For the first few years of our marriage I folded towels by the basketful. Even though it was just my husband and I, and we tried to use the same towel more than once before tossing it into the dirty clothes and grabbing a clean one, it still seemed like I was folding every single one we owned every time I did the wash. Then one day we found the answer to all our towel woes- the terrycloth bath robe! Not just any old terrycloth bath robe, but nice, thick, absorbent ones. We use our robes all week after each shower and then just hang them on a hook to dry for the next use. Each of our kids has their own robe as well. Scotty has mounted hooks in their bathroom and on each of their closet doors in their bedrooms so there is no excuse not to hang up their robe. This has cut the towel usage down to hand towels and wash cloths only. Now bath towels are only used to clean up the occasional spill, dry up the bathroom floor, or for guests. I wash the robes once a week or less and they don't have to be folded. Just hang them back on their hooks. A really good absorbent robe isn't cheap, but we have had ours for years. They hold up and really don't wear out. The kid's robes were $30.00 each from Costco, but we bought them 7 years ago and they are still in great shape! We have just passed them down the line as they grow.
Another issue in our house has been sour towels and robes. Last year one of my kids threw a wet beach towel in their hamper. Since I only wash clothes once a week it was pretty stinky by the time I found it. Their robes were also a little sour from the times they didn't hang them to dry. I washed them a couple of times and they still weren't fresh out of the dryer so I decided I would try bleach- even though it might ruin the look of the brightly colored robes and towel. If bleach freshened them it was better than throwing them out. So I washed them in hot water with about 1/2 cup of bleach. They were as good as new if not slightly faded. They have smelled fresh ever since.
Today I decided to use bleach one more time on a pile of less than fresh dish towels. They are all brightly colored, but again, I'd rather they have bleach spots and be fresh than have to throw them out. They weren't cheap. I can't stand towels that aren't absorbent enough, so I shelled out the extra cost for some really good dish towels. I set the machine on hot water and added my usual detergent as it was filling, along with a scoop of oxy clean and about 1/2 cup of bleach. They all came out smelling lovely, without even a hint of stink, and the bright colors still look as good as new. I guess the bleach is diluted enough not to fade the towels, but still strong enough to kill the mildew or whatever the lingering stink is.
So, for now, my towel troubles are over.