Fluffy towels are marvelous, luxurious things to have when first emerging from the bath. Lofty and warm, their texture is reminiscent of a comfortable hug. But as they age, even the fluffiest towels can become brittle due to many factors, including detergents, hard water, fabric softeners and excessive dryer heat.
The first—and easiest—step in keeping towels fluffy is to buy good-quality towels that will stay fluffy over the long haul. Higher quality towels are often fluffier and made of more luxurious materials that offer a fluffier feel than your average towel and will tend to stay fluffy for a longer period of time. Materials that make for fluffy towels may include:
- Cotton. Towels made from 100% cotton material offer the advantage of a fluffy texture while providing the benefit of a natural choice. Egyptian cotton is considered the highest quality of cotton towel fabric. Towels made from Egyptian cotton have longer, more-fibrous threads, making them fluffy and absorbent. Supima, or pima cotton, is made from the same plant as Egyptian cotton. Pima bath towels are comparable in quality to Egyptian cotton bath towels. Its extra-long threads make it extremely soft and durable. This natural fabric provides the user with a comfortable, fluffy towel.
- Microcotton. Microcotton is a trademarked brand of long-thread cotton developed in India. Bath towels made from microcotton are soft and fluffy.
- Microfiber. Microfibers are fabrics that are made with synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon. Microfiber is extremely absorbent—it can hold up to eight times its weight in water. Towels made of microfiber dry quickly, and do not become stale while drying. (If you choose microfiber towels, remember that they must be soaked in water and then pressed before use; otherwise, they will repel water.) Microfiber is very soft, but may not be as fluffy as cotton.
Once you’ve chosen the fluffiest towels, here are some tips on how to keep your towels fluffy:
- Wash new, fluffy towels in very hot water with a little bit of baking soda. This will remove any manufacturing residue that can adhere to your towel and make it less fluffy.
- Use a milder detergent such as borax or a general detergent booster. Detergents contain chemicals meant to stick to and coat the fabric. These chemicals are designed to repel stains on cloth but can, over time, build up on your towels, breaking them down and causing them to lose their fluffiness and become stiff and scratchy. Using a milder detergent will clean any residual detergents that fluffy towels can retain in their fabric.
- Fill the washer half-full with water, add half the detergent normally used, set the washer to agitate and add in the towels during this cycle. Doing this will keep the detergents from soaking straight into the fabric of the towel as it is being washed. Don’t overcrowd the washer, as the detergent may not fully rinse off.
- Add a small amount of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Since detergents can build up on towels, vinegar will clean through the residue of past detergent buildup.
- Add only the recommended amount of detergent to the wash. Using too much detergent will cause the towels to harden and become stiff.
- If you have hard water, add a commercial water softener to the laundry. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the package.
- Fabric softener will not make your towels fluffier—it can actually make them less fluffy as it adds a coating to the fabric, causing it to break down over time.
- Set your dryer to medium heat as opposed to high heat. High heat will take the fluffiness from the fabrics in your towels.
- Add tennis balls that you save only for drying. Tennis balls in the dryer will fluff the towels naturally.
- Rinse towels twice to help them keep their fluffy nature by ridding the fabric of any extra detergents absorbed during the wash cycle. This also works well if you have hard water.
- Dry your towels outside every now and again by hanging them on a line. This will help keep the towels fluffy for longer.
The best way to enjoy a fluffy towel while avoiding a towel that may become thin, stiff or scratchy over time is to buy one of higher quality. Remember that keeping towels fluffy requires care every time you wash them. Purchase towels that are of a good quality to begin with, and treat them right during the wash and dry cycles, and using your towels will be a special treat each time you take a bath or shower.