Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

All the Tips You Could Ever Need to Make Towels Soft Again!

how to make towels soft again custom graphic

Who doesn’t enjoy a long, hot shower to wash away a hard day’s work? And on a cold winter’s night, warming up with a hot bath is indescribable! However, it doesn’t have to end there; wrapping yourself up in a soft, fluffy towel after a shower is the perfect way to end a not-so-perfect day. Unfortunately, this entire experience is ruined when you end up with a rough towel abrasively rubbing over your skin! 

More often than not, towels become hard and uncomfortable due to the  residual buildup of laundry detergents and body oils in the fibres. This results in stiffness and roughness that goes as far as diminishing the ability of your towel to soak up moisture. So, if you’re looking for a way to bring the plushness back, then read on for a few tips and pointers on how to make towels soft again!

Buy the Right Towels to Begin With

three white towels folded cylindrically on top of each otherWhen shopping for towels, look for higher-density materials that are made with high-grade quality cotton. These two qualities are a must because the more density a towel has, the higher its absorption rate will be. Of course, cotton itself is a highly absorbent material so it’s best to avoid other types of fibres. The original feel of good quality towels is cushiony and offers the perfect warmth, absorption, and cozy embrace you yearn for after a shower.

Limit the Detergent

man standing in front of a front loader washing machine pouring blue laundry detergent into detergent lid

Too much detergent plays a big role in towels losing their softness; therefore, you might want to ease up on the amount of soap used when laundering your towels. Believing that – the more detergent you use, the cleaner your towels or laundry will be – is one of the biggest misconceptions and laundry mistakes made by countless people. Additionally, excess detergent means your machine will have a tougher time rinsing the fabrics while adding to the buildup of residue in the tub. 

Use Soft Water

green microfiber towels in top loader washing machine drum

The term ‘hard water’ is water comprising high levels of magnesium and calcium created by mineral deposits of gypsum, chalk, or limestone. It’s the most common form of water found in many households and has a slightly murky appearance. Hard water is yet another reason why your towels may be turning rough after use or wash. The solution? Well, you will need to take measures to convert hard water to soft water in your home.

Choose the Right Type of Cleaning Detergent

man pouring blue laundry detergent into a front loader washing machine

When washing towels, replace powdered detergents with liquid ones. The reason being, mineral content in the water latches onto the powder crystals which, in turn, limits the detergent’s cleansing effectiveness. To counter the calcium content, adding half a cup of borax to the water will soften it, however, we advise avoiding this reaction altogether by switching to liquid laundry detergents.

Wash Your Towels Separately

five assorted coloured towels folded on top of each other next to six bottles of laundry detergent

Always wash similar fabrics together. In this case, make sure your load of washing doesn’t include other clothing articles that could agitate your towels further. The main aim is to restore your towels to their former glory, and this can easily be done by washing similar grade materials together. Another pro-tip to make your towels soft again is to dry them in the dryer together (without adding in rough or stiff materials like denim).

Avoid Overloading the Machine

overloaded front loader washing machine with assorted coloured towels inside

Even though washing machines are heavy-duty, it’s never a good idea to overload them. If they are filled to the brim, there won’t be enough room in the tub to wash the towels well, or fully rid them of detergent. As mentioned earlier, leftover detergent is one of the reasons why towels end up stiff, thus defeating the purpose of washing them to restore softness. Overloading the washer will also put tremendous strain on the appliance and, oftentimes, results in the motor burning out.

Hot vs Cold Water

person turning water temperature dial on a washing machine

Selecting the right temperature of water also plays a part in your towel’s recovery endeavor. Cold water was once believed to be unsafe or unsuitable but on the flip side, has proven to be the best for washing towels. Some of the added perks include saving on energy (otherwise used to produce hot water), and extending the life of your towel’s fabric whilst keeping it soft, clean, and fluffy. Hot water, on the other hand, will cause shrinkage to the material, wear away elasticity, induce colour-fading, and weaken the towel fibres over time.

Pass on Fabric Softeners

person selecting blue fabric softener off a store shelf

Yes, you read that right. Liquid fabric softeners are made up of certain oils and other additives which form a protective coating over your towel. If you are uncomfortable with this feeling or texture, you are likely to wash your towel more frequently, thus leading to wearing down the material.

So, what do you use then? The answer is vinegar! Leave the laundry softeners aside, and add just a cup of vinegar to your wash load once a month to strip away the silicone-like buildup on your towel. That’s not all; this very humble household item helps restore softness to your towels, and brings back its lost absorbency potential. It also prevents bacterial growth which is very important, especially for individuals with sinus problems or allergies.

Use Tennis Balls or Dryer Balls

two blue dryer balls in front of a washing machine

They’re not just for the courts or your dog’s favourite toy; new (and unused) tennis balls added to your dryer are a great way to prevent any lumpy or unevenness during the drying process. Once the wash cycle is complete, carefully remove the towels, and give them a good shake to fluff out the fabric before transferring to the dryer. The tennis balls or dryer balls will beat down the fibres and give them a softer and fluffier feeling. If you’ve never heard of tennis balls being added to a wash load, you should know that they are often used when cleaning thick materials including washing duvets in a machine.

The care tips above guarantee that, if followed diligently, you can make your towels soft again! Another helpful practice to make sure your towels are soft is to fold them after you've finished your laundry. So, give them a shot, and the next time you step out of the shower, you can expect the plush, luxurious feel of a fresh towel wrapping you in a warm embrace! 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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