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How to wash towels and microfiber cloth towels for perfectly fluffy results

1. Separate towels into their own loads of lights and darks

First, pull out the towels from other clothing and linens. Then separate white and light colored towels from dark colored ones into separate piles. Any towel darker than pale yellow should be in the dark pile. Towels being highly absorbent, white and light ones could pick up the dye from darker ones and become discolored over time. Dark towels, having transferred their dye to the white and light towels, may fade.



Ellewin Bamboo Hair Towel Wrap

Best bamboo

Bamboo is grossly underrated when it comes to hair care, but Ellewin’s microfiber hair towel makes a strong argument for why you should give it a second look. Made from a blend of bamboo charcoal fibers as well as traditional microfibers, it can hold up to seven times its weight in water — directly from your wet strands. The best part is that the towel dries without losing its hold, so you can count on it to stay in place while you mosey around the house.

ELLEWIN Bamboo Hair Towel Wrap


Ellewin Bamboo Hair Towel Wrap $8 Buy Now

Benefits Of Towel Drying Hair

When done right, there are countless benefits of towel drying your hair. Some of the most significant ones include the following:

1. When you use a blow dryer, your hair is exposed to heat. Excessive heat can turn your hair frizzy and damage it. Towel drying saves your hair from getting exposed to extreme heat.

2. When you use a towel, you do not need to apply any product to dry your hair safely. Styling products and heat protectants often accumulate and build-up on your scalp leading to other hair and scalp issues. This doesn’t happen when you use a towel for drying hair.

3. There is little or no friction when you dry your hair with a towel (of course, you shouldn’t be rubbing your hair with the towel). The less the friction, the better it is for the health of your hair.

How to wash towels so they are soft

Too much detergent, as we’ve already said, can result in stiff, scratchy towels. Another reason why your towels might no longer feel soft is hard water. And, as we’ve said above, fabric softener is not a good fix for softening towels because it stops them becoming absorbent. So, how to restore them so they feel like new? 

First, wash them on a warm cycle with a cup of white vinegar (but no detergent). Then wash them on a second warm cycle with half a cup of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Allow your towels to dry thoroughly (read on to find out the best way to do this), and they should feel like new.

Find more ways to clean your home with bicarbonate of soda in our guide.

(Image credit: Dunelm)

How to wash microfiber towels

Need to wash your microfiber towels? Washing these fast-drying bathroom towels is slightly different to washing your common cotton terry cloth variety. When machine washing, never load them in with terry towels as the terry cloth can cause fluff and lint to stick to your microfiber towels.

We’d recommend skipping the fabric softener when you’re washing microfiber. Ditto to washing them at a high temperature as that can ruin them permanently. Microfiber is made up of polyester so if boil washed, it will clump and damage the towels. 

Another good tip is to air-dry microfiber because exposing them to high heat in a tumble dryer will dissolve and harden the synthetic fabric and in turn, will ruin your towels.

Washing Towels with Vinegar

To prevent colors from bleeding, wash colored towels with similar shades in warm water for the first several washes. Use about half the recommended amount of detergent while washing towels and add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the water during the rinse cycle. The vinegar helps set the colors and removes excess detergent residue.

Related: How to Clean Almost Every Surface of Your Home With Vinegar

laundry room white open shelves with folded towels and products Credit: Brittany Ambridge

How to Use Fabric Softener with Towels

Use fabric softener according to directions, but add it only every three or four washes. Waxy buildup from softeners can deteriorate the towel fibers over time and reduce their absorbency. No one wants a towel that's not fluffy, so be careful when using fabric softener with towels.

6. Set the water temperature to hot (for whites) or warm (for like colors)

Set the water temperature according to the color category of towels as follows:

  • For white/light colors, set the water temperature to hot. This temperature helps brighten white or light towels.
  • For dark colors, set the water temperature to warm. This temperature helps eliminate bacteria yet preserve color.

Is Towel Drying Your Hair Good Or Bad?

There is a right and wrong way to towel-dry your hair.

When your hair is wet, it is at its most fragile state. At this point, rubbing it vigorously with a towel can cause long-term hair damage and cause your hair to fall out. Excessive rubbing with a towel can also lead to major frizz.

However, if you are gentle, use the right kind of towel, and take a few simple precautions, your hair will thank you later.

An Old T-shirt

A microfiber towel is nice and convenient to have on hand, but if you don’t have one, an old t-shirt will do. Yes, an old t-shirt. Cotton t-shirts are soft, ultra absorbent, and perfect for drying freshly washed hair.  If you have curly hair, drying your hair with a t-shirt will help your curls clump and form perfect and frizz-free ringlets. This technique, formerly known as plopping or plunking, involves bending over and flipping your head upside down into a t-shirt to scrunch the curls of your hair, and carefully folding up the t-shirt rolling up the t-shirt and securing it to dry the hair. Plopping/plunking helps curls form much more easily, and for some people, it helps to elongate the curls and mitigate shrinkage as the hair drys.

Vernon Francois Microfiber Towel

Best for coily & kinky hair

  • Fabric: Microfiber

  • Size range: 70cm x 140cm

  • Color options: White

  • Machine washable: Yes

From none other than Lupita Nyong’o’s hairstylist, Vernon Francois, comes this microfiber towel designed specifically for the curliest hair types. To the naked eye it may seem like the white hair wrap is just your basic bath towel, but Francois is a textured hair pro, so you can be sure that this microfiber hair towel can handle any level of coil, kink, wave, or bend. Not only does the product soak up moisture from strands quicker than traditional cotton towels, but it also encourages the natural pattern of curls to form, sans frizz.

VERNON FRANÇOIS Microfiber Towel

Vernon Francois Microfiber Towel $18 Buy Now