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How to Restore Your Towels If You Use Fabric Softener

A stack of folded towels sit on a bed.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Surprise! Fabric softener is evil. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but when it comes to washing your towels, fabric softener is likely the reason they’re feeling less absorbent and looking like they’re covered in an opaque film. Don’t worry, though—you can fix this!

If you’re a fabric softener loyalist, there’s an expert-backed opinion on why you might wanna give it up when it comes to your towels. Bailey Carson, home and cleaning expert at Angi, explained that softener is often made from silicone oils which makes towels feel greasy and decreases their absorption.

So, how do you fix this? Well, there are two easy solutions, and the first is vinegar.

Carson recommended adding 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of vinegar to each load of laundry, or you can pre-soak your towels in it. Due to vinegar’s mild acidity, any leftover residue will be stripped away, and your towels will be restored to their optimal fluffiness.

This will also remove any mold or mildew smells if you’ve left wet clothes in the washer too long, but it won’t leave behind a strong vinegar smell, either.

Not so keen on pouring vinegar all over your laundry? No prob! You can also opt for a color-safe bleach like OxiClean.

This tactic might take a bit longer, but if you dislike even the hint of the smell of vinegar, it’s perfect. Simply soak your towels in an OxiClean and water bath for six hours, and then wash them as usual, again, using OxiClean. They should emerge looking brand-new.

This isn’t all you can do to refresh those old towels. Check out these other tips for keeping them fluffy and absorbent.

[Via America’s Test Kitchen]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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