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Soften ‘stiff and scratchy’ towels with baking soda and one other item – it’s not vinegar

Laundry can be a doddle when washing certain items, but when it comes to towels, this is where many struggle.

If you have ever washed a towel and it came out stiff and scratchy, you know how frustrating that can be. It seems like no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get the softness back. 

There are a couple of reasons why towels can become stiff. One reason is using too much detergent.

When you use too much detergent, it doesn’t all rinse out in the wash cycle. This leaves a residue on your towels that can make them stiff and scratchy. 

Another reason is not washing your towels often enough. Towels are designed to absorb water and they will do just that, even if it’s from the air around them.

Having found a way to “strip” her towels, Jenny Fuller took to the Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips Facebook page to share her method.

She said: “So, I finally got around to stripping my towels. It’s a mixture of one-quarter cup of borax and one-quarter cup of baking soda in hot water and leaving the clean towels in for a few hours to remove the residue build-up. 

“My towels are always so stiff and scratchy even though I’ve not used fabric conditioner on them for a couple of years, and now use vinegar for every towel wash.”

Sharing a picture of the dirty water left behind from the clean towels, Jenny said: “Anyway, this is the colour of the water when I took the towels out. Again, these were white, clean towels when they went in.

“The towels have definitely come out softer and fluffier. I’m planning to strip them once a month from now to try to keep them soft.”

Adding baking soda to your towel wash helps remove soap and chemical residue that can end up covering your towels.

Baking soda can be picked up from all local supermarkets, but it is priced the least at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s for just 59p. It can also be picked up from Asda for 65p.

When it comes to borax, as this cleaning agent is banned in the UK, a “borax substitute” is the equivalent you need to buy for your cleaning and laundry needs. Dri-Pak Borax Substitute retails for £2.69 at Rover Dyas and £3.55 on Amazon.

Borax substitute has similar properties and a similar pH level to borax, which is why it makes for a good substitute. 

It’s commonly used in cleaning because it is gentler than washing powder yet stronger than baking soda.


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