by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 1, 2016)
The root causes for the hardening of towels are usually such things as saturation with soap and detergent remains, or because of hard water. Luckily there are some ready solutions to counter these difficulties. By following these simple options for dealing with your hard towel problems you can extend the life and durability of your favorite towels.
The first thing that must be considered when trying to revitalize your fabric is what type of water do you have? If you have hard water in your area you should look into getting a water filter for your washing machine. It is not necessary to obtain one for the entire house, especially since those models run you up to $800 or more. A water filter that attaches to your washing machine will run on average around $60 and can be obtained at any hardware or home improvement store. Simply changing the "type" of water that a cloth is washed in can make a dramatic improvement on its softness.
The next step in the process for restoring your towels would be to breakup the residue left from the soaps and detergents. This basically boils down to needing to break up the caked on enzymes that are left by the cleaners. The first way to do this is to add a cup of vinegar to your washing cycle. Any type of vinegar will work, but to lower the "smell factor" associated with most types of vinegar, it is highly recommended to use white vinegar. Whatever residual odor is left by the vinegar is going to be taken out in the drying cycle.
Another way of breaking up the residual scum is to use some type of oxygenated cleaner. While this entails the purchase of yet another type of cleaner, it does help to get rid of the leftover stuff from earlier washes. To maximize the soap scum removing abilities of your washer, I would recommend the use of both of these options.
Finally, use multiple forms of fabric softener. Use both a liquid fabric softener during your washing cycles, as well as dryer sheets to increase the "fluffability" factor of your favorite towels. In fact, I would also recommend that for the first several drying cycles that you also increase the number of sheets that you use. Adding these additional softening agents to each stage of the leaning cycle ensures that the fabric is softened properly from its previous stiff form.
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