Why Are Towels Hard After Washing?

September 30, 2014 / in

Imagine this: You’ve spent a long week drying people off, absorbing all the residue that comes from regular exposure to oil and dirt. At the end of it all, what you really need is a warm soak and some gentle care. Instead you get:

  • An overload of harsh detergent that strips you of your natural softness and sticks around long after the wash;
  • Fabric softener that weighs you down with silicon;
  • A cold rinse that’s skimpy on water; and
  • A rough tumble in a dryer that’s way too hot.

I don’t know about you, but if I went through all that, I’d be more than a little rough around the edges. Yet that’s what we subject our towels to every time we wash them. So do you really have to ask: “Why are towels hard after washing?”

Towel Therapy: Recovering From the Hard Life

Towels are hard after washing because they build up soapy residue and are over-dried. Here’s the good news: With a few simple tricks, you can restore your towels to their original softness and help ensure that they never go scratchy again.

  • Use warm water. When you raise the water temperature just a bit (around body temperature is best), detergent will dissolve much better, leaving your towels virtually residue-free.
  • Go easy on the detergent. Another way to reduce the threat of residue is to cut back on the detergent you pour in. Most detergents will get your towels just as clean with less than the recommended amount, but won’t leave your towels hard after washing. So dial it back and find the ratio that works for you.
  • Try a little vinegar + baking soda. Fabric softeners contain silicon that makes towels water repellent, so they won’t get as good a wash. We prefer a more natural approach to softening towels. Try pouring one cup of white vinegar to your load every six weeks or so. You can also mix half a cup of baking soda with your normal amount of detergent, to loosen up fibers and clean off any chemicals or grime.
  • Reduce your load. Having too many towels in your washer at once means there won’t be enough room to rinse out all the dirt and detergent. Overloading the dryer is also bad news; without enough air to properly fluff the fabric, you’ll wind up with stiff, matted towels. Stick to about two or three bath towels at a time, along with hand towels and washcloths.
  • Play ball. Throwing a few unused tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer helps remove lumps while softening and fluffing your towels. Think of it as a well-deserved massage for your hard-working towels.
  • Ease off on the tumble drying. Tumble drying might seem like a good idea, but too much heat can damage the integrity of cotton, making your towels hard. Try a lower setting, or alternate between air drying and tumble drying. If you prefer line drying, shake the towels out afterwards to fluff them up, or throw them in the dryer on a cool setting for additional softness.

Now you know why your towels are hard after washing. More importantly, you know how to keep your luxurious Turkish towels at their fluffy best. Imagine how much better they’ll treat you once they’re given the TLC they deserve.

For more tips on bringing out the best in your towels, visit our towel care section.


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