Towels and the Sanitary Cycle

whirlpool_traineeJuly 15, 2012

There has been a discussion recently about whether hot washes contribute to scratchy towels. I promised to post my results so here it goes.

Washer: German Whirlpool Duet

Load: about 22 lbs. of towels

Cycle: Bulky Items at 203F with one extra rinse and 1200 rpm spin

Water: well-water at 21 grains per gallon

Detergent: powder for whites

Dosage: 150 ml (about half a cup) according to manufacturer's recommendation

Softener: Downy Simple Pleasures, cap filled to line three

Drying cycle: Cupboard Dry (normal dry) at regular temp

Now, the outcome. Well, I do have to say that the towels felt a little rougher that the one towels I did not include in the wash. I am not totally sure, however, if that comes from the hot water, the hot dryer or the high water hardness. (?) I did notice all clothes coming out softer once I upped the detergent dosage to what the manufacturer recommends for hard water. I also have to add that I have a Bosch condenser dryer, which gets very hot in the process - I think it peaks at 158F. That being said, my towels emerged super clean from this wash - even slightly better than at 140F.

So, the result isn't all too clear, I fear. I think I'll have to do some more experimenting and get my two unused towels out, boil-wash one and compare. But at least I can say that, yes, somewhere in the process, heat made my towels rougher. Oh, and the towels say to wash at 140F on the tag.


Here's the full load and a link to the nice water level I get on Bulky.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rinse Cycle

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I have found that if I leave the bath towels in the dryer until they are perfectly & thoroughly dry, they feel rougher and scratchier. If I get them out of the dryer when they are just barely dry, they feel better. I do not use any fabric softener because I'm allergic, even to unscented.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 9:44PM
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I wash my towels on the Sanitary cycle (Maytag Bravos). I use Tide HE powder w/bleach, some OxyClean, and only vinegar (no fabric softener at all) in the final rinse.

My towels come out VERY soft.

Baking soda does soften water (if you've ever used it in dishwater or bath water, you know this), so baking soda can be used in the washer to soften towels too. In an HE washer, 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on capacity) should do.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I use WARM water only, All or Tide Clear, a BIT of Downy Clear softener, and our Sammy dryer peaks at 161-163. I use the second or third hottest cycle, but all cycles of my gas dryer peak as stated above. The hottest temp simply peaks for less time, as one chooses a cooler cycle. I wish the peak was a LOT less hot!

Towels (nice, expensive ones) come out soft when I follow this method.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:12AM
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I ONLY wash our towels (fairly high quality, Micro Loop Egyptian Cotton) on Warm (105F in the Miele W4842), Sensitive Option Selected (3 rinses) with Max Spin (1400 RPM). I use Tide he Powder and Downy Unscented Softener (which I mix with Gain Sweet Sizzle, to re-create the old, original April Fresh smell, that P & G ruined).

My towels always feel soft, fluffy and have ZERO absorbency loss issues, due to softener usage!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Yes, damp clothes do feel softer and retain more scent from the softener - but where would I put 22 lbs. of not "thoroughly dry" towels?

Baking soda does sound interenting but is only sold - as far as I know - in sachets of one tablespoon over here. Would take a lot of them to get the job done. I have thought about adding Calgon (but a cheaper supermarket-brand version) to each wash and reduced the detergent amount in turn - but only to make doing laundry cheaper. I mean, even here, half a cup of Persil is kinda expensive.

I don't think I'll ever wash towels on anything cooler than 140F. I change bath towels once a week (hand towels twice a week) so I want them to be really clean. And actually, they stay fresh that way for the entire week.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:54PM
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I wash towels and kitchen rags at 205 with extra rinses, persil megaperls, no fabric softner but a small amount of vinegar to neutralize the alkalinity. No issues with scratchy towels. I don't dry anything bone dry but dry enough that they aren't damp to the touch. The dryer gets so hot and will definately make fabrics feel rough if allowed to dry completely on high heat.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:51AM
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