Home & LivingLifestyle

Why are towels hard after washing? How to make towels soft and fluffy again!

The life of a towel isn’t easy. Let’s be honest; on a daily basis our towels are forced into some of the most…compromising situations. They see sides to us that anyone else rarely gets to see, and they have to see them daily! But it’s not just the places they go and the things that they see that make their lives difficult, it’s the constant use. 

All of the hard water and friction can really start to wear the fabric of a towel down over time. That, and with regular exposure to oil, even the fluffiest of towels begin to lose their softness over time. But, is there a way to prevent their decline? Or at least, keep them fluffy for longer? Well, the good news is that if you read on, we may just have a solution for you! 

Use less detergent 

Towels become stiff over time because they begin to build up with a soap residue. When you begin to use less detergent than is suggested, your washing machine will have a much easier time of washing out those last remnants of soapy residue. This can help to keep the towels softer, for longer. 

So, whilst you might be tempted to throw in a truck-load of detergent on your next wash, try being more conservative this time and see what happens! 

Always wash towels in warm water 

The warmer the water (body temperature water is always the most effective), it will have a much easier time of absorbing the detergent, thus leaving less build-up on your towels. This coupled with less detergent is one of the most effective ways of keeping your towels nice and soft. 

You should also allow your detergent to dissolve in the washing machine properly before adding your towels in. Simply begin the wash cycle, add the soap in, and wait for a minute or two before you add your towels into the mix. 

Consider replacing your fabric softeners with vinegar

OK, so the thought of adding vinegar to your towels doesn’t sound like the best idea, at a glance. However, you’d be surprised at the positive effects that it can have. You see, fabric softeners make the towels more repellent of water, so they don’t get as good a wash as they need. However, by adding one small cup of white vinegar every six weeks or so, it can remove the soap residue from your towel that is making it feel rough, thus bringing back its original softness and restoring its absorbency.  

All you need to do is run your towels through a regular washing cycle, and then re-do it using vinegar instead of fabric softener and soap. 

Baking soda works a dream

Baking soda can work wonders with loosening up the fibers of your towel, cleaning off any grime or chemicals that are making it feel rough to the touch. Simply mix half a cup of baking soda in with a normal amount of detergent and then go from there. 

As an additional bonus, baking soda is great for naturally eliminating those musty odours that can build-up over time—for example, if you left your damp towel to dry in your gym bag or on a pile on the floor. Eliminate those musty-smells for good with a touch of baking soda. 

Lighten the load! 

Another common mistake when washing towels is putting too many in the wash together at once. Not only does this put a huge amount of strain on your washing machine, but it also doesn’t allow enough room for the dirt and detergent to rinse out properly from your towels. The same applies for the dryer; if you overload it, then there isn’t going to be enough air getting into the fluff of the fabric, costing you more money in energy bills and ultimately making the drying process less-effective. This is how you end up with stiff and matted towels, rather than soft and fluffy ones (which is the dream, right?) 

At a maximum, try to keep the load to two or three bath towels at a time. Any more than that is slightly overdoing it. 

Throw a tennis or dryer ball in 

Yep! You heard correctly. If you have any (clean) unused tennis balls or dryer balls around, then add them into your dryer. This helps with removing any lumps and bumps in your towels, thus softening them and adding a fluffy feel that we all miss and desire so much. 

Don’t tumble dry too often 

Yes, freshly tumbled towels are beautiful and fluffy and a pleasure to use. However, over time, the heat from the dryer can cause serious damage to the overall integrity of the towel. So, there are two things that you can do: 

  • Use a lower setting on your tumble
  • Alternate between air drying and tumble drying 

Or, you can even air dry your towels for part of the time and then finish them off in the tumble dryer to speed up the process and get a little fluff about them. 

Make sure that whenever you finish drying a towel, that you shake them out properly to fluff up the fibers.


And there we have it! If you follow these steps and take more care when washing and drying your beloved towels, you’ll be able to enjoy the soft and fluffy feels once again! Just like a beautiful Thai Hotel Towel. You know the ones where you feel as though you are drying your bottom with a cloud! 

In any case, we hope you have found this article useful. Good luck with the process and follow each step carefully to make your towels softer, for longer.

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