Tips for washing towels whilst keeping them soft and fluffy

No one wants to step out of the shower and into a hard, scratchy towel!

One of the best things about having a pamper session at home is wrapping up in a sumptuous towel that’s soft on the skin. It provides the perfect way to pat yourself dry, without causing any irritation.

But how exactly do you achieve that spa-like finish on your towels at home? 

If you’re struggling to maintain the original softness of your towels, keep reading this blog to find out how to wash them properly.

modern white bathroom with luxury towels draped over the free standing bath

Table of contents

How to wash towels at home

Why towels get hard

How to stop towels from smelling

Can towels go in the dryer?

What is the best way to store towels?

How to make the colour of towels last longer

How to wash towels at home

Many people make the mistake of bunging their towels into the washing machine and then putting them straight into the tumble dryer. Although yes, this may do the job of keeping them clean and dry, it does often mean that they lose their soft feel. 

You’ll make your towels last longer by taking advantage of proper washing and drying techniques. Take a look at some of these tips and tricks that many homeowners have tried and tested.

Washing towels with white vinegar

Did you know that white vinegar can give a soft, clean finish to towels?

White Vinegar is made up of properties that make it a great tool for cleaning many household items. Don’t let the smell put you off, as using it in your wash will result in softer towels. What’s more, any original white vinegar smell will fade after washing. 

Washing towels with white vinegar breaks down any built-up residue that fabric softeners can leave behind.

Here are some recommendations for using white vinegar to wash your towels:

  1. Use a hot cycle to wash your towels with a cup of white vinegar
  2. Don’t use any other fabric detergents, softeners or conditioners
  3. Dry your towels outside in the sun for extra freshness

Should you wash towels with fabric softener?

When you use white vinegar to strip towels of fabric softener, it begs the question of whether you should use it in the first place. 

A fabric softener may be great for keeping clothes and other laundry items smelling fresh and feeling soft but cloudlike towels may not be achieved with fabric softener. 

Most fabric softeners coat towels in an oily layer because of their ingredients. As it sticks to each fibre, the towel feels greasy and becomes less absorbent, which in turn causes more problems. 

For the best results when cleaning towels, avoid using fabric softener. Instead, use the white vinegar method to prevent any unwanted roughness.

However, if you’d prefer to use a fabric softener in your wash instead of white vinegar, use a small amount and finish drying in a tumble dryer to fluff up the towels instead. 

How often do you wash towels?

A study has shown that 46.8% of UK residents use their towels for one week before washing, whilst 9.4% of those surveyed said they go a full month!

However, it’s been suggested that this may not be the best practice. Experts recommend washing your towels after every 2-3 uses as leaving them too long can result in a build-up of mould, yeast and E. coli.

After drying yourself, the damp conditions of a towel are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Always lay your towel over a bar to dry fully to avoid this.

luxury white towels stacked next to bathroom sink with contemporary accessories

Do I wash towels on a hot or cold cycle?

Ever wondered what the ideal temperature to wash towels is?

When it comes to using either a hot or cold cycle, there are pros and cons for each. Most towels are made from cotton and can be washed on a cycle up to 60°C.

Using hot water is the most hygienic option, as this will ensure that the towels are cleaned thoroughly. High heat is more effective at removing dirt and breaking down any potential mould or bacteria. However, it isn’t necessarily the most eco-friendly option. 

Colder temperatures will extend towel life, keeping them as plush as possible. Washing towels at 30°C can also save up to three-quarters of energy, which is better for the environment and your bills.

For the best results, always make sure you check the towel’s care labels.

Now you know how to wash towels at home, let’s look at some more care tips that can help keep them fresher for longer.

Why towels get hard

Towels get hard when they have not been washed or dried appropriately. Improper care leads to that rough feeling, which can agitate the skin.

If you’re wondering why your towels are hard after being washed, the answer is simple. Too much laundry detergent and fabric softener can lead to a soapy residue that dries out. This can leave a waxy coating on the towel, which hardens when dried.

Towels need to be properly rinsed to prevent this from happening.

How to stop towels from smelling

When you think about the purpose of a towel, it helps you get dry after washing. So although you’ve washed away your odours in the bath or shower, what makes the towel smell?

You may think you wash your towels regularly enough, but their whiff may suggest  otherwise. Although you may try your hardest,  a less-than-fresh smell can still occur. Again, this may cause by a residue build-up that prevents the towel from absorbing water and being able to dry out properly, resulting in prolonged dampness. 

A combination of washing towels properly, using white vinegar and making sure they’re completely dry before folding or hanging will stop your towels from smelling.

Can towels go in the dryer?

Although hanging your towels out to dry on the line can help with freshness, the UK isn’t always blessed with good weather. Drying your towels in a tumble dryer is a suitable alternative, though there are a few tips to help keep them as fluffy as possible.

Avoid placing directly into a hot dryer as this may damage the fibres. Instead, drying at a cool temperature will help the towels last longer. 

To keep your towels soft, skip using dryer sheets. They contain oils similar to those found in fabric softeners and can result in hardness.

Once fully dried, remove the towels from the tumble dryer as quickly as possible. This way, they won’t be sat in a compact area, and you can shake the towels out to help keep them fluffy and soft. 

You’re now ready to neatly fold and store your towels before using them again.

modern bathroom in neutral colours showcasing how towels can be stored

What is the best way to store towels?

When it comes to towel storage, there’s no real right or wrong answer. Determining factors of how to store towels are the space you have and the aesthetic you’re looking to achieve.

A linen closet or storage cabinet will keep your towels out of the way and provide a minimalist and clean feel. However, a basket or open shelf allows you to grab fresh towels easily.

Many people also ask whether rolling or folding is better for the longevity of a towel. Again, this typically comes down to your individual preference.

Neatly folded towels result in a clean pile, which can be used as an attractive display feature. It can also help reduce wrinkles, which helps keep the towel’s overall fresh appearance.

Rolling your towels is a common approach applied by spas and hotels. So if you want that luxurious feel in your own home, this is the method for you. 

How to make the colour of towels last longer

Tired of seeing dull, lifeless towels hanging in your bathroom?

If you’re frequently buying new towels because the colour is no longer as bright and vibrant as it once was, you should keep these things in mind the next time you go shopping.

Whether you’re washing white or coloured towels, they can uphold a fresh and like-new appearance with a couple of simple tricks. Many of them have already been mentioned in this post!

Many household cleaning products and beauty cleansers contain various chemicals. If these make contact with the towels without being properly tended to, this can alter their overall appearance.

To prevent colours from running, always wash towels together based on appropriate colour groups. For example, never wash a red towel with a white one as the result could leave you feeling pink! Always wash darks and lights separately, and wash your towels on a different cycle to your clothing or bed linen.

Be sure not to use too much detergent, fabric softener or other liquids in the wash and keep it at a low temperature. 

Buy hotel-quality bath towels from The Fine Cotton Company

Now you’re armed with everything you need to know about keeping towels soft and fluffy, it’s time to treat yourself! Here at The Fine Cotton Company, we supply spa-like towels that allow you to upgrade your bathtime routine. Click the links below to shop our luxury collection of bathroom towels.

Luxury towels

Bright white towels

Children’s towels

Towel bundles

Personalised towels

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