Nancy asked: The thick, soft washcloths I bought my daughter come out of the dryer stiff and prickly after my son-in-law uses them. My daughter thinks it is because he uses too much soap and doesn’t rinse them thoroughly. How can she made them soft and fluffy again? The wash cloths are thick, cotton terry.
While more soap would seem to get the clothes cleaner, its not the case when the extra soap cannot be removed effectively. When too much laundry detergent is used in a wash cycle, it leaves a residue on the surface of the fabric. This residue dries and leaves the fibers feeling stiff and rough. It sounds as though this residue is what is ruining your wash cloths. However, they can be saved.
Removing Excess Soap
If the problem is recent, another correct washing will revitalize them and bring them back to their former glory. Run them through another washing cycle, but do not add any detergent. This will allow the existing detergent to be washed away.
Removing Tough Build-Up
If another washing is not enough to restore the cloths, there may be long-term soap build up on the fabrics that is similar to soap scum in the shower and it needs to be dissolved. Another possibility is that hard water is contributing to a build-up of mineral deposits on the clothes that also need to be dissolved. To remove this tough residue, fill a sink or bucket with a gallon of water and add a cup of white vinegar. Soak the stiff fabrics in the solution for half an hour, then rinse them thoroughly and dry as usual.
- If the washcloths or other fabrics are coming out of the laundry stiff regardless of how much soap is being used, it could be that hard water is the culprit. In that case, add a powdered water softener product to the wash or consider installing a home water softener.
- In the future, limit the amount of soap used and run an extra rinse cycle as needed to remove all of the soap.
- A fabric softener can also be used to help restore the softness to the fabric. Again, use the recommended amounts as too much will not produce the desired results.
- A cup of white vinegar can be used in place of commercial fabric softener.
- Clean It Fast, Clean It Right by Jeff Bredenberg
- Cleaning Plain and Simple by Donna Smallin