I often say that there are three things that we need in this world. Life, Love, and Laundry. But have you been wondering why your towels aren’t absorbing anymore? Are they crunchy or stiff, or have you just given up and purchased new towels? I’m going to show you how I make sure that our towels are not only fluffy and soft but that they absorb as a bath towel should after a shower. So let’s get to washing towels!
Soft Fluffy Towels
Have you ever gotten your towels out of the dryer and wondered what happened to that beautiful fluffy towel you bought? Just like everything else in life, how you treat your towels is what they give back. If you are abusing your towels by using the wrong method to wash them, they don’t have a fighting chance to stay pretty and useful.
The first thing I want you to do is to think about how you wash your towels. What is the water temperature? What kind of detergent are you using? Fabric softener? Do you have hard water in your home?
All of these factors play a part in how your towels function in their assigned task.
Water Temperature When Washing Towels
This is the first big mistake that a lot of people make when washing towels. We have all seen the commercials about washing in cold water to save energy costs. I understand that the market is falling for this (just like how milk is great for us. Insert eye roll here). But saving a few pennies on your bills to just have to run out and buy new towels because yours are crap now? Seems counterintuitive to me.
I cannot stress enough that towels need HOT water in order to get clean. The hot water loosens up the fabric and helps soften it. Same concept as not brushing your hair when it’s wet because the hair follicles have been opened up and are more fragile. You want the fabric opened up to make it plusher after it’s been washed.
Detergents for Washing Towels
This isn’t about brands. To each their own on that topic. Personally, I have to use detergents that are for sensitive skin and without dyes and perfumes. I have some serious skin allergies when it comes to those things.
The only thing about your detergent is that it should be a liquid, not a powder. Powders do not dissolve quickly enough. The particles can get caught in the fabric of the towel and not rinse completely away. This creates a “film” on the threads and makes your towels feel rough to the touch.
Liquid Fabric Softener when Washing Towels
No. No. Absolutely no. Fabric softeners do NOT soften your clothing. The chemicals in this “wonderful” product simply form a barrier on the fabrics to simulate the feeling of softness. Nothing more.
Liquid fabric softeners are the biggest reason that your towels are not absorbing the water they are meant to. The chemical layer keeps the towels from sucking up the water, which means it’s only moving it around on either your skin, hair, or dishes.
If you absolutely MUST use fabric softener with your towels, use dryer sheets instead. (But personally, I do not recommend these either.)
Want to know what I use instead? Distilled white vinegar. It softens the towels and helps remove bacteria and odors in the towels. And if you have boys in the house, you know this is a big thing.
Towels and Hard Water
This is can vouch for personally. Living in the country and dealing with well water is interesting. I have, however, dealt with this for most of my life. I grew up on well water, lived in the city for part of it, and I’m now back to dealing with country water again.
Even with a water softener treating the house, our water is still not helpful to our towels. The minerals and other things that come out of the well can wreak havoc on the fabric.
Even though we have a whole-house water softener, I use Epsom salts in loads of towels I wash to further soften the water, and thus the towels. It isn’t expensive to buy, and I love having it around to soak sprains and injuries in anyhow.
PLUS… Epsom salts are awesome in the garden. But more on that in later posts.
How to Wash Towels (The Cliffnotes)
Wash in HOT water with NO fabric softener (vinegar instead) and Epsom salts to soften the water.
My Towels are Gross! Can I Save Them?
Yes!!! Absolutely you can bring your old towels back to life.
All you have to do is take the time to strip them.
Have you seen my post about getting white socks clean? The premise is the same for stripping towels. The only difference is that we do not bleach them, and we add Epsom salts to soften up the towels as they are stripping all the buildup and gunk away.
Towel Stripping Recipe
- 1/4 cup Borax powder
- 1/4 cup Baking Soda
- 2 tbsp. Laundry Soap
- 1/2 cup OxiClean
- 1 cup Epsom salts
- HOT water (to cover)
Have more Towel Washing questions?
Drop me a comment below, email me or DM me over on Instagram. I’m happy to help solve all of your towel care problems.