There’s nothing like the freshness and softness of a new towel. Each time you bring one home, there’s the hope that it will never become frayed, stiff and dull. There’s so much potential…but the truth is, without some effort, that new towel is destined for the land of visible wear and tear. How do you keep it soft and fluffy? If you think the secret lies in loading up on fabric softener, you may be barking up the wrong tree. In reality, a few simple changes can make a big difference for your towels. Keep reading for details…
*Photos and styling by Kate Simmons for Decoist
Add Vinegar to Your Wash
The soft, plush quality of new towels can be compromised by the over-use of laundry detergent. And fabric softener! Over time, these laundry substances build up on towels, causing them to stiffen. How do you strip away caked-on detergent?…
By adding vinegar to the rinse cycle! Distilled white vinegar, to be exact. One cup is all it takes. Seriously, skip the fabric softener and opt for vinegar, which will strip away the built-up detergent and restore the towels’ softness.
Another idea: try skipping the detergent altogether and simply use vinegar instead from time to time. You can even pour the vinegar directly over the towels before starting the wash cycle. After all, we often use way more detergent than needed. About that…
Practice Good Laundry Habits
When it comes to doing laundry, it’s easy to operate on automatic pilot. We fill the cap to the brim with detergent, we pile in as many items as we can, then we transfer them to the dryer and blast them with heat. By paying more attention to how we launder our towels, we can prolong their life.
Use less detergent. This means using less than the recommended dose on purpose! Give your towels some room in the washer rather than cramming in as many as possible. Less is more. If you tumble dry your towels, don’t blast them on high heat. In fact, consider line drying your towels from time to time to spare them the harshness of life in the dryer! Yes, it takes more time to make these changes. But nobody said keeping towels soft was easy!
Use Baking Soda
In addition to changing your laundry habits and adding vinegar to the wash, you can incorporate baking soda into your laundry routine! It has a similar cleansing and softening effect to vinegar, and it also has the benefit of being an odor remover. In other words, it’s a win-win!
To get the job done, add half a cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. If you’ve already washed your towels with vinegar, you can even rewash them using the baking soda instead of detergent. Simply pour the baking soda over the towels and go!
A Trick for Fluffing Towels
So you’re good to go on the softness, but how about the fluff?! Have you heard of the tennis ball trick? Adding one CLEAN ball to the dryer will help fluff your towels. The extra motion created by the tennis ball is the key.
But if you’ve ever opened up a pack of new tennis balls, you may have noticed that they can have a strong smell…which you might not want to transfer to your towels. If you prefer, you can purchase some dryer balls (like these) that are made especially for softening laundry, improving airflow in the dryer, and reducing static.
Are you ready to try these towel tricks at home? While no one thing will restore a worn-out towel to its original softness, over time these practices can make a difference and preserve the softness and fluffy-ness of a towel that still has some life in it! Then you can turn your attention to the fun stuff…like infusing your powder room with spa style!