5 Ways To Make Your Towels Soft Again

December 19, 2023

Reviewed by
Suze Dowling

5 Ways To Make Your Towels Soft Again

Life’s basics should enhance your everyday experiences. We understand that something as simple as a soft and comfortable towel is its own form of self-care, elevating even the relaxation of a warm bath.

But over time, towels can lose their fluffiness and become rough and stiff. If your favorite towels have lost their softness, don’t fret — we've got you covered! The following simple and practical tips will help you make your towels soft again, ensuring that your post-bath experience remains delightful.


1. Be Mindful Of Washing Techniques

One secret to keeping towels soft and fluffy is how they’re laundered. Adopting the following washing guidelines lets you keep your towels in top-notch condition.


Avoid Overcrowding

When laundering your towels, it’s important to avoid overcrowding the washing machine. This prevents unnecessary friction and helps the towels maintain softness throughout each wash.


Choose the Right Temperature

Washing your towels in warm water instead of hot is ideal. Hot water can damage the fibers, leading to a rough texture. If you have colored towels, washing them in cold water also helps preserve their vibrant hues.


Gentle Cycle Is Your Friend

Opting for a gentle washing cycle ensures your towels are cared for. This cycle minimizes stress on the cotton fibers, preserving the softness and longevity of the towels.


Skip Fabric Softeners

Although fabric softeners may seem tempting, they can hinder your towels' absorbency and build up on the surface. Instead, consider using natural alternatives like white vinegar or baking soda for a gentle softening effect.


Go Easy on the Detergent

Most people are surprised to learn that they are using too much soap. Today’s high-efficiency washing machines use less water, making residue and build-up more common. Try using less detergent, aiming for about half the recommended amount for each wash.


Evaluate Your Water

If your home has hard water, which means it contains high mineral content like calcium and magnesium, you may need to take additional steps to ensure your towels remain soft and absorbent. Hard water leads to mineral buildup on towels, making them feel stiff and less luxurious. 

You can routinely add half a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycles to prevent this. Vinegar helps break down excess mineral deposits. You can also increase your detergent amount slightly, even though the general recommendation is to use less. This is because hard water decreases the effectiveness of laundry detergent.


Clean Your Washing Machine

Even the most diligent laundering techniques won’t be as effective if the washing machine isn’t clean. A washing machine with lots of residue and build-up will undoubtedly redeposit the minerals that make towels feel stiff. 

Make sure your washing machine can do its best by running a monthly cleaning cycle


2. Use the Ideal Drying Methods

Proper drying techniques are equally important to maintaining your towels' softness. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect texture.


Avoid Over-Drying

Over-drying your towels can lead to excessive heat exposure, making them stiff and scratchy. Instead, remove them from the dryer slightly before the cycle completes and allow them to air dry. This will help retain their softness.


Shake Them Out

After removing your towels from the dryer or line drying, give them a vigorous shake. This action fluffs the fibers, restoring their softness and making them cozy and inviting.


Line Dry When Possible

Whenever feasible, opt for the natural method of line drying your towels. The gentle breeze and sunlight will give your towels a fresh, crisp feel while maintaining their softness.


3. Explore Natural Softening Agents

While proper washing and drying techniques are essential, using natural softening agents can further enhance the softness of your towels. Consider the following effective options.


White Vinegar

Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your towel wash can work wonders. Vinegar is a natural acid that helps break down detergent build-up, leaving your towels softer and more absorbent. Don't worry about any lingering vinegar smell — it dissipates during the rinse cycle.


Baking Soda

Sprinkling a small amount of baking soda into the wash cycle can also help neutralize detergent residue and soften your towels. This multitasking ingredient also helps eliminate any unpleasant odors that may have lingered on your towels.


Wool Dryer Balls

Replace your fabric softeners with wool dryer balls for soft and fluffy towels. These balls create space between the towels, allowing warm air to circulate evenly, reducing drying time. As a bonus, they also help decrease static and prevent towel clumping during drying.


4. Give Them a Massage

Sometimes, your towels need a bit of TLC to restore their softness. 

After washing your towels, lay them flat on a clean surface. Starting from one corner, gently twist the towel in opposite directions, section by section. 

This twisting motion helps loosen the fibers and restore their softness. Once fully twisted, shake out the towel to fluff up the fibers. You'll be amazed at how this simple massage can revitalize your towels.


5. Rejuvenate With a Vinegar Soak

A vinegar soak can be a game-changer if your towels have lost their former plushness and feel particularly worn. Here's how to do it:

  • Fill the Tub: Fill your bathtub with warm water.
  • Add White Vinegar: Pour approximately two cups of white vinegar into the water, ensuring that you have enough to submerge your towels fully.
  • Soak and Swish: Place your towels into the vinegar solution and swish them around, ensuring that each towel is fully immersed. Allow them to soak for about 20 minutes. During this time, the vinegar will work its magic to remove residual build-up, leaving the fibers softer and more absorbent.
  • Rinse and Dry: After the soaking period, rinse your towels thoroughly with clean water to remove any vinegar smell. Gently squeeze out excess water, then hang or tumble dry them. It's best to air dry in sunlight whenever possible, as natural drying enhances the freshness and softness of your towels.

By following these natural methods, you can restore your towels' softness and plush feel. Feel free to experiment and find the best combination for you and your towels. 


Bonus Tip: Opt for Quality

While there are plenty of ways to soften up old towels, you can extend the life of your towels by purchasing high-quality towels from the beginning.

Here are a couple of options we recommend:

  • Onsen Plush Towels: Our plush line of towels is made from Turkish-grown Aegean cotton, making these towels some of the softest available.
  • Onsen Waffle Towels: Our waffle towels are made from 100% American-grown Supima cotton, meaning they are 45% stronger than other cotton towels and will last longer.

The Bottom Line

Your towels play a significant role in your quest for ultimate comfort and a touch of luxury. Onsen believes life's basics should enhance your experiences rather than add unnecessary worries.

Remember, caring for your towels lies in simplicity and consistency. By utilizing natural softening agents, giving your towels a massage, and indulging in a vinegar soak, you can bring back the softness and plushness of your towels.

Shop our towels to experience the comfort and luxury you crave after a long day.


Choosing the Best Washing Machine | Consumer Reports

How to Clean a Washing Machine | Tom’s Guide

How to Tell If You Have Hard Water; 11 Signs of Hard Water in Your Home | Solutions for Water

Reliable and Scientific Tips for Cleaning With Vinegar | NSF

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