If your towels could talk, they would tell you these 6 secrets*.

1.    You’re not imagining it – they DO feel softer in the stores.  And, It’s not your washing machine or detergent that caused the softness to go away.  Brand new towels often have a coating left on their fibers from the manufacturing process.  That extra-silky feeling fades after a few washes.

2.    Don’t think adding more fabric softener will bring the softness back.  In fact, you should eliminate fabric softener and just stick to detergent when washing towels.  Using it, or dryer sheets, is like putting too much conditioner in your hair.  The extra coating keeps the towels from absorbing water, so it takes you longer to dry.

3.    And, they will thin with age as they are washed over the years.  When you clean out the lint trap and see all the lint left behind when you wash the towels, that’s evidence of the towels losing cotton after every wash.   They only have about a 2-3 year life expectancy of plushness.

4.    You can fluff them up a bit with vinegar.  If your towels feel scratchy, put a half cup of vinegar in your washer’s fabric softener dispenser.  It will remove any extra detergent that latched onto the towel and open up the fibers, making them feel softer.  Since we suggested not using fabric softener, you can mix the vinegar with a few drops of colorless essential oil to make towels smell nice.

5.    Keeping your towels in the bathroom may give them a musty odor.  When not in use, store them in a hall closet.  A bathroom gets steamy so they have a tough time staying completely dry – which can give them that odor.

6.    Be careful to rinse your mouth and face thoroughly before reaching for a towel.  Whitening toothpastes, facial cleansers, and other products can contain ingredients that may leave light spots on towels, just like bleach.  (I learned that lesson the hard way when my brown towel started to show orange spots – not a pretty combo).

Which secret above surprised you the most?  I didn’t know the fabric softener secret!  And I’m going to try the vinegar + essential oil trick next time!

– S.O