‘The key ingredient’ to fix ‘stiff and crunchy’ towels – ‘softens and kills bacteria’

TikTok user shares cleaning hack to keep towels soft

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After a long period of time, once soft and silky towels can become hard and crunchy. Nick Woodward, Director of Lettings at Essential Living spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how fabric softener is the reason why towels are “stiff” and “crunchy” and should be avoided when washing them. Fabric softener keeps clothes soft, fresh-smelling and static-free, but when it comes to washing towels, fabric softener should be given the boot.

Nick said: “The reason why your towels may have become stiff and crunchy is due to their interaction with fabric softener. 

“Overtime, the oils and ingredients in the fabric softener coats the fibres in the towels and makes them not as absorbent.”

Instead, Nick suggests using white vinegar to clean towels.

He said: “The key ingredient that will solve this problem is white vinegar, which will help soften the towels and simultaneously kill any bacteria.”

White vinegar not only strips residue left behind from the fabric softener, but it also works great to soften towels.

The cleaning expert detailed how homeowners should go about restoring their towels using white vinegar.

Nick said: “To get started on restoring your towels, fill your washing machines with just your towels and not any other clothes. 

“If you’re dealing with several towels, it might be a good idea to do separate washes, as overfilling your washing machine will mean there will be not enough water to clean your towels properly.”

For those who feel as though they need to use fabric softener, it is advised to use less or alternate which washes it is used on.

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The expert said: “As common as it is to use detergent in your washes, it would be wise to use less of it if you want to regain the fluffiness of your towels. 

“This is because less detergent means there are going to be less chemicals coating the fibres. 

“As mentioned, fabric softener does not do any favours for the longevity of your towels. 

“With this in mind, ditch this product and pour half a cup of white distilled vinegar into the fabric softener compartment in your washing machine instead. 

“If you really don’t want to eliminate fabric softener from your routine, you could use the product in every other load to limit the damage to your towels.”

Nick also shared what the “ideal” temperature is to wash towels at.

He said: “In regards to the temperature of your wash cycle, be sure to use them in warm to cool water – 40 to 60 degrees would be ideal.”

The drying process can be equally as important as the washing process, as the way they are dried can damage them.

Nick said: “For drying  your towels, the best thing you can do is air dry them. 

“If you do wish to use a tumble dryer, be sure your towels aren’t in there for a long period of time and that you are drying them on a medium heat, as this will cause the fibres to wear and tear. 

“But before you start the drying process, give your towels a good shake, as this will give the chance for their fibres to loosen first. 

“You may also benefit from doing this to your towels before putting them in the wash.”

He explained that when the towels are done drying, it’s best to fold them immediately to maintain their texture.

Nick warned that homeowners may not see results right away, but after a few times washing towels using this process, they will soon be super soft.

He said: “Depending on how stiff your towels are, it’s worth bearing in mind that you may not see results straight away, but be sure to keep on using this method for future cycles.”

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