Why Are My Gray Towels Turning Orange?

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Most people prefer to use gray-colored towels to white towels mainly because they think that white towels are hard to maintain and keep clean. Some just prefer gray towels to any other color of the towel. At times, you will notice a part of your gray towel change from gray to orange. What causes these color changes in towels/clothes? You’ll find out very soon.

Orange white towels

Why Are My Gray Towels Turning Orange? Your gray towel may begin to turn orange or change color as a result of the following reasons.

  • Bleach
  • There’s a possibility that the towel has always been orange
  • Hair Dye
  • Detergent
  • Rust
  • Makeup stains
  • Washing Machine
  • Chemical


Makeup stains

Ladies have different ways and methods of how they apply their makeup to their faces. Some like to dress up and do their hair before applying makeup.

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During the process of applying makeup, they tuck a napkin, dirty cloth, or towel to prevent stains on their dress. If for example, the towel is gray, the powder, and foundation that is being applied on the face can leave a stain on the towel. 

Or if you don’t wash your face properly you can stain the towel with the makeup remnant on your face. Always wash your face properly before drying it with a towel, and it is good if you have a separate towel meant for only your face;

If possible have a separate material meant to prevent your clothes from getting stained when making up. Lastly, wash your towel immediately as soon as you notice the stains on it.


Rusting is caused by the corrosion of iron. If there is iron present in the water, it creates rust that can result in reddish-brown or orange spots and stains on towels and clothes.

Or if you should hang your towel on a rusted iron, the rust on the iron can transfer and stain your towel. You can use rust remover to remove rust stains from your clothes and towels. You can also test for the presence of iron in the water to know what to do.

Washing Machine

You might be wondering how a washing machine can make a gray towel turn orange. Here is how it can happen: Washing machines are made to have drums in them.

So if foreign objects made of iron stay too long in a washing machine, it will end up creating a coating of rust. Washing your towel with this type of machine can also add stains to it.

Make sure you wash and clean your washing machine thoroughly to remove stains and leftover bleach from the previous wash cycles to remove foreign objects, and also avoid getting stains on your towels and clothes too.

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Using products that contain chemicals like benzoyl peroxide can cause your towel to have orange stains on them. Benzoyl peroxide is used for the treatment of acne.

If after the whole day you don’t wash your face properly before using your towel to dry it, the chemical can stain the towel. Since benzoyl peroxide is difficult to remove, you should have a separate towel for your face. It can also be removed by following the steps below.

  1. When benzoyl peroxide comes in contact with your white or colored towel, the first thing you should do is try to remove the remnant from the surface of the towel and avoid spreading it around and rubbing it on the towel because it will easily go deeper into the towel material.
  2. Position the towel in such a way that cool water from the tap can easily touch. Flush the fabric from the opposite of while the towel is still under the tap. The water will help remove the remnants of the benzoyl peroxide that is stuck in the towel fiber.
  3. Quickly wash the towel. And if the bleaching process of benzoyl peroxide has started, it can not be reversed. When benzoyl peroxide and chemicals or ingredients mix with the towel’s dye to produce an orange color, it will be very hard to remove such a stain if it is not dealt with as soon as possible.


It is majorly applied in the washing of white clothes because they are very effective in removing dirt and stains from them.

Bleach can as well be used on colored materials, however, this occurs in cases where the purpose is to bleach the said material.

When bleach comes in contact with a gray towel, it changes the color to orange. Keep your colored clothes and gray towels away from bleach if you’ve no intention of changing the color.

If you want to remove any stain, you should soak the towel in a bucket that contains hot or warm water and detergent then leave it for some time before washing it.

Hair Dye

A good population of people is accustomed to dyeing their hair to suit their preferences. However, in the process of doing so, it is imperative to avoid contact between the dye and the rest of the body.

This results in the use of towels to adequately shield the body hairs, especially those of the neck from the dye. However, the towel, now at the receiving end, is stained by the dye that comes in contact with it. It is better if you have a separate towel for your body and your hair.

There’s a possibility that the towel has always been orange

It could be that the towel was a mistake in the sense that the original production color was not what the manufacturer wanted.

So he or she has subsequently overdyed a darker color that is not very colorfast. If the towel is a brand-new towel you can return it or exchange it for your desired towel color.


We all know that detergents are made from chemicals, but chemicals that are friendly to use on clothes and towels. Though some can have bleaching agents in them.

If for example, you buy a new detergent that is different from the ones you previously use and you begin to notice orange stains on your gray towel, it could be that the detergent is the cause of it.

That is why it is better to stick to the detergent you usually use and if you want to change, you’ll have to do it gradually, so that you’ll know whether it is safe to use such detergent on your clothes and towel.


Where you store and arrange your towel can also cause your towel to change color. If there is an orange cloth dress present in your cloth storage, there is a possibility that the cloth can stain the towel. The best thing to do is to move the towel to a more conducive place far away from any colored clothes that can stain it.

How Do I Stop My Towel From Discoloring?

We all love to use towels that are soft and fluffy. Most people love to invest in quality towels for both that face and bathroom. It is everyone’s interest to keep the towel neat every time.

Some people prefer to use white towels while others prefer to use colored towels. People that use colored towels are meant to avoid using and doing certain things to prevent the color of the towel from changing. They include the following

Keep them far away from any bleaching agent

Bleach is the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to a fabric or towel changing from its original color to another color.

When a towel comes in contact with any detergent or bleach that contains chemicals like hydrochlorite, it can cause it to change color.

Also, adding bleach accidentally is not the only way that bleach can come in contact with your colored towel. People often use bleach to keep their washing machines clean and if not properly washed, there can still be bleach remnants inside the washing machine. That is why it is advised to wash white clothes or towels first after washing the machine.

Minimize the exposure and keep acne-treating products away from your colored towel.

Most acne-treating product contains benzoyl peroxide that can leave a colored towel discolored. It is commonly found in products and face washes used for treating acne.

It can transfer to your towel if your face is not properly washed. If you notice that your towel has been stained by benzoyl peroxide, soak and wash the towel within 24-36 hours after it comes in contact with the chemical product, else it leaves a permanent bleaching color that can not be removed.

The did have already been done. So what now?

If the mistake has already been done and cannot be repaired, you can use the towel for another purpose, manage it like that, dye it to your desired color, or get a new towel. If you decide to use the towel for another purpose, you can cut and dye the other part of a towel to form a design, you can also cut and use the towel to make a bar mop.

Why Are My Gray Towels Turning Orange – Conclusion

Towels are meant to be soft, fluffy, and kept clean always. If you want to dry your hair, face, and body, you should have a separate towel for these specific purposes to avoid stains and other mishaps that can happen to your towel. Also, keep bleaching and any other chemicals that can cause your towel to discolor. 

Lastly, wash and rinse your washing machine thoroughly if you are using a bleaching agent to keep it clean. If your towel changes color you can either use it the way it is, bleach it, or dye it to form a very beautiful pattern and design, or better still get a new towel. Whichever one you choose, I hope it makes you happy.

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