How to Make a Towel Soft Again After Heavy Use?

How to Make a Towel Soft Again After Heavy Use?

Wrapping yourself in a plush, soft towel after enjoying a hot shower feels like a warm hug. It’s one of those little joyous moments of our lives that we all cherish.

However, our soft towels begin to lose their plush and fluffy properties due to heavy use, friction, and harsh chemicals of the detergents. Not just the regular towels, even the premium-quality, luxury towels become scratchy and less absorbent after extensive use and washing.

Lucky for you, the following article shares the secret tips and tricks to restore the softness and absorption capacity of the towels.

Reasons Behind Towel Losing Its Soft Touch

The towels become crusty, rough, and flat due to the build-up comprising:

  • Powder detergent and fabric softener residue
  • Soap chemicals
  • Skin flakes
  • Water minerals
  • Body oils

Moreover, drying the soft towels on a high heat makes them hard while losing their absorbency.

The minerals from hard water remain in the towel fibers even after proper washing. It’s important to note that hard water contains different minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Sadly, 85% of America's water is hard water formed by gypsum, chalk, and limestone deposits.

Hence, the chances are higher that you’ll be using hard water to wash the towels, which is not at all acceptable.

The good news is correctly loading the washing machine and selecting an appropriate washing temperature allows you to retain the softness and plush feel of the towels.

Effective Ways To Keep Towels Soft

If you follow the methods discussed in the below guide, we bet you can keep your towels soft for a longer time.

Always Begin with Softness

Of course, you can only retain the plush properties of an initially soft towel. Not only that, but a good-quality towel guarantees a longer shelf life. That’s why it’s essential to buy soft towels which are dense, highly absorbent, and most importantly, made of premium-quality cotton.

Another deciding factor while buying a towel is its weight. It’s because a denser towel with more weight ensures a cozy and luxurious feel. That’s why it’s better to select a towel with a minimum weight of 500 grams per square meter to enjoy an opulent feel after a shower.

For example, you can buy the Mizu soft towels made of authentic bamboo cotton to guarantee durability and five times more absorption than the weight. Not only that, but the natural silver fibers prevent 99% of bacterial growth that leads to an unpleasant odor that remains in the towels even after washing.

Lastly, the solvatochromic dye strips turn red from blue to indicate it’s time to wash the Mizu towels.

Correct Use of Washing Machine

Let’s start with the basics and understand how to correctly use the washer to keep the towels soft for a longer time.

The first rule is to shake the towels before running the washing cycle to retain their softness. Shaking the towels opens up the fibers and allows the laundry soap to sink deep in the pores for thorough cleaning.

Next, always wash the towels separately to the colored fabric. This way, you can prevent the towels from absorbing the loose dyes released by the colorful clothes.

Many people commit the mistake of washing the new towels with the old ones. It’s because mixing different towels leads to transferring colors between the towels, which you should prevent at any cost.

Furthermore, never overload the washer with towels. You’ll end up putting more strain on the washer, leaving less or no room for the detergent and dirt rinsing out from the towels. Not only that, but it clumps the towels together and forms moisture pockets that make the towels stiff and crunchy.

Alternatively, you can make your towels all fluffed up if you give them ample space in the drum to circulate, breathe, and rinse. The same rule applies to the dryer to properly dry and fluff the towels.

For example, you can easily wash seven bath towels in a standard front-loading washer. Additionally, the top-loading machine has an enhanced capacity to wash ten bath towels in a single cycle.

You should finish off just like you started. It means you must shake the towels to enhance the softness once the drying cycle is complete. Again, shaking the towel loosens the fibers to make it fluffy.

Correct Amount of Laundry Soap

Using suggested or more detergent doesn’t guarantee more and better cleaning. Instead, it’s wise to stay on the lighter or lesser side of the recommended detergent amount and allow the machine to rinse out the detergent quickly. As a result, there will be minimal or no residue on the soft towels if you don’t use excessive powder or liquid detergent.

Moreover, you should be mindful while selecting the detergent. A bath towel can trap bacteria and body soil while pat drying yourself.

That’s why you should select a detergent containing enzymes such as protease, cellulase, and amylase. These enzymes effectively break down the stains and other body oils trapped in the towel fibers.

Similarly, you can also buy a eucalyptus-based laundry soap to keep the towels fluffy. Not only that, but the eucalyptus protects the towel fibers, thus keeping the colors fresh and bright even after numerous washes.

A pro tip: It’s recommended not to use bleach; it can permanently damage the towel fabrics and colors.

Also read: How Many Bath Towels Do You Need for a Baby? And How to Properly Wash Them

Perfect Washing Temperature

Not all the towels are the same. That’s why they require different washing treatments. Therefore, reading the labels and washing instructions is essential before throwing the towel in the washer.

Using Vinegar

One of the most effective ways to soften the towels is to use vinegar. The first step is to load the washing machine with the towels and adjust the setting to the sanitize cycle, or you can set the temperature to hot water.

The next step is to add one cup of vinegar to the laundry soap compartment. However, if the washer doesn’t have a designated area for the detergent, you can simply add the vinegar to the drum before loading the machine with towels.

Vinegar serves a multi-purpose role by removing the detergent residue, which makes the towel stiff. In addition to that, it restores the absorbency of the towels and their plush feel. Lastly, it efficiently removes the unpleasant odor inside the washer, which is excellent.

A pro tip: You shouldn’t use any detergent or fabric softener while using vinegar.

Next, you should let the washer complete the rinse and spin cycle. Once the cycle is complete, it’s time to rerun the machine. 

However, you can add one cup of baking soda instead of vinegar this time. Again, you don’t need to add any detergent or fabric softener and let the washer complete the cycle with hot water.

Lastly, you can use the high heat option or sanitize cycle to dry the towels. What happens is that vinegar and baking soda remove the residue and build-up from the towel- thus reviving the absorption, freshness, and fluffy feel. However, keep in mind not to use vinegar and baking soda in the same washing cycle as it won’t make the towels soft.

If you want to keep the towels in the longer run, you can use this method once a month or whenever you feel them hard and dry.

Is it Time to Ditch the Fabric Softener?

Without any doubt, yes. Using excess fabric softener makes the towels scratchy similar to using higher amounts of laundry soap. Also, the silicon present in the fabric softener can make the towels water repellent.

Overusing the fabric conditioner builds up chemicals over time, thus forming a coat over the towel fibers. In addition, it severely affects the absorption capacity of the towel.

That’s why it’s better to switch to vinegar and baking soda to make the towel soft and fresh. However, add a very small amount of fabric conditioner if you really need to use it.

Using Tennis Balls or Dryer Balls

After loading the washer with towels, you can place a few tennis balls and dryer balls inside. As the balls bounce inside, they remove the lumps to restore the fluff and softness of the towels.

What About the Drying Method?

It’s better not to dry the towels on the radiator as this drying method makes them rough. Furthermore, you can alternate between tumble drying and line drying to retain the softness of the towels.

Overusing the tumble dry settings can make the towel fabric thin with time. To prevent wear and tear of the towel fabric, you should select a lower setting with lesser heat.

On the other hand, line drying in the sunlight keeps the towels fresh without leaving any trapped moisture within the towel fibers. Lastly, the ultraviolet (UV) rays can help kill bacteria, which is great.

The trick is to partially line dry the towel and then finish off using the cool setting of the tumble dryer.


You can’t discard the bath towels frequently as buying the new ones certainly cost hundreds of bucks. However, you can enhance the longevity of the soft towels by following the washing and drying methods discussed above.

The key is to buy premium-quality cotton towels such as Mizu and use the washing techniques shared in this guide to keep the towels soft and fresh.

You may also like: How to Get Gym Smells Out of Towels?


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