Something to make towels softer

Valerie EmmerichJune 4, 2014

Does anyone know of anything besides fabric dryer sheets that you can put in the dryer (not the washer) to soften up my rough towels? Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can try clean tennis balls or dryer balls. Drying them on low heat followed by an extended tumble on no heat cycle might help. Or wash them in a Speed Queen 542, never could get soft towels in the FL that I had.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The softness of a towel is partly determined by the quality of cotton used - if it is a cotton towel. Some may seem soft at first and then the cotton breaks down and they get scratchy.

I have found that both sheets and towels are made with poorer quality cotton than was used in the "old days". I grew up in a lower middle class family and we had a closet full of white sheets that would be considered heavy, high thread count sheets by today's standards. Price does not seem to matter - Target and Walmart often have better quality than the fancy stores.

I like slightly rough towels because they seem to dry me off better and I get a little exfoliation at the same time.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any reason in particular that you only want something you can put in the dryer? I ask because white vinegar will help soften the towels. You add it during the rinse cycle in the washer like you would liquid fabric softener.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have several sets of very high quality towels which get scratchy like any other. I don't care for the fragrance of most of these products and can't even get near dryer sheets.

Have found about half recommended dose of diluted Mrs. Meyers Blue Sage fragrance fabric softener is OK. I don't mind the fragrance and it does make a difference on the towels. I wash towels first and then the rest of the laundry so the softener port will be rinsed out thoroughly.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is my understanding that fabric softeners work by coating the individual fibers with a paraffin like substance. This keeps the fibers separate which makes the fabric feel softer. Coating the fibers however makes them less absorbent which, IMO, does not make sense since you want towels to be absorbent.

I vote for the vinegar rinse. If you have an automatic dispenser you can just put vinegar in instead of fabric softener.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 5:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The towels may also be getting to hot in the dryer. I think the heat sensor was messed up on my last dryer, the towels came out stiff and the border trim shrunk by at least 2 inches. I stretched them back to where they look okay, but you should have heard the threads breaking. I had been washing those for a couple of years so I know there was something wrong with the dryer.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Small amounts of FS do NOT make towels fail to properly absorb water, scpalmetto. MODERATION, my friend; MODERATION. We always dilute the FS between 1:2: and 1:1 before putting some in the washer. I use two plastic bottles to keep diluted FS available at the washer.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

FS should be diluted according to my washer repair man. He said it will eventually clog lines it passes through.

I won't use vinegar in any washer, it is to strong a chemical. Vinegar will bleach a towel, I can only imagine what it will do to the seals in a washing machine or dishwasher with regular use. My dishwasher manual said not to put it in regularly, once in a great while may be okay. It does make dishes shine so once a year I take all of my glasses and any dishes that do not shine and soak them in the sink with water and a little vinegar before I put them in the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have tried vinegar several times -- over and over -- since it is continually recommended. I've certainly never found it to soften anything. Nor can I understand why it so continually recommended when I have never found it to do anything at all. I have tried it both for softening and odor removal.

Do love it on salads, though, and will keep it for that.

No issues whatsoever with the Mrs. M softener. It's diluted and I do the towels first, followed by hot washes. With as many loads as I do, there isn't even any residual.

Also, my washer has a sanitize cycle which is run every other week or so empty for maintenance. That clears out the machine. Even if a machine doesn't have sanitize, I would run it on the hottest, longest cycle at least once a month. Cannot hurt. Can help.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 7:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

for christs sakes Emma, there are no LINES in my washer, from the FS reservoir to the drum. Jeez. the FS gets flushed down the same chute as the detergent or bleach. what are these people smoking?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Vinegar has NEVER bleached any of my towels! I've used vinegar for years in different machines and it has never had a negative effect. Agree with dave1812. :)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't use those awful dryer sheets, they're full of toxic chemicals. Try wool dryer balls, inexpensive on amazon. My daughter uses the dryer balls for all loads, including cloth diapers. She puts 5 balls in the dryer.

When I visit my daughter I volunteer to do laundry, she has a hard time keeping up. The only downside is the balls often get caught in the items when unloading the dryer. When they drop on the floor my goldendoodle thinks they're toys and he chews them up. This is how I know they're a good price on amazon, I recently had to buy her a new set due to dog damage...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too use vinegar 1 cup in the rinse every time I wash and have for over 20 years. It disinfects without the chlorine bleach and it softens and removes the detergent residue, according to my Grama. She was a laundry lady from 1916 till 1978.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I tried dryer balls (the kind with spikes on all surfaces. They never did any good and quickly damaged the porcelain interior in spots. Tossed them. My shirts and pants get wrinkles if dried on a cooler cycle. I need to run them again on the hottest cycle to get wrinkles out once in a while. They are wash and wear cotton. Pure cotton has wrinkles no matter what I do unless I iron them. I won't so I send them to the laundry and regret buying them.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 6:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

adding a bit of vinegar to the water in your washer makes it so diluted it's unlikely to have much disinfecting property left, luvncannin.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I noticed years ago, when I still had a top loader, that my towels were softer when I used a powder detergent.
And I found it even more pronounced when I switched
to a front loader.

Worth a try?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

What does Vinegar do, exactly? Adding vinegar reduces the pH of the water.

"Hard" (alkaline) water is water with a pH over 7.0.
"Soft" water has a pH less than 7.0.
"Neutral" is, yes, 7.0.

White distilled vinegar has a pH of around 2.4.

A lower pH water would release some of the chemical bonds of any carbonates (minerals) attached to the cotton. If your water is "hard" (alkaline) it would likely have some effect over time. If your water is already quite "soft", it would have much less effect. Another factor would be the alkalinity of the laundry detergent itself; but that would be offset by "soft" water to some degree.

If you knew the typical pH of your water (your water company can tell you), if it is "hard", and the number of gallons of water your washing machine uses, you could calculate out how much vinegar to add to get a slightly acid (pH 6.7-6.9) rinse.

Do minerals attached to the cotton affect the softness? Unknown.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:46AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Combo washer-dryer in USA?
Do they allow to purchase and use an all-in-on e washer+dryer...
New Front Load Speed Queens
Hi everyone, we are replacing our old GE's- adding...
Speed Queen washer
When you all are discussing your Speed Queen, did you...
Electrolux 70 series....where's Larsi
A friend of mine is looking at Electrolux 70 series...
Need help! Research New Washer, Bravos is totally trashed.
So confused, so many conflicting opinions. It truly...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™