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Why Do Towels Get Stiff After Washing

Laundry Tips: Why Do Towels Get Stiff After Washing?

Do you ever wonder “why do towels get stiff after washing”? It seems like a mystery to many people, but there is actually a logical explanation for it. Learn the science behind why this happens and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. Stay tuned for some helpful tips on how to keep towels soft and fluffy!

Why Do Towels Get Stiff After Washing?

Ready to learn why your towels are stiff after washing and how to get them soft again? Let’s get into it, starting with common mistakes.

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

  1. Tossing wet towels into a hamper: This is a big no-no! Leaving your wet towels in a pile will only make them stiffer and more difficult to dry.
  2. Not using enough or using too much detergent: If you don’t use enough detergent, your towels won’t be able to break down the oils and dirt that are clinging to them. Also using too much detergent or softener can leave a residue that will make them less soft.
  3. Overloading your washer: When you stuff your washer too full, your towels won’t have enough room to move around and they won’t come out as clean.
  4. Letting wet towels sit in the washer: This is similar to leaving them in a hamper. If you let wet towels sit in the washer for too long, they will start to mildew and will become stiff.
  5. Adding softener: We don’t recommend adding fabric softener to your towels. The softener can actually coat the fibers of your towels and make them less absorbent. Try wool balls instead!

how to wash towels to keep them soft

Make Old Towels Soft with These Tips

Now you have the answer to “why do towels get stiff after washing”! Let’s get them back to being soft with these tips.

  1. Wash your towels with warm water: Warm water will help to break down any oils or dirt that is clinging to your towels. This is different for white towels which stay brighter with hot water.
  2. Use less detergent: Using less detergent will prevent your towels from getting coated in a soapy residue. You may need to experiment to find the right amount for your washing machine. The best detergent for towels would be a medium-strength natural detergent.
  3. Add vinegar to your wash cycle: Vinegar is a natural fabric softener. Add ½ cup of vinegar to your wash cycle to soften your towels.
  4. Use wool balls: Wool balls are a great alternative to fabric softeners. Add a few wool balls to your wash cycle and your towels will come out soft, without residue.
  5. Fluff up your towels before drying: Take your towels out of the washer and give them a good shake to fluff up the fibers. This will help them to dry faster and prevent them from getting stiff.
  6. Dry your towels on regular settings: Wash on the regular or automatic settings so it’s hot enough to help get rid of bacteria. Be sure not to overdry because that can damage the fibers of your towels and make them less soft.

best wash cycle for towels

Towel Washing Instructions

If you’ve followed those steps your towels should be noticeably softer! We have a helpful guide to keep your towels soft as you wash in the future.

  1. Separate the white towels from the colored ones. This will help avoid discoloration!
  2. For colors, the best wash cycle for towels is in warm water with detergent and color-safe bleach.
  3. Wash white towels in hot water with non-chlorine bleach and detergent.
  4. Use fabric softener sparingly, maybe every other load. We’d recommend wool balls or vinegar as more natural methods.
  5. Don’t add extra detergent to smelly towels. Add a half cup of baking soda whenever your towels smell musty.
  6. Shake your towels before drying to fluff them up.
  7. Make sure your towels are fully dry to avoid a musty smell but make sure not to overdry.

And there you have it! With these tips, you should never have to ask “why do towels get stiff after washing” again and you should have soft, fluffy towels that are ready to use. While you’re here, take a look at our other laundry tips and tricks like the best way to wash a comforter and our laundry tips for pet owners. And if you’re having any issues with your washer, get in touch with the expert washer and dryer repair team at Callahan’s!