I tried a 2-second tip to make towels soft without tumble dryer – and it worked like magic

I treated myself to John Lewis and Partners 100 percent Egyptian cotton bath towels because of how soft they felt in the store. So gentle on my fingertips, I just knew they were a part of everyday luxury that would make me feel good.

One of the best-known laundry hacks to restore fluffy towels after a machine wash is to put them into the tumble dryer. A tumble dryer can be expensive though, and for some people (like me), I simply don’t have one, nor the space to get one.

When I first washed my new bath towel, I was horrified to feel how scratchy it had become once dried. I had put the towel in a 40C wash with washing detergent; I didn’t overload the machine, nor did I put any older towels in the same wash.

All of these are general guidelines I have picked up on over time, but they still didn’t prevent my bath towel from coming out the wash feeling rough. Comparing the unused bath towel that still felt amazingly soft to the recently washed bath towel was like night and day.

All those extra pounds spent on 100 percent Egyptian cotton seemed like a waste if all it was going to do was feel rough once washed. It’s clear that I live in an area that has very hard water, but there was no way I was going to get a tumble dryer in my cosy apartment.

I did consider getting fabric softener, which I will do in my next weekly shop, but the towel’s label said: “Using too much fabric conditioner can reduce absorbency. For best results, tumble dry.”

Textile guru and CEO of New Sega Home, Brian Delp, recommended adding vinegar to a wash to Homes and Gardens, which can be especially helpful for when fabric conditioner does start to build up.

While I was tempted to try the vinegar hack, I didn’t want my towels to smell like vinegar, and nor had they come into any contact with fabric conditioner so far, so I opted for another solution.

Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy – a manufacturer of household linen, and known as the inventor of the first industrially produced looped cotton towe – told Homes and Gardens to shake the towels before and after each wash.

She explained: “Give them a good shake; this will open up the fibres slightly, allowing the detergent to sink inside every pore and make them super clean.

“At the end of the drying cycle, or before hanging them outside if you are line drying, shake the towels a second time. The act of shaking will loosen the fibers of the fabric, making your towels super plush and fluffy.”

The two-second tip seemed simple enough, and it wouldn’t cost me anything in the meantime, so I gave it a go, not believing it would do much good.

Taking the same steps as last time, putting the towel into the washing machine with only washing detergent at 40C, the only addition I made was to shake the towel before and after the wash cycle.

Each shake of the towel took about a second to do, so it’s the easiest hack I have ever tried when it comes to household chores. Once I had shaken the towel after the wash, I left the towel to dry on the drying rack near the radiator in the square-shaped hallway.

When it came to putting the towel away, I was delighted to feel that the towel had regained much of its fluffiness and softness.

The two-second shaking tip really did make a great difference; the hack basically works like magic, and it’s definitely going to be a part of my towel washing routine.

Moving forward, I will be trying the fabric conditioner (alongside the shaking tip) to find out if that will make the towel feel even more soft than it already does.

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