Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons Learned – I’ve Been Abusing My Towels in the Laundry for Decades!

Lessons Learned – I’ve Been Abusing My Towels in the Laundry for Decades!

I LOVE thick, fluffy, soft bath sheets! The basic bath towel is too skimpy for my pleasure.  Despite the luxuriousness of the bath sheet, finding one of appropriate quality, loft, softness and absorbency is a real challenge. And every time I think I’ve found the answer, I come up short.

I know people who have received towels as wedding gifts and used them until they were nearly transparent. That is not for me. When I step out of the shower after cleansing following a weekend at a reenactment or after working in the yard or really just getting ready for an ordinary day, I want to be enveloped in a thick, fluffy bath sheet that causes me to sigh and thank the Universe for such delight!

So I research and buy the bath sheets that feel just right until they’ve been pre-washed. After I remove them from the dryer something is missing. Maybe it’s the loft. Or is it the softness? And after a few months the towels, which are subjected to ordinary wear and tear, feel lackluster, flat, somewhat coarse, and unsatisfactory.

Thanks to Google, I was able to conduct some research and discovered that I’d been laundering my towels wrong since infancy. Yes, tossing them in the washer with some Tide and Downey on hot to eradicate the smell of mildew was the wrong approach. Then moving them to the dryer with a couple of Downey or Bounce of Snuggle fabric softener sheets made it even worse. Apparently – fabric softener and fluffy, high loft, absorbent cotton towels do not mix. Fabric softener mats the pile and coats the towels with a slick, wax like substance that repels moisture. Hot water degrades the fabric. Combined, hot water and fabric softener yields yucky, unpleasant, scratchy, flat towels.

The secret, I’ve found, is white vinegar in the washer and dryer balls or tennis balls in the dryer in lieu of commercial fabric softener. In my front-loading washer I fill the bleach and fabric softener cavities with white vinegar and use warm water. In the dryer, in place of the ubiquitous dryer sheets, I use tennis balls. The results are fresh smelling laundry that is soft and eco-friendly without perfumes or oily residue.

How could I have gone so wrong for so many years? Now I’m ready to try again. It is too late to attempt to rehabilitate the abused towels we’ve been using. So, I’ve ordered a new batch and this time, they will be perfect. Really, I know they will. And  I ordered pretty colors.

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