3 Ways to Soften Towels - wikiHow

Опубликовал Admin
5-11-2022, 19:10
It's no fun to dry off with a stiff, scratchy towel. It's common for oils, grime, and chemicals to harden onto the fabric, making it rough and hard to handle. The cause may be your detergent, your laundry habits, or even your water supply – but there are steps you can take to fix it. Read on to learn how to soften tough towels!

Washing and Soaking

  1. Wash towels with warm or hot water. Warmer water absorbs detergent better, which means that less soap residue is left caked onto the fabric. Furthermore, hot water can help dissolve oils that are left over from hygiene products and skin.
    • Be aware that brightly-colored towels may fade with repeated hot-water washing. If you don't care about fading, then proceed to wash with hot water. If you want to retain the color, then wash with cold water and try other towel-softening techniques.
  2. Soak towels in fabric softener. Mix one cup fabric softener with as much hot water as you need to submerge your towels. Soak the towels in the softener solution for at least an hour, until the softener has had time to thoroughly permeate the fabric.
  3. Replace detergent and fabric softener with vinegar. Most commercial fabric softeners contain silicon, which can coat the surface of your towels and limit their absorptive properties. Use the extra rinse cycle when you machine-wash your towels, and use a half-cup of white vinegar instead of soap in the first cycle. The vinegar will remove the oils and soapy residue that toughen up your towel, making it fluffier and more absorbent. Use a light soap (or just water) in the second rinse cycle to rinse out the smell of vinegar but retain the soft finish.
  4. Use baking soda. Try mixing half a cup of baking soda into your regular detergent. This should help wash away any oils, dirt, or chemicals that are making your towel stiff or scratchy. This is also great for removing musty odors – the sort of stink that develops when a towel has been left damp for a while.

Drying Techniques

  1. Try air-drying your towels outside. Ideally, do this on a cool day with a light breeze. Once the towel is dry, knead it with your hands as though it is a piece of dough or a hunk of meat. This should help to loosen up the stiffness.
  2. Tumble-dry on a low heat. High heat will certainly make your towels fluffier, but it may also damage the integrity of the fabric. You can also alternate between air drying and high-heat tumble-drying. Try partially drying towels on the line, then finishing them up in the dryer for extra warmth and fluff.
    • After drying, put the towel in for another round – but select the wrinkle-free option, if available. This will fluff the towel, which should help soften the fabric.
    • Always use dryer sheets when tossing your towels into the dryer.
  3. Shake out your towels. Give each towel a thorough shake when it comes out of the wash, and also when it comes out of the dryer. This should help keep the fabric fluffy.
  4. Add dryer balls or tennis balls to the load. When you tumble-dry your towels, pop a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls into the mix before closing the door. As the dry cycle rumbles, the balls will bounce around and pummel your towels. This should work the fibers and help soften up the stiff bits.

Preventing Stiff Towels

  1. Use less detergent. Laundry soap is highly concentrated, and a little bit goes a long way. If you use too much, the residue can congeal on the fabric, making the fibers stiff and scratchy. Try using less detergent than you normally would.
    • Too much detergent residue can also foster mold and bacterial growth – especially if a towel stays damp for a while.
  2. Look out for hard water. If your home's water supply is "hard" and full of minerals, then the faucet or washing machine might be leaving chalky deposits in your towels. Consider buying a mineral filter to soften up your water supply, or washing your towels only with off-grid water.
  3. Do not overfill your washing machine. If the chamber is too full, it might be keeping your towels from getting a full rinse. This can leave the fabric stiff with residue from minerals, dirt, and detergent.
    • The same goes for drying! Be patient and run multiple loads to avoid overcrowding.


  • Remember: the longer you soak your towels in fabric softener, the softer and looser they get. If you let a towel soak for too long, you might ruin the fabric.
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