Do you ever go to a hotel and wonder how they get their towels so incredibly soft and fluffy when yours are scratchy? Or do you ever go to the dryer to get out a load of towels and find that there are still damp spots?
Our easy-to-follow guide will walk you through the best way to dry your towels so that they emerge from the dryer clean, dry, and fluffy every time.
1. Use dryer balls
Dryer balls are often overlooked, but they are often the secret to getting soft, fluffy towels. They come in two main varieties — hard rubber or plastic balls and softer felted wool balls. Both varieties work in the same way, they agitate your laundry while it is in the dryer allowing more air to circulate and softening the fibers.
They have an extra advantage as well. Using dryer balls can significantly cut the amount of time it takes to dry your laundry, saving you money on your power bill and helping the environment at the same time.
2. Use fabric softener or dryer sheets
Fabric softener and dryer sheets both work in the same way — just like you condition your hair after washing, dryer sheets and fabric softeners condition the fibers in your laundry, making them soft and smooth.
Fabric softener is added to your laundry while it is in the washing machine, while dryer sheets can be added to the dryer when you start your drying cycle. Some people swear by dryer sheets and softeners, but others don’t like using additional chemicals on their laundry so you will need to decide whether or not they are the right option for you.
3. Shake out your towels before drying
This may seem obvious, but it is a step that is often overlooked. If your towels are put into the dryer in a big, crumpled ball straight from the washing machine, they are likely to dry with damp spots and hot spots meaning they won’t achieve the perfect fluffiness you are hoping for.
If you shake your towels out before putting them in the dryer they are less likely to clump together and more likely to dry evenly.
4. Don’t overload the dryer
Just like it is important to make sure your towels are not clumped together when drying, it is essential to make sure your dryer is not overloaded. Overloading the dryer prevents your towels from drying properly and can mean you can end up with a load of laundry that is overheated but still damp.
Make sure you are leaving room for airflow and remember, it is better to run two smaller loads that run one large load and end up with improperly dried towels.
5. Use a medium heat
While towels are usually 100% cotton and are more durable than other fabrics when it comes to withstanding heat, they still do better when treated carefully. Using the highest heat setting can cause your towels to shrink and the fibers to become harder and more scratchy. If your dryer has a specific ‘towels’ setting, you can use that, otherwise set your dryer to medium heat and notice the difference immediately.
6. Avoid over drying
Did you know that it is possible to overdry your towels? Leaving them in the dryer past when they are dry can lead to them getting too hot, leading to fiber shrinkage and general damage.
Some dryers have a moisture detecting system, which causes the dryer to shut off once it detects that your laundry is dry. This is ideal because it stops the heat as soon as the towels are dry, avoiding unnecessary heat damage.
If your dryer does not have this setting, try to err on the side of underdrying rather than over drying — remember, it is always possible to put towels back in the dryer for a little bit longer, but it isn’t possible to undo the damage caused if you leave your towels in a hot cycle for too long.
7. Fold the towels while they’re still warm
How many times has this happened? You get your load of towels out of the dryer, marveling at how soft they feel. You place them in the laundry basket, planning to fold them later. But when you go to fold them later, they are not nearly as soft as you remembered! In fact, they are stiff and tangled together, and even when you fold them they are lumpy and bumpy.
Luckily, there is an easy way to avoid this. When you get the towels out of the dryer, always fold them while they are still warm. The residual heat means that the fibers are still soft and malleable, so if you smooth them out and fold them right away, they’ll sit flatter in your linen closet and feel smoother and fluffier when you go to use them.
8. Avoid using too much detergent
Did you know that using too much detergent when you are washing your towels is one of the main causes of stiff, scratchy towels? If you use too much detergent, it won’t rinse out completely during the rinse cycle. When you dry your towels, the detergent residue will dry too, leaving stiff towels.
Luckily, this is an easy issue to solve – just make sure you are using the recommended amount of detergent when you wash your towels, and they will come out of the dryer soft and fluffy.
9. Consider if it is time for new towels
But what if you’ve followed every instruction listed in this article and your towels are still stiff and scratchy? It might be time for new towels. When towels have been washed, dried and used a number of times over the years, the fibers start to break down, making them scratchier and less absorbent.
If this applies to your towels, it might be time to buy some more. Make sure you buy high quality towels that are 100% cotton in order to get the most use out of them. Also, ensure you always dry your towels according to the instructions in this article in order to maintain their fluffiness.