How to Soften Bath Towels in the Laundry

Wrapping yourself in a soft and fluffy bath towel after a hot shower or long soak in the bathtub is the perfect ending to a busy day. This ending is not so perfect when the towel you grab feels crispy and rough against your skin. You can do several things to soften bath towels in the laundry.

Apply these tips, and you won't have to follow your bathing ritual with an exfoliating towel unless you intend to.

Remove residue from your towels. According to Heloise King, the columnist who writes the syndicated column "Hints from Heloise," the problem of stiff and scratchy towels can be related to a build-up of the various detergents and softening agents used in the washing machine to care for the towels. To rid the towels of this build-up and thus make them softer, Heloise suggests performing the following once a month: "Wash them (just towels, nothing else) in very hot water using baking soda, washing soda or borax instead of detergent. Follow the directions on the product for the amounts to use. Use the highest water level and rinse twice."

Try using dryer balls when you dry the towels in the dryer. Widely available for purchase in the laundry aisle of most stores, dryer balls are small, spikey balls that are full of air. Toss a pair of them into the dryer with a load of your wet towels, and the balls will agitate the towels during the drying process, leaving them softer.

Consider adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. White vinegar has many beneficial uses in the laundry. In addition to removing odours, fighting stains and brightening colours, vinegar can remove detergent residue.

Take the advice of Martha Stewart, whose recommendations for laundering towels include not using fabric softener but using one unscented dryer sheet when the towels go into the dryer.

Avoid line drying towels. While there is no better smell than a freshly laundered towel that has been dried in the sunshine and fresh air, towels dried in this way are known to feel almost crispy once they are fully dry.