Some people really like the dry, scratchy, exfoliating properties of a towel that has been line dried – especially if you couldn’t be bothered to exfoliate when you were in the bath or shower! Others prefer a touch of softness to their towels. If you are in the latter camp, you may be frustrated by how hard your towels get when they are line dried. There’s no doubt it’s easier to dry towels on the line when the sun is shining – they don’t fill every space in your house with their big, soggy dampness; they dry in a fraction of the time (unless you’ve accidentally picked a wet drying day!) and they usually smell lovely.
But how to keep towels soft when line drying, I hear you cry? Never fear, there are plenty of ways you can do this – without having to resort to buying shares in fabric softener.
Reduce The Amount Of Detergent
One really simple solution is to just use half the amount of laundry detergent you normally use. Towels don’t actually need as much detergent as most of the rest of your laundry, so you can easily halve the quantities and still get clean towels, which won’t dry out and become scratchy. (As a tip, if you choose this method you should only wash your towels together, separated from the rest of your washing, to make sure that you don’t inadvertently not clean your other laundry as well as it needs to be cleaned.)
White Vinegar May Help
If you regularly use fabric softener then you might be thinking this will solve the softness problem. This is not necessarily so! Softener can build up on the towels, and create a coating that is actually quite hard and scratchy. If you are a fan of softener but are frustrated by your towels still being too dry, consider washing them with white vinegar instead of softener, at least for a cycle or two. You should still use your laundry detergent, but adding a cup of white vinegar to your wash a couple of times a month will remove the build up of fabric softener that can make your towels feel scratchy.
Try Also Baking Soda
You can also add half a cup of baking soda to your wash, to remove the stiff build up of detergent and softener that can be making your towels hard. This has the added bonus of being able to remove any musty smells that bath towels are really good at picking up.
Finish In The Dryer
As line drying towels is the biggest culprit in creating hard, scratchy towels, you can try to keep them soft by drying them till they are nearly dry on the line, then finish off with 10 minutes in the dryer. Adding a fabric softening sheet to this last step should result in soft, fluffy towels.
Another simple trick is to shake the towel really well before you hang it. Not just a little shake to get out the creases, but really shake it out until you hear it snap. Do this a few times, as it helps to loosen the fibres of the towel so they are not stuck so hard together when you take the towel in. Doing this after every wash should help your towels dry softer.
Drying on a windy day will also help this process; make sure you peg them securely though so you don’t have to visit all your neighbours to collect stray towels!
Try throwing a tennis ball in your washing machine. This won’t help your serve, but it can help your towels fluff up in the machine so that when they are hung up to dry they are already on the fluffier side.
Even if you have to take your towels off the line and finish them off inside, don’t be tempted to dry them on a radiator. This will dry the towels quickly, giving them a rough finish – it’s almost like lightly toasting a piece of bread!
Getting your towels soft and fluffy so it’s like drying yourself on a cloud is the dream for most of us. Have a go at some of the tips above, and hopefully you now have an armoury of tricks on how to keep towels soft when rotary line drying.