Tried everything on my towels... :( They are still stiff

sharon620March 25, 2011

I have the Whirlpool Duet frontloader a few yrs ago and since then I have never had soft towels. I have been using tide liquid with softener, then I went to tide powder with softener, charlie's soap cycle after cycle and now just 1/4 cup of tide powder . They are really stiff.

What am I doing wrong? I have my electric dryer set on medium. High is too hot.

And I wash my towels with warm and rinse with cold. I have tried washing with cold and rinsing with cold and everything else.

That am I doing wrong :(

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1/4 cup seems like a a lot. I had the cousin of your machine and my towels always came out soft. Have you tried the extra rinse? Calgon to help soften the water? Are you over drying them in your dryer?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:58AM
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I had the same problem with my Duet Sport (no onboard heater), using liquid Tide HE and fabric softener. Since getting a new LG FL with a heater, I've been washing my towels on Sanitary, Water Plus and Extra Rinse and they come out nice, soft and fresh. I now use Sears powder detergent and fabric softener (sparingly).

My suggestion would be to wash them in the highest water temp you can with Extra Rinse. You may have to do it a few times before you see a marked improvement. I think hot water and thorough rinsing are the key.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:50AM
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I've had the same problem and I have a Bosch Nexxt 500.
I have a heater and wash on hot with extra rinse.

Someone on this board suggested going to the perma press cyle because it uses more water.

I also took the spin down one notch (which means they are taking longer to dry.) And, I am drying them on delicate.
They are a little better but still not how I like them.

I tried the purex crystals and I don't think they helped at all.
I wonder if it couldn't be the Tide.
Last week I washed a bunch of Pj's in Tide powder and they all came out really hard.
Usually I wash them in Gain or Clorox Green Works and they are nice and soft.
One detergent that I thought did make my towels softer was the Seventh Generation liquid. And, it seemed that if I used the full recommended amount, they were softer than if I cut back. Makes me wonder if there is a softener in that detergent.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 12:44PM
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Hmm, it may be the Tide detergent. From what I have read, it is really hard to rinse. I switched both the washer and the detergent at the same time and I was attributing the improvement in my towels to the new washer. But it may be the new detergent that is making the difference.

As to 7th Generation liquid, I think underdosing detergent is just as bad as overdosing it. If you underdose, the residual body oils and skin cells (I know, gross!!!!) on the towels will not wash away completely, making the towels stiff and smelly. If you overdose, excess detergent will deposit, making the towels stiff. So the key is to get the detergent dose just right. I think the problem with Tide is that it doesn't rinse well, so excess deposits in towels and makes them stiff.

People have been reporting great results on towels with Vaska. I don't use it for towels but I do use it for dark clothes and they do come out nice and soft. So you could try Vaska and see if it helps.

And yes, higher water level and extra rinse, always.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:02PM
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Nothing I've tried is better than Persil. A bit pricey but you may want to try it. If your towels are colored you want the Persil color detergent in the Megapearls or the blue liquid also for colors. This stuff really is the best of the best. Everything I wash with stuff comes out great. I use fragrance free downy softener as to preserve the smell of Persil and not add another one. Unfortunately the sent is all but gone when the clothes are dry. Bad because I like the smell of it so much, good because you know it rinsed well. No higher rinse levels or extra rinses required. I know it seems ridiculous to have to order expensive detergent from Germany to get soft towels. I know, It's just they have been at this front load thing much longer and have just about mastered the machines and the detergent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Persil

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Try This one!

Here is a link that might be useful: Persil

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Not saying this is correct or that my memory is 100% but I thought I had read in a thread that using hot water on towels wasn't advisable. Something about the cotton contracting and becoming hard over repeated washes. If that were true the water temp you are using seems right.

I'm not the most discerning laundry person but when I tried Persil (I bought a small bag) I didn't find any difference from my regular detergent (except scent) in terms of softness or cleanliness. We have very soft water though. No harm in trying - if you were only using it on towels the cost wouldn't be so prohibitive

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Persil (being formulated for Germany) is made to work in hard water. If someone has hard water they may find that Persil works better and rinses better.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:25AM
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My water hardness runs around 44 (PPM). However, I'm not sure how that ranks on average. Regardless, Persil is the only detergent that makes even my cheapest towels their softest regardless of softener use. I don't normally use softener on towels, so when I notice a difference it normally can only be attributed to detergent. I wash my towels on the Miele Extra White program which I think runs at 140 degrees F. Maybe that makes a differences? Hard to tell there are so many variables in how we and are machines do things it's almost impossible to pin point whats going on. Hell I'm still not sure why my machine does what it does sometimes..

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Well, i've got moderately hard water, a Bosch Nexxt 500 washer, and I've been using Persil on my towels and they are still hard and scratchy. Oh yeah, and I've been doing an extra rinse too. :(

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 2:02PM
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Kill the extra rinse, with Persil you don't need it.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 2:42PM
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This problem really is driving me crazy. Mieleforme, I just recently added the extra rinse with Persil - in the beginning I wasn't doing it but towels were still scratchy. This is making me nuts, because the rest of my laundry is fine, but the towels continue to be a problem. I even went so far as to replace all of my towels but I'm still back to scratchy. I do find that liquid detergents make my clothes feel softer than powders, but if I try to wash my towels in liquid I get mountains of suds - not the first time I wash with liquid, but with subsequent washes, which I think argues for a rinsing issue. Here are the detergents I've tried (with amounts used):
Tide he with bleach alternative (not quite up to lowest line in cap)
Tide Free liquid (same as above - not nearly as sudsy as reg Tide but still lots)
Tide with Downy powder (1/4 cup)
Tide he powder (1/4 cup)
Vaska (lowest cap line) - this is the best of the bunch so far, but still not great
Charlie's Soap (1 1/2 T)

I've tried vinegar rinses, which didn't make much difference. I've trying lowering spin speed in the washer, which again didn't make much difference.

I've read every thread I can find on here that pertains to this problem. I would love to find a solution. I do think that for my regular laundry that liquid detergents seem to give clothes a softer feel than powders, but I'm afraid of getting too many suds and having stinky build-up with towels. All of my other laundry is soft and clean. It's just the darn towels that make me crazy.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:34PM
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stbonner, I wonder if it's a machine issue.

With my previous Frigidaire FL there were several detergents I found left suds. I had to be very careful dosing and I always used an extra rinse.

Now with the Miele, those same detergents are not an issue at all. Why more suds in one machine and not another? I can't say but it must be something. I do notice that the Miele uses less water while washing which I think could contribute to fewer suds.

I can also state for sure that the Miele is rinsing better than my previous machine. Even using less detergent there was often a small amount of suds left on the glass after the final rinse. That has only happened twice in the Miele and both times were my fault for using too much detergent.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Try washing the towels in the hottest water your machine will produce. Do this for a couple cycles for the same towels, keeping at least one (matching, but unsed and clean) set aside as the baseline exemplar to compare with the hot water washed towels. It may take several washes to remove the buid-up you now have.

The idea suggested above that hot water would harm the fabric of all cotton towels is not correct. Hot water may fade the colors, but it will not harm the texture of cotton fabric. Think about it: you can iron cotton fabric, without damaging it, at temps you could never achieve in water.

Drying inadequately rinsed towels on hot temps can make them feel scratchy as the soap residue kind of bakes on.

Do you happen to use any of those liquid body soap products? It's possible you are rubbing off some of that on to the towels each time you dry your body. Also if you shampoo daily, hair care stuff may also be the problem residue.

If all your laundry except your towels is coming out fine, then the most likely culprit is something particular to the towels themsleves. If you have completely changed out the towels to different ones and are still having the same results, then it's not the fabric but something related to how the towels are used or how they are being washed.

Using very hot water for towels seems like the best first shot. Not only might it solve your scratchiness problem, but towels are one of the things that most need the extra boost of sanitization provided by hotter water.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 4:49PM
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Livebetter, you're probably right about it being the machine, and I'm thinking it is a rinsing issue too. For instance, I have a terrible time getting Tide to rinse out of my clothes. Tide powder leaves my clothes noticeably more stiff than if I use any other detergent. Interestingly, Cheer powder rinses nicely and leaves clothes soft. Tide Free liquid rinses better than regular Tide liquid, for some reason. So Tide powders and liquids other than Tide Free are on my "don't" list.

Lately I've been using Costco Environmentally Friendly liquid and Greenworks liquid, both with good results and both seem to rinse well. Persil looks like it rinses well, but towels are still stiff when I use it. I haven't tried the Greenworks, Costco, or Tide Free liquid with the towels because I've been afraid of sudsing issues, but I should probably try the Costco and the Greenworks to see how they do. I'm afraid of the Tide Free because of the mountains of suds I had with scented Tide liquids. I was afraid my machine was going to be ruined, I had so many suds. I should probably also try the Cheer powder, too. I have been using mainly detergents with bleach alternative since my towels are white, but I should probably worry more about stiffness and less about whiteness.

I do love my washer, except for this one issue. I'll definitely look at a Miele when I need another washer, but I hope that isn't for a very long time as my current machines are only four years old.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 4:52PM
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I have to agree with liodendron: extra hot water and thorough rinsing will eventually soften the towels. I've been washing my towels on Sanitary with an extra rinse in my LG front loader for the last 4 or 5 months and the difference is remarkable. They are softer and fresher than ever. Hot temps will not damage cotton. The colors may fade, but there is no damage. As I said before, I use Sears powder detergent with just a bit of liquid fabric softener in the last rinse. I used to use Tide liquid, and my prior washer did not have an onboard heater so the towels never really got washed in hot water (I have a looong water pipe between the water heater and the washer). My towels used to be stiff, scratchy and smelly, just after the first use. Now they are soft, supple and fresh. Again, extra hot water and thorough rinsing will make a huge difference but you need to give it time, 3-5 washes at least before you get rid of all the excess gunk in them.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:57PM
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I gave up on Tide detergent. We have a water softener and I could not get Tide powder to rinse out of my laundry. I washed one load of towels 3 times without detergent and a couple of extra rinse cycles before I could get the Tide residue out. Now I use Vaska on my towels. Still not really fluffy, but no longer stiff. I have a Samsung washer and dryer, new in January.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:55AM
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stbonner, you know what I realized? My previous Frigidaire did not do fast interim spins while rinsing. I'm sure that's a big reason the Miele rinses better.

I most often use the sensitive setting on the Miele and I get pretty high speed spins between washing and rinsing. I assume that removes more detergent. Makes sense.

What do your spins look like when it's rinsing?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 1:49PM
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One word... VASKA. This detergent cleans relatively well and leaves clothes fluffy and soft without any feeling of residue or the sometimes "greasy" feeling of fabric softeners. You can find it at and Albertsons. Give it a try.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 2:01PM
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Livebeter, my spins between rinses are really fast, but I only have two rinse-fills. I've basically been camped out in front of my washer for the past couple of days, watching bubbles on the window and trying to determine which detergents rinse more easily. Do you know how many rinses a Miele has? I'm wondering if two rinses is on the low side of normal. I can get to 3 rinses with the extra rinse feature.

I'm getting rid of my Tide (my kids will be more than happy to help me out with this) and will try using detergents that rinse more easily. So far, I've identified Cheer powder, Greenworks liquid, and Vaska as easy rinsers, along with Persil Megapearls (but I don't want to keep buying this one because of the cost).

Also, when washing a load of just towels I noticed that the towels seem to absorb all of the water in the machine. I see no water at all in the bottom of the machine during the wash or rinse cycles. In normal laundry loads I can usually see just a tiny bit of water. I'm not sure what I can do about this, as I have no water level options. I guess I could try washing on "Hot - Permanent Press" and see if I get more water for towels. Who knew washing towels could be so complicated?:)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 2:30PM
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Thank you your response everyone!
Upon everything I have and everything I yet to get...I have now have another problem. After showering I noticed my just washed fresh towels SMELLED disgusting.
After dressing I immediately ran to the washer and YES !!! It stinks! And so did the clothes in the dryer.
So now do I only have stiff towels ( and clothes that I never noticed ) but now they are smelly! I washed the tub with the tide washer cleaner. Nothing! Then I got a wet rag with a small bit of bleach and water and went all around the ring , then washed on hot/hot and extra rinse 2x. I did that with bleach. I guess to get the mold out. I smelled the washer after the first wash and really it didn't smell. I gave it a second one to be sure.
One thing I do have to mention. When I sent my son to college with fluffy decent Wal-Mart towels , they always came home fluffy everytime he came home . I asked him if he washed and he said yes! ( He is a clean freak ) haha Well believe it or not...I send him down with dropps. They are those little packets.
I don't know if that could be it. But I love fresh smelling soft towels and clean laundry :)
Thinking of selling my duet and getting a normal toploader )???)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Isn't the first time I've been wrong and it won't be the last. Cotton does shrink in hot water right? Seems to me in that old thread build-up was the culprit as well.

I have colour towels so I don't use hot and to date they are clean and soft (enough) using warm\cold but I use an all natural detergent.

I fear that smell - got in a big panic the other day but it turns out it's the drain that stinks.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:07AM
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stbonner, I think my Miele does 2 rinses. I use the Sensitive option a lot which adds a third rinse. Sensitive may also increase rinse water level (not totally sure)?

I also think it spins fairly fast after the wash/before the first rinse. That helps to get rid of more detergent. My Frigidaire did not do that.

Don't mark my words on this but I've read that most machines determine how much water to use based on how much a load weighs (I know my mom's LG does a little "cha cha cha" before it starts and that's what it's doing). That doesn�t make a ton of sense because some loads (like towels) will absorb way more than other loads.

From what I've read, Miele does not add water based on the weight. It senses the water in the drum and adds more as necessary. It will "realize" the towels have absorbed a lot and add more. Does this make sense?

When it comes to comforters, Miele has a special setting that will "vent" the comforter first. It adds water and gets the comforter thoroughly wet then spins before it will add water and detergent to wash it.

Just from personal experience I can say that this machine is not as sudsy as previous FL and it rinses much better. All the little things Miele seems to have thought of make using the machines a real pleasure.

I have read the Tide powder is very hard to rinse out. I have no first hand experience with it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 5:43PM
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If you have soft or conditioned water, it may take very little detergent (one part per thousand) to cause lingering suds. In soft water situations, you can't judge the effectiveness of a rinse by the appearance of suds in the rinse water. You can have a very minute amount of detergent in the water - far less than would ever cause residue, stiffness or other problems - and still consider the laundry well rinsed.

If you are really concerned about rinsing in soft or conditioned water, you may consider adding a little epsom salt to your first rinse. This will increase the hardness of the rinse water, allowing more of the free detergent to bind to the hardness minerals and be flushed away. If you have a water softener/conditioner, switching from sodium chloride (salt) to potassium chloride will reduce the amount of suds visible in your water. This will also allow you to use a larger dose of detergent without worrying about suds problems.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:48PM
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I recommend adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash water and adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse water.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:55AM
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If you are washing a realy full load of towels, try washing them in two loads instead of one. I had stiff towels once when I had put too many of them in the washer at the same time. I know you have a large size machine, but in the owners manual it will tell you that on certain loads to only fill the washer to the 1/2 or 3/4 capacity for optimun results. I have really hard water, never used baking soda, or vinager to get soft towels.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Thinking back, I do remember my towels becoming a bit stiffer when I went to a front load washer. I assumed that it was because they were getting cleaner. This has me now considering the following:

Maybe towels in old school top loaders just aren't getting quite as clean as they do in their front load counterparts. Leaving behind more body oil and such. Typically towels are all washed together, a big soup bath of body oil, hair conditioners, and dead skin. If it's not removed, it's redistributed.

What's soft to some may not be to others.

How often do you reuse towels in between washing if at all? More use before washing may make them softer.

Detergent brand, quantity of detergent, and the capabilities of the machine still can make a difference.

Hotels all use white towels that can be sanitized by either bleach, hot water, ozone units or all of the above. Typically I find their towels a little stiff, depending on the quality of the facility and their linens it varies little.

I don't know, maybe I'm way off. I do think it may have something to do with getting cleaner. Personally I don't mind stiff towels, as long as they are clean!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 1:16AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Smelly washing machine?
they have a great series of youtube video tutorials there and that one tells you how to get rid of the smell.

I use Sears HE powder laundry detergent and Purex Crystals in either warm or hot and my towels come out soft and fluffy and smell great. I have been very happy with the Sears detergent. I get Ultra Plus� Powder Laundry Detergent w/ Stain Fighting Formula

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 1:46AM
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Well, I'm finally making headway with my stiff towels. Since I decided that the stiffness was due to insufficient rinsing I have been using only detergents that rinse very easily in my machine - Greenworks and Seventh Generation liquid right now. Anyway, towels (and all of my other clothes) are noticeably softer than they were when I was using my previous detergents.

Interestingly, I pulled some older towels out of my linen closet and they were not stiff. They were also colored towels, and the ones I'm currently using are white towels. That makes me wonder if the non-chlorine bleaches in Persil, Tide with Bleach, etc. were contributing to my towel stiffness.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 11:18AM
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stbonner, were the detergents causing stiffness all powders? Liquid does make a difference over powder for softness.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:35PM
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livebetter, I had the opposite experience. My towels were stiff and smelly when I was using liquid Tide HE. Now I use Sears powder detergent and they infinitely better.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 2:20PM
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livebetter, yes, they were all powders. Next I'm going to try washing towels in Cheer powder, since that is a really clear rinsing detergent for me. It seems to leave my clothes pretty soft, so I'll be interested to see how it works on towels.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:00PM
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I was house sitting this past weekend and had to wash a load of towels in a traditional toploader. I washed them in hot water, liquid detergent (ALL) and no FS. I used the extra rinse and they came out stiff as a board. Maybe the dryer over dried them as I know over drying cotton will make it stiff. My point is, towel stiffness is not limited to just using a front loader like many people seem to think, due to the low water usage of the machine. It made me realize on thing for sure, I dont miss having a water wasting TL, to wasteful, noisey, and leaves towels to wet, compared to my FL that I had or my waveforce washer

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:39PM
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I know most of you hate or dislike Downey (I use Scent and Dye free).
There is magic for those who are using a front-loaders.
If you have a bleach dispenser and know that it dispenses into the first rinse, load both with fabric softener and you will see a difference.

I have done a load of whites with towels over the weekend with my Wave Touch set to my default 3 rinses and all came out very soft to the touch. It maybe an overkill but the results is a whole lot better than before.
I will not do this for every load but if this is what you want? Give it a try!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:19AM
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This weekend I washed my towels and tried something a little different... and I ended up with the softest, fluffiest towels I have ever had! In fact, this technique also restored my old scratchy towels to softness. This advice is obviously specific to my machine (Miele W4842) and water quality (softened water).

I filled my machine with mixed towels, used a full cap of Vaska plus Vaska liquid bleach, filled the bleach dispenser with vinegar and placed a full cap of Vaska softener in the FS compartment. I ran the load on "Wrinkle Free" and medium spin, as some of the towels indicated to wash on "gentle" cycle.

The Miele dispenses the contents of the bleach compartment in the last 5-10 minutes of the wash cycle. In this case, however, vinegar was released instead. I don't know if this holds true for other detergents, but the vinegar seems to completely neutralize the Vaska. Suds immediately disappear and water starts to bead on the glass door. First rinse comes out completely clean and suds free. The machine rinses twice by default.

Simply adding the vinegar step to the end of the main wash cycle has resulted in noticeably improved softness compared to not adding the vinegar. I don't know if this is specific to vinegar and Vaska or if this would apply to all detergents. I was completely surprised by this, but now do all of my laundry this way. Now my clothes practically float out of the dryer!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:38PM
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@sshrivastava - I might be wrong, but I thought someone once posted here, on another thread - that Miele said "no vinegar" in their washing machines. Otherwise I would love to give it a try as a FS. Ah, here it is--> link below. I may call Miele USA and ask them.

I'm starting to think the 'Comforter cycle' on our W4842 would be best for towels, because the wash and rinse cycles fill up to the bottom of the glass on the door.

Almost all our laundry feels stiffer and scratchier, since we got our new Miele W4842 & T9802.
I'm still on the newbie "learning curve", but even with 2 T. of Persil, and sometimes experimenting with more, I see no improvement. In the old top-loader, I used Charlies Soap and All F&C.

I'm allergic to fabric softener in clothing (too much contact), including Downy Free, but may try it with the towels. I hate to gunk up that part of the machine, though, since I fear and am highly allergic to mold.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vinegar in Miele

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 4:40PM
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@ Cavimum

It's my feeling that such a small amount of vinegar won't do any harm, especially when you consider the many, many thousands of people who are using it on a daily basis without problems. Also, combining vinegar at the tail end of a wash cycle is simply using the vinegar (an acid) to neutralize the detergent (a base). Depending on the amount of detergent in the wash, it's highly doubtful you would end up with an acid pH after adding vinegar. If anything, you will have neutralized some of the detergent's alkalinity - but not all of it.

Regarding your use of detergent, you may be using too little. According to instructions on Megaperls, which is more concentrated than the regular Persil, a normally soiled load in SOFT WATER conditions needs 4 TBSP in a 5-6kg washer, and 3 TBSP more (7 TBSP total) for a 7+ kg capacity machine (US-style). If you have medium hard/soft water, increase that to 6 TBSP plus another 3 TBSP for the larger washer. If you are washing really dirty stuff, you should be using even more. Persil is not some miracle detergent where you only need to use 1-2 TBSP. It's concentrated, but no more so than Tide HE or anything else on this side of the pond. Using so little compared to the manufacturer's recommendations may actually cause build-up rather than reduce it. Without enough detergent, the soil in your clothing settles back onto the fabrics and washer parts. This causes build-up in your machine and stiff, scratchy clothing.

Use the recommendation on the Persil package for your size of machine, water quality and soiling level. Add the Sensitive option to ensure your clothes are properly rinsed. See how that goes after a few washings.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 5:23PM
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@sshrivastava - I once used the recommended amount of Persil megaperls, and the laundry seemed even more stiff & scratchy; it even made my hands feel dry. Our water here is considered 'moderately' hard, one step up from soft, so not the worst. I normally use the recommended amount for "soft" water and add the "Sensitive" for that extra rinse.

Last night, I used the Perwoll for wool, recommended dose for soft water and had a small load (2 pairs wool blend slacks & 2 dozen pairs wool socks), and there were quite a bit of suds left on the gasket. I ended up running the rinse & spin cycle twice and woolen cycle --- an epic rinsing --- just to get the suds out. Perhaps the vinegar would have helped, the first time, especially since wool is a protein fiber and thrives on the acidity of vinegar in a final rinse.

I'm still on that learning curve. I usually only fill the W4842 halfway up with laundry, so our loads are considered small, I suppose.(?) I've read here that load size makes a difference with amt. of detergent? Well, I have to admit that I'm a little obsessed learning with my new FL machines and doing more, smaller loads. ;-)

Just how high can we pile up the laundry in the 4842 tub, and still get a good wash?

I have some (leftover from the top loader days) Calgon liquid that I've started adding this week, with 2Tb Persil 'megaperls', just to use it up and further experiment. Our clothes don't get really dirty, no more kids at home, so no grimy soccer stuff anymore. ;o)

I may try the vinegar in the FS dispenser. I had tried it with our old top loader and never saw any difference, whether I used CS or the occasional All F&C. Now that I'm experimenting with Persil, bioKleen, ecoVantage, because they have enzymes, oxybleach, etc., I might see a difference with vinegar in the rinse.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Generally, if you are washing half a load then cut the detergent by half. If you have soft water, you may be able to reduce this even more - but not by drastically much, in my experience, if you want clean clothes.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Lately I've switched to liquid detergents and my towels are noticeably more soft. I do routinely use an extra rinse, too. I know a lot of people don't like to use liquids on their towels but it may be worth a try. I tried pretty much everything else before going to liquids - multiple brand changes, extra rinses, more detergent, less detergent, hotter washes, cooler washes - nothing helped until I switched to liquids.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 6:26AM
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I have also been using more liquid vs powdered detergents lately. I have also noticed that liquids leave my clothes softer than powders.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Since getting our Miele W4842, our towels have gotten stiffer & scratchy. Well, they are old - maybe 18 years old - and were kind of stiff before the FL, and I don't use fab. softener.

Today, I washed a load with what I believe to be a correct amount of Persil detergent in the Wrinkle Express cycle, because it has a higher level of water in the rinse cycle. First rinse: suds galore. Second rinse: half the suds. I have only done two loads of laundry before these towels, and did a "Clean Machine" cycle right before that and saw no suds.

Going on the theory that there may be detergent build-up on the towels, instead of drying them, I next ran them through a Delicates cycle with no detergent. Lots of suds in both rinse cycles.

Now I've got them going thru on the Comforters cycle because that wash cycle has higher water levels, no detergent, and suds galore. On the wash cycle.

Are the suds simply churned up water from the towels, and this is inherent to washing towels in FL?
Or do I have an unbelievable amount of residue?
Should I keep repeating the process until there are no suds?
Should I change my name, destroy my records, and move to another country?

*Am I expecting too much by not wanting to see suds in the water & rinse for towels, and on the rubber seal when cycle is finished?

I didn't have suds when the old TL rinsed them. What is it with towels and FLs? (I am still on the FL learning curve...)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 9:17PM
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@cavium, firstly, let me say I've had a FL machine for over 10 years. My Miele W4842 was new in Feb of this year. Prior, I had a Frigidaire pair for 10 years. No heater - no bells/whistles. I have never had a scratchy towel problem. Our water is mildly hard. I have never used FS on my towels.

I will point out that I buy good quality cotton towels which can make a difference. I usually only buy Egyptian or Supima.

TL machines are not great rinsers. Contrary to what you might think, FL machines rinse better.

Perhaps your new Miele is removing tons of build up? I might try using vinegar in a wash with no detergent to help remove some of the build up (if it's there). Use the warmest water your fabric will allow.

I can agree with @sshrivastava that liquids leave things softer (especially Vaska). I also read that some where - there is a reason for it.

I do not have suds when rinsing my towels (I realize everyone's situation is different and can affect outcomes).

I am currently washing a load of white towels in my W4842 on Extra White, hot, sensitive. I used a full cap of Vaska, 1 tbsp Borax and 2 tbsp oxygen bleach. There are some suds on the glass in the main wash cycle. If previous washes are accurate, there will be no suds in the third (final) rinse.

My load contains 3 bath towels, 4 hand towels and several wash clothes. The drum is slightly less than half full when compacted down wet.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:03PM
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My Maytag Bravos washer has a huge capacity (5.2 cu ft) and I typically wash many towels at once -- 10-12 bath towels, often a couple of beach towels, about 10 kitchen towels, and many dishcloths and washcloths.

I have used both Tide liquid and powder (both HE) when washing them, plus OxyClean, on the sanitizing cycle (158 F). I do NOT use liquid fabric softener, as it will coat them and thus reduce their absorbency, but I do use white vinegar in the FS dispenser. Before I used OxyClean, I used 1 c. baking soda in each wash, and baking soda REALLY softens the water, while the vinegar helps rinse the towels very well.

The last time I washed a load of white towels as described above, I used Tide HE powder with bleach, plus OxyClean (some of the towels were really grungy from having been used outdoors in cleaning projects), on the sanitizing cycle. When the cycle ended, I saw some suds, so I ran them through the whole cycle again. That time, they came out perfect. Next time I will definitely use less detergent and possibly less OxyClean (not a full scoop).

My towels primarily come from Walmart and JC Penney; they are not luxury towels by any means, though I do usually buy nice towels when they're on sale. My towels always come out soft and fluffy. Again -- baking soda will soften the water and vinegar will strip out detergent.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:37AM
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It is possible there is detergent build-up. When the towels finished the Comforters cycle (no detergent), the final rinse had almost no sudsing.

I wonder if a HOT water wash with 1 or 2 Tb. of LemiShine(citric acid) instead of detergent, and vinegar in the rinse, would help remove detergent buildup.

I have some concerns about vinegar in the rinse all the time, as the acid might be corrosive. I have seen those photos of spiders (fodder for nightmares!).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 8:04AM
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@ cavimum

Vinegar is such a mild acid (5% - you can drink it) that once dissolved in a tub of water it makes just a small impact on the pH value. Aluminum will corrode in water if the pH is less than 4, however it's unlikely that your wash will ever have a pH below 7. All the detergents and additives you put into the washer make the water much more alkaline, which aids in cleaning. Adding vinegar brings the pH down a tiny bit to get your clothes closer to your body's pH level, therefore feeling nicer against your skin.

When it comes to spider corrosion, I would be far more worried about the detergent I'm using than I would be about vinegar. A lot of "natural" detergents omit anti-redeposition agents and corrosion inhibitors which I feel play a role in delaying or preventing spider corrosion. Most off-the-shelf detergents like Tide contain such ingredients.

Now back to the towels...

My towels have actually gotten softer after getting the Miele, but I've also changed the way that I wash them. I no longer use high temps - I limit my towels to WARM as indicated on the label - rinse with higher water levels and spin on medium (600-800 RPM). I also DO use Vaska fabric softener on my towels as there is no impact whatsoever on absorbency. The combination of the Miele washer plus Vaska has brought my old towels back to life and has kept my expensive Matouk Milagro towels as beautiful as they were the day I bought them.

Spinning towels generates a ton of suds in soft water, even if you use a tiny amount of detergent. I believe it has to do with the fact that towels absorb far more water per square inch of surface area than your typical load of clothes. As a result, when towels are spun there is a larger volume of water that slams against the sides of the outer tub, which causes agitation and incorporates a lot of air and bubbles. A microscopic amount of residual detergent in your towels may be sufficient to lower the surface tension of the water just enough to make suds during the spin, which then carries over into your rinses.

If, after the suds dissolve and evaporate, there is nothing left behind (no film or residue), then what is there to worry about?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:03AM
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@cavium, I was thinking Lemi Shine too. If you really want to make the residue is removed. That's what Smelly Washer recommends for removing the mold spores/smell from towels so it can't hurt them.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Update: Today I ran those towels through three more cycles -- two on Wrinkle-Free and one on Comforters, since both have a high water level for the rinses.
NO detergent on any of these, Lemi-shine on the first two cycles with vinegar in the fab. softener compartment, nothing used on the third cycle today.

Lots of suds(!) in all the rinses, until the final 3rd 'sensitive' rinse of the comforters cycle, which was 99% clear. Towels just now came out of the dryer and they're not as stiff, but not super-soft either, but it is an improvement. There must have been a LOT of detergent residue in those old things.

Now I have a second pile of towels on which I am starting the process.
It probably would have been cheaper to just go buy new towels . . .

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:14PM
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"....suds dissolve and evaporate, there is nothing left behind (no film or residue), then what is there to worry about?"

LOL. Same horn you toot everywhere you go. Carry on.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:31PM
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Update: I ran the second batch of towels with LemiShine, liquid Calgon and then vinegar in Fab. Soft. compartment in the first complete wash cycle only. Second complete wash cycle had none of these, and the rinses were clear. How odd, but I'll save on water and time. Perhaps only one or two towels in that first batch had a lot of residue. I'm so glad this project is over!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:39PM
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@ cavimum

I'm sorry if you already mentioned this, but do you have hard or soft water? I wasn't sure if you were adding the liquid Calgon as you always do, because you have hard water, or whether you were doing this specifically to remove build-up from your towels.

I'm glad you only had a problem with some, not all, of your towels. Were those towels washed in another detergent or in a different machine? I wonder why just a few towels had build-up issues?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:00AM
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@sshrivastava -

Our water is medium hardness, right on the middle of the scale. 4 grains; 101ppm; 72mg/L is what I've read for our area. Alkalinity is 56 mg/L.
I don't understand it all, but that's what I've found.

I've used a variety of detergents over the years, from liquid Tide until ten years ago, then only All F&C and in the past few years I've included Charlies Soap (liquid and powder). On occasion, I would use a little bit of fabric softener on towels only but have not done that in a few years. Top load washer always used until April of this year, when we got the Mieles.

For the de-gunking process, I was adding liquid Calgon in hopes of the LemiShine having a stronger effect on whatever the residue was, in the towels.

They are not TOL (top of the line) towels, but they definitely have been scratchier and rougher feeling since getting the front loader washer.

It was weird, that the second pile of towels did not require as many de-gunk cycles. Who knows what was lurking in that first pile! At least now, I know they're all as clean as they can be.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 2:20PM
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I'm having the same problem too -- on my towels especially. And I also use Tide liquid detergent, although I have a top-loading washer. I have double-rinsed and it helped just a tad, but not much. It's still scratchy...especially hubby's white undershirts. He has been complaining about it feeling scratchy on his body. We have purchased new shirts but in no time at all, it becomes hard and scratchy too. I thought we were the only ones having this problem until I looked it up on the internet, at hubby's suggestion. We have hard water too, so I'm thinking about the Calgon suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:11PM
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@annielynn888 - I think it might be something about how towels are being made today. My really older towels aren't as bad, once I got all the detergent residue out of them. The Lands End Supima ones are another story... I think they're being made differently, nowadays. Calgon or STPP might help.

Here is a link that might be useful: STPP article at Laundry forum

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 11:35PM
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I have found that towels that we have spun in our high speed spinner come out stiffer than if we didn't spin them.

Try this in case someone hasn't suggested it. Wash towels as normal but select a slow spin speed. Then dry in your dryer on "Gentle/Knits" if you have that setting. Now how did your towels come out this time?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:14PM
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I've never had trouble with so-called stiff or scratchy towels ... or maybe I'm not recognizing the problem, LOL.

My well water is considered hard, ~11 grains. I use a full dose of HE detergent whether liquid or powder (to line 2 or 3 on the cap or cup). "Old-style" regular-concentration Gain HE powder, 1/2 to 3/4 measured cup. Liquid or powder both spiked with approx 1 oz STPP. Oxybooster used occasionally. Or a full amount of non-HE detergent (up to a full measured cup depending on load size) in my non-HE agitator washer (Fisher & Paykel). Spin speed (depending on the machine) ranges from 800 to 1010 RPM. May use a moderate dose of softener, but not always. Drying temp (typically high/normal) doesn't have a significant effect, although I do often leave the load a while on the wrinkle-prevent function which does help "softening" due to the fabric-flexing and "normalizing" the natural moisture content of the fabric via the extended, intermittent cool-air tumbling.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:36PM
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