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Effects of Too Much Fabric Softener on Clothes

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Suzzanne Kamikawa

My Laundry Question

My husband always uses Downy on our towels and hangs them out to dry. My fluffy towels are now hard as a rock with so much softener in them. If you do not use the dryer they become hard, happened on several of my blouses. How do I remove the liquid softener out of the towels.

Share a Little Background Info

This is not a stain. To much Downy liquid fabric softner. Help. How to get the towels soft again.

I like my towels hung out to dry, we live in Hawaii and they smell so good when hung out to dry. Especially when the Jasmine is in bloom.

Lessons Learned

  • Not to hang towels out to dry in Hawaii with liquid fabric softener. Kept trying to use baking soda with hot water, din't work too well.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

I'm sorry you have this problem but I'm also envious that you're in Hawaii and have a husband that helps with laundry! Fabric softener builds up on fabrics and reduces their absorbency - even in the rinse cycle.

Here's what to do for your towels - fill the washer with hot water and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and the towels. Run them through a regular wash cycle (no detergent or Downy). This will help cut through the build-up. You may have to do this a couple of times to get rid of the fabric softener. You'll find that the towels are still soft when dried outside because the vinegar actually softens clothes by stripping out any build-up of detergent. Check out the other laundry uses for vinegar.

This same process will work for your blouse or any other clothing. Just wash on the highest water temperature recommended for the fabric.

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