Are you having towel problems? Are your towels too scratchy, holding a musty smell, not absorbing, or just not fluffy anymore? Well, don't replace those towels quite yet! I have safe, natural, American made solutions for these four common towel dilemmas.
How to Soften Hard Towels & Other Towel Washing Tips
Don't miss our source list of American made towels!
1. Scratchy, Hard Towels
Ever wonder why a freshly washed towel feels hard and scratchy, even when fabric softener is used? Ironically, scratchy towels can be a result of using too much fabric softener and detergent. To make towels soft again, add a cup of vinegar with your regular detergent during the next washing. The vinegar will strip the buildup from your towels' fibers. To help prevent scratchy towels, forgo the use of fabric softener all together and use a made in USA wool dryer ball instead. Wool dryer balls soften towels and clothing naturally while reducing drying time.
Do you dry your towels on the clothesline? I actually love my line dried towels to be a little on the scratchy side, but sometimes they are so hard they can stand up by themselves! Ha! Adding a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle helps soften line dried towels as well. I also toss already dry towels into my dryer on the air cycle for 10 minutes with my wool dryer balls to soften them up.
Need a source for big jugs of cleaning vinegar? We love this orange-scented cleaning vinegar made from US corn by Harris. You also can't go wrong keeping large bottles of classic Heinz cleaning vinegar on hand. These sizes can be hard to find in stores but both are available on Amazon and can be dropped on your doorstep. No hauling required.
2. Stinky Towels
Oh stinky towels! How I find them in so many places- under my daughter's bed, in my son's sporting gear bag, on the bottom of a beach bag…EW! Bacteria build up on towels that are not hung properly to dry after use sure can STINK! Even worse is when the smell lingers after washing. Too much detergent and fabric softener use can cause a buildup that will trap bacteria- and smells. To remedy the stink, wash the offending towels in one cup of vinegar (no detergent) in hot water, then follow with a regular detergent wash. To help prevent towel stench, always make sure towels are hung straight to dry after each use, and not on a hook.
Don't miss Jill's list of the Best Non-Toxic Sports Laundry Detergents, Specially Formulated To Eliminate Odor.
3. Towels That Aren't Absorbing
What? A towel that doesn't absorb?! It happens. A towel will stop doing its body drying job if there is an accumulation of detergent and fabric softener built up on the towel's fibers. To get a towel's absorbency back, simply strip the residue from the towel using a cup of vinegar with your normal detergent in the next wash. To help prevent towels from not absorbing, skip the fabric softener and use a dryer ball to soften them instead.
4. Towels That Aren't Fluffy
Have you noticed a theme here? The same culprits that make our towels scratchy and hard, cause them to lose their fluff. Yup, you guessed it, detergent and fabric softener buildup strikes again. Add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle with regular detergent to strip away the buildup. And again, skip the fabric softener and use dryer balls instead. Also, remember to shake out towels before tossing them into the dryer. They will dry better and be fluffier if they aren't all twisted up.
Don't miss my list of 8 Eco Friendly Laundry Detergents Made in the USA.
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Since the majority of the hand towels are made out of cotton materials and come in a soft and fluffy texture. One needs to avoid the use of fabric softeners as it could contribute to the deterioration of the towel fibers by causing them to be stiff and also reduce their absorbency over time.
Who knew there was so much to do with towels, lol. Thanks for posting!
These are great tips! I have been wanting to get some dryer balls.
Thank you for the tips. Another use for vinegar 🙂
I always use the dryer balls. Besides making things softer, things dry much quicker when using them. Yep soap buildup is amazing and fabric softener is horrible after awhile.
Amazing what a cup of vinegar can do! I need to try this as well as get some wool dryer balls.
I recently bought some dish towels are just horrible. It’s like they are too soft. They just won’t absorb any water–I mean it’s a dish towel, it’s job is to absorb water, lol.
Very helpful tips shared here. I agree with all tips which you mentioned in the post that would definitely help.
I really dislike SCRATCHY, HARD TOWELS. I am going to use the wool dryer balls and I think that is a great idea.
I do like to use Wool dryer balls and they do reduce drying time. These towel tips are helpful, but I would like to purchase new towels also!