Is there a way to soften hard towels?

Updated February 21, 2017

Drying off with soft, absorbent towels after bathing, showering or swimming is something that many people enjoy. While newly-purchased towels are luxuriously soft to the touch, older towels tend to become stiff and less absorbent over time. Luckily, it is possible to soften your hard towels, using some simple laundry additives that you may already have on hand. You may find that your softened towels are almost as luxurious as they were when new.

Place your towels into the washing machine, and wash them as you normally would, following the particular care instructions found on the labels of your towels. Use your normal washing powder.

Set your washing machine to the "rinse" setting. While the machine is filling, add one-cup white vinegar to the rinse water.

Allow your towels to run through the rinse cycle. Remove them, and dry them in your dryer set to the "tumble" setting.


If your washing machine does not have a "rinse" setting, simply run your towels through another wash cycle, adding the vinegar as directed. To make your towels even softer, wash them using the hottest water recommended on their care labels.


Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets when laundering towels. These products can create build-up in the fibres of the towels, causing them to decrease in absorbency. Do not use bleach on your towels, unless the care labels specifically state that it is safe. Even some white towels can become damaged by bleach.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Measuring cup
  • Washing powder
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About the Author

Melissa Busse is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, including natural health and beauty, budget balancing and parenting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Maryville University in St. Louis.