I have this problem too. I think it is a combination of the hard water that I have and soap build up in the cloth. I presoak them in vinegar and it cuts right through any soap build up. My vinyl shower curtain liner gets yucky soap build up too, I run it through the wash when I am washing rags, and I add vinegar to the wash water, the shower curtain comes out sparkling clean like it was new.
I have problems with this sometimes also. #1 I think it has a lot to do with quality, I have bought "expensive" (not really I just think $5 for 1 washcloth is expensive) and they've been awful. Sometimes when our body towels have gotten stiff and seem to absorb less water, I soak them overnight in the machine (I get all most used towels) in Borax, in the morning I add detergent, NO SOFTNER! and they seem to be pretty good. Outside line drying, while great for our energy bills can make for stiff towels also and too much softner, contrary to believe softner isn't all that good for towels. Hope that mis-mosh of info. helps.
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