‘Best option’ to soften ‘rough and scratchy’ towels so they come out ‘fluffy’

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Angela Patrone fixes stiff towels with white vinegar

There are several reasons why towels may have hardened over time. Firstly, when shopping for new towels, households should know that they have actually been treated with a silicone coating to make them feel softer than they actually are. 

This coating acts as a conditioner of sorts to make the fibres feel slick to the touch. Only when this coating is washed away will people know the true softness of their towels.  

Too much laundry detergent is another common culprit for hard towels. People may think it’s improving the cleaning power, but it will only lead to excess suds and residual detergent building up in towels, causing them to harden and feel stiff. 

Drying methods can also contribute to the problem as well. If households often hang their towels to dry on a radiator, the heat can damage the finish and make towels feel rougher to the touch. 

While some prefer their towels rough, others are more in favour of having soft towels. With this in mind, Mrs Hinch fans have shared their recommendation for softening towels on the Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips Facebook page.

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Carol Stephens asked: “How do I soften rough and scratchy towels, conditioner isn’t doing it.” The post received over 220 comments, with the most popular suggestion being to use white vinegar.

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

Don’t be afraid of towels smelling like vinegar either as the fragrance will be washed away along with the excess suds. 

Anna Green urged: “Stop using conditioner, that’s what is making them hard, use white vinegar instead.”

Sarah Elliot wrote: “White vinegar, and shake the towels before they go in the machine and as soon as they come out.”

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Sue Barman said: “White vinegar instead of conditioner, it’s the best option. You can always add a drop of lavender oil to make it smell amazing.”

Rita Trimmell commented: “Wash in vinegar and no detergent to make scratchy towels super soft. Also, give plenty of room for them to move around and rinse well.”

Michelle Carins wrote: “Don’t use fabric conditioner, use two cups white vinegar in fabric conditioner compartment.”

Carol Jobson replied: “White vinegar in the softener drawer. Give them a good shake and either tumble dry them or leave them outside to get excess water for 10 to 15 minutes.”

Judy Hughes advised: “Add a drop of white vinegar in the softener compartment, always works for me. Notice a massive difference in softness.”

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Linda Blything added: “Vinegar in the softener drawer instead of fabric softener. It makes towels lovely and super fluffy.”

Another suggestion from Mrs Hinch fans to soften rough towels was to use soda crystals.

Carrie Birchenough said: “You should never use fabric conditioner on towels, tea towels etc. Use a couple of tablespoons of soda crystals in the wash and tumble dry if possible instead.”

Jimmy West claimed: “Conditioner is the problem it coats the towels and makes them hard, put towels in a wash with a small amount of soda crystals in the washing machine.”

Soda crystals have the power to turn tough old towels back into smooth and fluffy towels. To do this, fill a bucket with warm water and add in some soda crystals. Leave the crystals and towels to soak for about 15 minutes, then pull the towels out and put them in the washing machine on a normal wash.

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