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Making Towels Soft

Category Laundry
Hard scratchy towels are probably not what you want to use after your shower. This is a guide about making towels soft.


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April 2, 2009

I have tried everything over the years to make my towels soft. First was the fabric softener and dryer sheets, then the baking soda and vinegar. Although I still use the vinegar, they were still scratchy. I searched the internet for solutions and found the answer.

I was doing two things wrong when I washed my towels, first I was putting too many towels in the washer. Second I was drying on too high a heat, set your dryer to medium heat. I have washed my towels twice since and they are a lot softer now, I'm sure on there way to being very soft.

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April 16, 20091 found this helpful

I have tried to do the same thing over the years. One day my doctor told me to use scratchy towels on my skin. He said it was good for blood circulation and also exfoliation. Now I don't worry too much about soft towels.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 16, 2009

How do you get towels soft? I live in the country and have a water softener. I have tried everything, vinegar, baking soda, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. Am I using to much or to little of something? They still come out scratchy.

Pico from St Paul, Alberta

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February 17, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

The way I understand it, many towels are made rough by the use of fabric softener. I use vinegar in my softener dispenser like one of the other posters said. Try stopping using fabric softener on towels at all.

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February 18, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Go to Walmart and buy a sleeve of tennis balls (3 to a pack) Put them in your dryer and tumble them with your towels (I use them in "all" my loads). Also make sure you "shake out" your wet laundry before you put it in the dryer (make it "crack!" in the air). You will find you need less fabric softener with the tennis balls and your clothes will be soft.

I got the tennis ball idea from the manufacturer's tag on my down jacket.

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March 9, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I haven't had this problem since I started doing the following:

1) Wash in warm water with your usual detergent making sure you are using the highest water level for your machine. Remember not to over-stuff. I wash two oversized towels and just a couple hand towels in one wash. You want the water to be able to flow through all your clothes!

2) My washer has an option for an extra rinse cycle. In the first rinse cycle I use white vinegar. The vinegar helps eliminate odor, sanitize and helps eliminate excess soap. In the second rinse cycle I use a small amount of liquid fabric softener with water. 1/4 cap rest water.

3) I also use only one-third of my fabric softener sheet just to be rid of static.

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February 17, 20090 found this helpful

Leave them outside overnight when there is a frost, and they are lovely and soft!

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February 17, 20092 found this helpful

I had this same problem, and one day my hubby did the laundry and the towels were soft and fluffy not like they are when I wash them.

The difference is : I washed them in cold/ warm water and just put them on the minimum amount of time to wash.

HE washes them in the hottest water possible and puts them on the longest wash and rinse cycle there is on the machine.

That's it, and we have city water which is hard water =) try just changing your settings that should help.

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0 found this helpful
February 3, 2006

After I wash my towels and wash and dry my hands one time the towels get stiff after one use! What is the problem? I have a water softener and it still hasn't helped. What can I do?

Jim Jackson from Phoenix, AZ

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February 3, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Wash your towels without detergent to get out the residue, and then use half as much detergent as called for in future washes.

Did you know that detergent companies tell you to put in as much detergent as will dissolve in water? This is actually 50% more than you actually need to use.

You may also want to switch detergents - especially if you are using something like Tide, which is a super cleaner.

Don't forget to use softener because the water softener for the general house usage is not enough for the wash.

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February 3, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

I wash with detergent and a 1/2 c of baking soda and use 1 cup vinegar in the rinse. No problem with leftover suds and rough towels. they are more absorbent as well.

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February 4, 20061 found this helpful
Best Answer

Vinegar is the best fabric softener!

I run an extra rinse cycle with 1/4 cup vinegar to remove the leftover detergent. My laundry is soft and smells great.

Love & Prayers,


Reply Was this helpful? 1
February 3, 20060 found this helpful

You are probably using too much detergent. When I worked in a small laundry we used a product on home laundry to remove the excess soap. We didn't add any more detergent, but there was always LOTS of suds. Detergent manufacturers usually recommend too much product. Try using half the amount called for, or because you have a water softener, use a quarter of the amount. You could try a non-sudsing washing soda, such as Borax, or if you know an Amway dealer, they have an excellent product for this purpose. Good Luck

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September 11, 20060 found this helpful

Towels Get Hard After One Use WHAT WORKS ON ALL FABRIC

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April 7, 20070 found this helpful

Try soaking in a cold water salt bath over night before you wash - then 1/2 cup white vinegar in rinse.

I recommend this when you first get new towels as well. Makes them stay soft for a very long time.

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December 10, 20070 found this helpful

Great hints already, but I just want to add that I too had the "mysterious" hardening towels for years. I didn't know who in our household of 5 was the culprit! This year our kids are all away at college, and I finally figured it out. After my husband shaves, he quickly rinses off his face, but the majority of the shaving foam is wiped off IN THE TOWEL!

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January 14, 20140 found this helpful

I have two wash cloths that always come out of the dryer feeling like bricks. The towels (same brand, color) are always nice and fluffy. These are in the same load.


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November 26, 20130 found this helpful

My towels come out of the dryer rough, not soft.

By Sandy

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0 found this helpful
September 28, 2005

I'm really sick of having hard scratchy towels. I have never used softener on them as that's supposed to stop them from absorbing water and I don't have a dryer so they are either dried inside on a rack or outside on the line. They weren't super cheap, just average.

Does anyone know how I can soften them up? Does anyone here use fabric softener on towels?

Thanks so much!

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May 30, 20150 found this helpful

Try rinsing using washing soda. It removes any excess soap which is what makes your towels hard. Dissolve in hot water.

I'm never without washing soda. I have washed poly filled doonas and they came out looking like new. Because it gets very hot here in Queensland I keep it in the fridge in a small bucket with a tight lid. Washing soda starts to melt at 35 degrees celsius.

You can use it as a rinse for any washing.

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