how to keep towels fluffy and soft written on image showing red towels

Few things compare with that glorious feeling of having your skin wrapped in a fluffy, soft, cozy towel after a shower or a long relaxing bath. Everyone loves the touch and texture of a brand-new towel, especially if it is of high-quality fabric and weaving. At the other end of the scale, few things we dread more than seeing how our plushy comfortable towels become stiffer, thinner, and looking / feeling more like sandpaper. In this article, we will teach you how to keep towels fluffy and soft for longer times to prolong the pamper.

How to Keep Towels Fluffy and Soft: Preliminary Care Rules

stack of four white soft plush bath towels

Unfortunately, even the most luxurious of bamboo bath towels become worn and damaged. Sometimes they also get an unpleasant smell, no matter how hard we try to care for them. Hard water, oils and dirt, damp environments, and improper use and washing are all factors that contribute to your gorgeous towels’ slow but sure demise.

The first step in any treatment is prevention. This is why we will begin with some towels’ care rules to avoid them getting a bad smell and prevent them from wearing out too soon. Here are the main things you should know and do:

  • Do not use bath towels more than twice before you wash them. Make sure they get fully dry in between two uses. For face and hand towels the rule is to change them after each use. It is time and resources consuming, indeed, but in this way, you do not allow bacteria to accumulate and ruin the looks, the feel, and the smell of your towels.
  • Never toss your towels and other laundry in the basket and forget about them for days. Once you decided you want to wash your towels, get them into that washing machine and wash them.
  • If you have extra-dirty towels, prewash them. Use 1/2 cup baking soda in a wash and then re-wash them.
  • Do not hang more towels on top of each other in the bathroom. The ones at the bottom will not have enough air and space, thus entertaining bacteria and fabric damage.
  • Store the towels so they are not overcrowded in a cabinet or shelf. Make sure there are zero chances of mold development in that particular storage place.

Washing and Drying Towels for Fluff and Softness: The Conventional Method

set of 6 white hand towels

One rule of thumb is to avoid letting dirty and damp towels over-stack in the laundry basket or the washing machine. Now that we get ready to wash the towels, let’s see the main rules and best practices on how to keep your towels fluffy and soft.

  • Do not stuff the towels in the machine. Make sure your towels have enough room inside and are not stuffed together. You either wash a few towels on their own, or use small-medium laundry loads. Other clothes can wear down the towels’ fabric (due to zippers, buttons etc.), so it is better to wash and rinse multiple loads of large towels one at a time.
  • Use hot wash water and cold rinse water. Hot water makes sure all oils, grime, dirt and bacteria leave the towels properly. In addition, it loosens up the fibers and allow excess detergent to wash away. Cold water for rinsing contracts the towel fibers, avoiding their clumping. Make sure you read the labels and wash the towels with color restrictions in mind.
  • Get the towels out of the machine immediately after the cycle finishes. Alternatively, at least, do not let them stay wet in the machine for more than two hours, as bacteria will rampage quickly.
  • Use less detergent. Even liquid detergent tends to build up in the fibers, leading to your towels’ loss of fluffiness, softness and absorbency. Your machine will cleanse the towels easier and you will save some money in the process.
  • Get an extra rinse cycle. If you want to make sure all the detergent, grime, and residues are washed away, offer the towels an extra rinse cycle in cold water.
  • Cut back on fabric softeners. While these products allow for fluffiness, softness, and fragrance on the short term, they contain plenty of substances that actually keep the residues, grime, and excess detergent embedded in the fabric. In time, your towels will look and feel stiff.
  • Cut back on tumble-drying. Tumble dryers, like softeners, have a short-term positive effect on the plushy look and feel of your towels. Nevertheless, repeated tumble-drying wears down the fabric. Use lower heats and lower speeds for the tumble dryer. Alternate line drying with tumble-drying.
  • Cut back on dryer sheets. The same idea applies: in time, dryer sheets will “tan” the towels, even if the short-term effects are on the softening side.
  • Try to dry your towels in fresh air as many times as you can. Hang them straight or in loose folds and secure them with clothespins to prevent stiff creases. Air-drying will make your towels smell and feel natural and fresh.

The more you care for your towels, the longer you will enjoy their texture, looks, smell, and absorbency. Do not let them accumulate dirt, do not crowd them together in the basket or washing machine, wash and rinse them carefully, dry them so they get all fluffy again.

While these rules and tips should be enough to keep your towels, bath sheets and even bathrobes in perfect shape, we have some extra tricks for you if you want to take things up a notch.

Washing and Drying Towels for Fluff and Softness: The Less Conventional Methods

set of 12 white baby washcloths

Do you want your towels to look fluffy, feel soft, and smell like heaven for a very long while? It’s time to take a look at some unconventional methods of keeping them brand new!

  • Replace fabric softener with white vinegar. Regular household white vinegar pulls away the soapy residues in fabric, cleanses oils and grime, and combats the hard water deposits stuck in the fibers of your towels. Add ½ cup during the first rinse cycle and ¼ cup if you program a second rinse cycle. After a few washes, you will notice your towels are softer and fluffier.
  • Add baking soda to the detergent. Baking soda loosens up fibers and cleans off any chemicals, residues, hard water deposits, oils or grime. It also removes all bad smells from your towels, even if you forgot them in your gym bag or left them in a damp pile on your bathroom floor. Mix ½ cup of baking soda with your normal amount of detergent and let it do its job.

NOTE: Do not use baking soda and vinegar at the same time for the same washing machine load. These household ingredients react together and the result will have no good effect on your towels. You can use the baking soda for the first complete wash cycle and use vinegar for the extra-rinse standalone cycle.

  • Throw in some balls. When you load your towels in the washing machine and/or dryer, toss some commercial dryer balls or clean new tennis balls. The balls hitting and circulating together with the towels in the machine will “work out” the fabric therefore reducing stiff spots.
  • Use some Borax to reduce hard water damage. Borax reduces the mineral content in hard water and leaves you with softer towels, as there will be less minerals and residue buildup in the towels’ fabric.

Coming Full Circle: Folding and Storing Your Towels for Maximum Softness

white oversized bath sheet on wooden surface

Any laundry process really ends with the folding and storing of clothes and towels. As we said in the beginning, one way to keep your towels soft and fluffy is to make sure they are stored and preserved in a safe and non-creasing manner. Let’s see a few more tips on folding and storing towels:

  • Use very loose folds to avoid creasing;
  • Loosely roll the towels instead of folding them in thirds or squares;
  • Store folded towels on a shelf or in a cabinet side by side, as if you would display books, instead of stacking them up. This way, the top towels will not flatten the towels on the bottom of the stack.
  • Throw some desiccant packets in between the towels to remove any leftover dampness and thus lowering the risk of mold or bacteria evolution inside the cabinet.

We hope that now you know even more things about how to keep towels fluffy and soft. If you have other tips to share or tricks up your sleeve that might help others, feel free to share them with our soft towels-loving community!



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