Over time, it is normal for towels to lose some of their softness and absorbency. Regular use means your towels might become stiff, scratchy, and discoloured over time due to body oils, detergents, and the minerals found in hard water. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to plump up your items.
1. Change Laundry Technique
Fabrics can absorb detergents over time. The soap seeps deep into the fabric fibres, which can dull clothes, blankets and household items. You do not need as much detergent as you think. By reducing the amount of laundry soap, you can protect your towels. Another trick to try is to start the washer before putting in the towels. After cycling for a couple of minutes, you can then add them in.
2. Use White Vinegar
White vinegar is a great way to remove oils and detergent from towel fibres. You do not have to wash with this every single week. Instead, add vinegar to every other washing. Some people like to add bicarbonate of soda to the vinegar to remove stains and odours. The best practice is to add one cup of white vinegar to warm water without any other soaps. Run the washer for one cycle and then add baking soda.
3. Reduce Washing Frequency
Only run towels through the laundry about once a week. Do not wash them after every use, or they will get stiff quick. Hang your towels up after the shower and let them air dry. As long as they are spread out and hanging, they naturally dry. Experts recommend washing towels about once a week or after three to four uses.
4. Avoid Fabric Softener
Fabric softener can do more harm than good to towels. It can actually repel water because softeners have a silicon compound. You also want to make sure that you do not overload your washer or dryer. Towels are made of heavy fibres. Having too many in a washer or dryer might damage the appliances and reduce the cleaning power. You want the water to be able to flow to properly clean the fabric.
Overloading a dryer can cause some matting because airflow is limited.
5. Use Dryer Balls and Air Drying
Dryer balls are a great way to reduce static, matting and stiffness. These balls bounce inside of the machine, which rolls out lumps and softens the fabric. If you do not have dryer balls, you can use tennis balls for the same effect. You may also want to try and air-dry towels every so often. You don’t want to over dry towels and permanently damage the fibres.
6. Soften Hard Water
Some communities have hard water, which means the water has extra minerals in it. Hard water can make fabrics hard and dull. Consider adding a water softening system to your home. If you do not have this option, add one cup of ammonia instead of vinegar to the washing.
7. Clean the Washing Machine
Over time, detergent residue and moisture can affect the washer. If you do not clean it once a year, mould and mildew may form. You should clean your washing machine about once a year, which will increase its efficiency.
In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!