Washcloths used for bathing/showers seem to lose their softness and start feeling rough really quickly. And putting them through the wash doesn’t completely restore them. Is there a certain way of washing them or maintaining them that can help them stay soft? Or certain laundry detergents? Or are washcloths used for bathing bound to quickly become permanently rough?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Prevent scruffy towels
    – Kevin
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 9:59
  • 2
    @Kevin Because I’m asking about a small cloth that consistently gets soaked, is used for scrubbing, and often wrung out, I don’t see this as a duplicate of that question. Commented May 4, 2018 at 10:56
  • Do you use a tumble dryer? If not, try that. If you do not have one, talk with someone who has, maybe you can have them dry some cloths for you.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 9:26
  • It may be minerals from hard water accumulating in the terry cloth. Try washing in hot vinegar to dissolve some... though the expense of the vinegar probably outweighs replacing the towel. Commented May 7, 2018 at 4:39
  • Using fabric softener during washes might help.
    – jmrpink
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


If you wash your face cloths (aka, “wash cloths”) and hand towels and bath towels with detergent and add fabric softener to your wash, the fabric softener eventually builds up on the towel/wash cloth and makes it rough. The fix for this is not to use fabric softener on new wash cloths or towels and for existing wash cloths and towels that are rough feeling try this:

Use hot water in your washing machine to wash your towels and wash cloths. Never overfill your washer with a lot of towels. Depending on the interior size of your machine, wash 3 to 5 bath towels at a time at the most. Instead of using detergent, add 1-2 cups of white vinegar as the machine is filling with the hot water. When the wash is done, add 1 1/2 cups of Baking soda (Arm & Hammer, for example) and wash again with hot water. Dry in dryer on hot. Depending on how long you’ve had your towels and wash cloths and used fabric softener, you may have to do this a few times to get them soft again.

To keep them soft, always wash with vinegar and hot water (no fabric softener) as above and dry in hot dryer. Vinegar is a cleansing agent that works great and will strip off all the built up fabric softener and leave your towels soft.

This is a great method and White Vinegar is actually cheaper than detergent! I buy the big 1 1/2 to 2 gallon size (not sure how much is in that bottle) for $2.19 at Costco. I’m sure you can get it at Sam’s or a grocery store as well. Price will depend on where you buy it and the container size... the bigger, the better!

Good luck with this.

Best Regards, Judy


Washing and drying anything - whether it's washcloths or clothes - puts the fabric through a lot of wear and stress. To keep the newness of a fabric, handwashing in cold water is the best way.

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