best wash cycle for towels

How to Wash Towels to Keep Them Soft and Fluffy

We all love a soft and fluffy towel after a nice long hot shower. When you first buy them, they’re perfect, but they can get stiff and scratchy after using them for a while. Have you ever found yourself wondering how to wash towels to keep them soft and fluffy? Selecting an appropriate water temperature, shaking out towels before placing them in the dryer, and not over drying can benefit greatly. Use these simple care tips to help you wash your towels like a pro for ultimate softness.

Tips for How to Wash Towels to Keep Them Soft

If your bath towels used to be soft but are now stiff and scratchy after multiple washes, hold off on replacing them. Before enlisting a good washing machine repair professional, a few simple adjustments in your laundry routine may be able to solve the problem. Here’s how to soften towels in the wash and increase the life of your most cherished bath time accessory.

Common Problems from Washing Towels

While it’s important to know how to wash towels to keep them soft, keep in mind that the root cause of the issue may not always be apparent. First, let’s take a look at some common problems that might arise from regularly washing towels at home in your washing machine.

  • Foul musty odors
  • Stiff towel fibers
  • Increased shedding
  • Faded colors

Avoid These Towel Washing Mistakes

  1. Help reduce lint – Wash your towels before you use them for the first time to remove any chemicals used by the manufacturer and to cut down on future lint.
  2. Avoid musty odors – Instead of throwing them into a laundry hamper, hang your towels up to dry after each use to help prevent odors and mildew.
  3. Boost washer efficiency – Don’t overload your washing machine with heavy towels. Help your washer clean your towels as efficiently as possible by only filling ¾ of the way.
  4. Prevent overheating – Dry towels on the lowest heat setting possible to avoid tight, stiff towels. Too much heat can damage the individual cotton fibers.
  5. Cancel fabric softener – Fabric softeners leave residue behind, even after a good rinse cycle. Use wool dryer balls for increased air circulation and fluffier towels.

how to wash towels to keep them soft


Tips to Keep Your Towels Soft

In light of these common problems and mistakes, we’re going to show you how to keep towels soft and fluffy, for longer. Use these expert tips to determine the best wash cycle for towels and preserve their color, softness, and absorbency:

  1. Try warm water: Are you washing towels in cold water? Warmer water absorbs detergent more effectively, resulting in less residue on your towels. Try switching it up and use warm water for your next load for fluffier towels.
  2. Use fabric softener sparingly: Add fabric softener every 3 to 4 loads to keep towels fluffy, absorbent and limit residue left behind. You may also opt to use ½ cup white vinegar with every wash to soften towel fibers and lessen fading.
  3. Towels should be washed at various temperatures: White towels can be washed in hot water, but colored towels maintain their color best in warm water. While washing towels in cold water adequately cleans them, warmer temperatures effectively kill germs and bacteria.
  4. Wash towels separately from clothing: Dirt and bacteria can easily migrate from dirty clothes to a relatively clean towel. To keep them cleaner and fresher, wash towels separately from your clothing.
  5. Dry towels efficiently: Shake towels before placing them in the dryer to loosen their fibers. Dry on a low heat setting, checking to see if they’re fully dry at the end. Inadequate drying can leave towels damp and prone to mildew.

How to Wash Towels Correctly

These simple steps detail how to wash bath towels the right way with some additional tips to keep them looking their best.

What you will need:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Fabric softener or white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach or color-safe bleach (ex: “Oxi-Clean” oxygen whitener)
  • Wool laundry balls

Follow these steps to effectively wash your towels and keep them soft:

    1. Separate colored towels from white towels before loading.
    2. Wash white towels in hot water with detergent and non-chlorine bleach, as needed. The best wash cycle for towels with color uses warm water, detergent and color-safe bleach, as needed.
    3. Skip the fabric softener, or use it every 3 to 4 loads. Instead, soften towels with ½ cup of white vinegar with each wash if preferred.
    4. For foul smelling towels, wash first with just ½ cup of baking soda. Follow this with a full wash cycle using detergent.
    5. Shake towels before drying and add wool dryer balls to the dryer. This will speed up the drying process while also adding fluffiness.

Now that you know how to wash towels to keep them soft, take a look at the rest of our washer maintenance tips. The technicians at Oak Valley Appliance are washer repair professionals, so give us a call if you still have concerns about your washing machine performance after reading this step-by-step guide.

David lange

David Lange

In 1982 David went to work for his mom as a service technician and has been servicing appliances ever since. He is the owner of Oak Valley Appliance, an appliance repair company in Tehachapi, CA, with local techs also serving Lancaster, Ridgecrest, and surrounding areas.