by Charlotte Wood
(last updated September 15, 2014)
Alas, towels do not stay as nice as they were when you bought them—it's just a fact of life. It's always a bummer when your towels just don't have the same softness or the same absorbency. It may be a fact of life, but is there a way to rejuvenate your towels? The answer is yes! With pretty simple means you can have great success in bringing back the original quality of your towels.
The reason why towels become less absorbent and hard is due to residual laundry detergent clogging up the fibers. It is important to get out all the laundry detergent. Alas, softness and absorbency don't always go hand in hand and while you won't have to completely forgo one, you may have to accept a lower quality of one characteristic or the other.
To increase the absorbency, put a small amount of cider vinegar (usually a cup will do) into the wash cycle and run as usual. If you don't have cider vinegar, white vinegar will suffice. The effect that vinegar has on the absorbency of towels in relation to the softness is a debated issue. You can also increase the absorbency by air drying the towels outside.
Where softness is concerned, traditional fabric softener is best. You can find it in any laundry aisle and you definitely have your pick of brands, qualities, smells, and colors within the fabric softener category. Fabric softener definitely works and improves the softness of your towels, making them more comfortable and cozy, but as mentioned above, its relation to the absorbency of the towel is not entirely clear. (Also remember that the softness and absorbency of the towels is dependent on its initial condition—better quality towels will last longer and maintain their initial integrity.)
There are definitely ways you can avoid the lack of absorbency issue and the lack of softness issue, however do be aware that you might have to sacrifice one for the other (not completely, but a little bit).
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