will become after one use in the washing machine. It’s a method that people have used over 100 years to whiten their towels and sheets and other white clothing. It’s not something a person would use with each wash, just occasionally. I have a friend who uses this with their whites 2-3 times per year, and it is amazing how brilliantly white the clothing, towels, etc. come out. I’ve seen this product at many stores over the years, but haven’t used it myself just because we don’t have a lot of white clothing or white towels/linens. Just a suggestion for those who do, though!

    • Lynnae McCoy:

      We only wash our towels a couple of times a week, too. I figure we should be clean when stepping out of the shower, so it’s ok to use them more than once. I do change our hand towels frequently, though.

      I’m definitely going to have to try the bluing to keep my whites more white. That’s something new to me!

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