Even the best bath towels need a little TLC now and then to keep them tip-top. Luckily for us, laundry superstar Sam from Wilton London is here to let us in on the secrets to keeping these hardworking bathtime beauties feeling thick, fluffy and absorbent. Over to Sam...
No one likes wrapping themselves up in crunchy bath towels after a nice, relaxing soak. With a few little steps, you can make your towels feel less like sandpaper and more like a fluffy cuddle.
Go Easy On the Detergent
High-quality bath towels should be thick and hold on to everything you throw at them, but the same can be said when they're in the wash. Many of us are guilty of using too much laundry detergent in our washes. With towels, it's really important you follow the guidelines on the laundry liquid bottle. If you use too much, it will simply be harder to remove during the rinse cycle. This will then accumulate over time and add to the stiffness of your lovely towels.
It's not just the amount of laundry detergent you use; the type can help too. Most towels are made from natural fibres like cotton, and harsh detergents can permanently damage these fibres. Try using a gentler detergent like our Wilton London eco-friendly laundry liquids.
Towels can harbour lots of germs, so it's tempting to wash them at high temperatures. But this doesn't help keep them soft and supple. Similar to harsh detergents, high temperatures strip the natural fibres of their natural softness. We suggest washing your bath towels on a cooler temperature, between 30 and 40 degrees. For more handy hints read our guide on How to Use Your Washing Machine.
Give Them Space
It's tempting to stuff all the family's bath towels in the wash at once, but this won't help with softness or cleanliness. If there are too many towels in the wash, laundry detergents and fabric conditioners will not rinse out properly, leaving a build up over time which dries and goes hard.
To Tumble Or Not To Tumble?
A tumble dryer can be a big help in the pursuit of soft towels, but overuse them at your peril. The rough and tumble of a dryer is excellent for softening towels, yet over-drying is a big cause of the sandpaper effect. I recommend two things. Either use a tumble dryer to dry your towels straight from the washer, but on a setting that doesn't completely dry out your towels, as stripping towels of all moisture makes them rough. Another method (and the more eco-friendly laundry option) is to hang your towels out to dry and then bung them in for a 20 min tumble (preferably on a cool setting). This will help agitate the fibres, stopping them from sticking together, which will result in softer towels.
A Ball Game
Another great tip is to use dryer balls. You don't need to buy specific dryer balls; a tennis ball will do. Throw one or two in the dryer with your towels. It will help them dry quicker and agitate the fibres, further helping soften up your towels.
As mentioned above, a tumble dryer isn't always necessary. However, I do suggest you avoid popping them on top of a radiator as this only leads to over-drying and crusty towels. Use a clothes horse next to a heater or even better, dry them outside on a windy day. The wind will help keep them moving and agitate the fibres, just like a tumble in a dryer would.
A fabric conditioner works similar to conditioner for your hair – essentially moisturising the fibres. The common mistake here is to overdose it; you really don't need much. We suggest about half a cap of our eco-friendly fabric conditioners for most loads, and this is plenty. If you use a small amount regularly, it will soften the fabric over time. It's tempting to pour a load in the wash to soften super-stiff towels, but this will only add to the problem. By using too much, it will effectively clog the fibres causing them to dry even stiffer.
Bonus Tip - Vinegar
If your towels are very stiff and scratchy, try adding around 250ml of vinegar to a wash along with your laundry liquid. Add it to the washing machine drum just before you load and set the cycle going, don't worry, it won't make your washing smell like a bag of chips.
If nicely scented towels are a must for you, clean them with our laundry care range. Our formulas are eco-friendly and packed with essential oils to leave your laundry with a lovely botanical scent.
Now that's a lot of steps to get soft towels, I know. But, if you just adopt a few of them, you will see improvements over a couple of washes. Treat your towels right from the start, and you will be blessed with soft cuddles from your towels for years to come. Happy towelling.