How to get soft, fluffy towels
Whether you’re running a hotel, a spa, a salon or a sports club, soft and fluffy towels will keep your guests and customers coming back for more. Here are our top tips on how to get the best results from every wash in an on-site laundry.
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1. Wash before use
First things first, wash all your new towels before hanging them out for use. This will make sure any bits of lint and fluff or even chemicals used during storage will be removed. Popping them in the laundry before they’re used will also increase a towel’s absorbency, so it will be more pleasant to use and will dry hair and skin quicker.
2. Choose commercial washing machines
It can be tempting to use domestic washers in your laundry. However, commercial laundry equipment is a must in a business setting. Heavy-duty (yet compact) commercial washers and dryers get better results than high street machines, and they use shorter cycles which means your towels last longer due to less time in the laundry – so your bills will be lower too.
Domestic warranties also become void if you use ‘retailer’ machines in a business setting, and the size of the drum is bigger by design in commercial washers and dryers – again allowing you to do more laundry in less time to reduce those utility costs.
A high-performance commercial machine is designed to complete up to 35,000 cycles, while even the best domestic high street washers are generally only built to exceed just 10,000 cycles (and the cheapest may only keep going for around 600 hours).
3. Use the right temperature
Busy days (and nights) can lead to shortcuts in the laundry, but using a quick wash or express cycle for towels can mean poor wash quality – and bristly towels rather than soft, fluffy ones.
By the same token, although high temperatures are recommended for white towels, too much heat in the washer (and dryer) will leave them feeling flat and reduce their lifespan by fading or damaging the fibres.
Here’s a quick guide to common towel temperatures:
Coloured 100% Egyptian cotton towels wash best at 40 degrees – but avoid going above 60
White 100% Egyptian cotton towels will need a 90 degree wash
Fleecy bathrobes are best washed at 40 degrees
The above is a good ‘rule of thumb’ guide, but it’s also possible to get the same results or better at low temperatures – using ozone laundry. This natural (disinfection) method also opens up fibres more than a traditional thermal wash, which can give you towels that are 20% fluffier.
4. Use emulsifier
Oils, lotions, creams and other body care products can be hard to deal with on the used towels in your health and beauty spas. A common mistake is to simply wash towels with a standard domestic washing detergent. But beware that these won’t be a match for certain substances that need to be broken down more thoroughly in the washer by commercial-grade detergents – and more importantly, an emulsifier.
Any spa looking for outstanding appearance and fluffiness should always use an emulsifier. This enhances your ‘base’ detergent performance by working specifically on oil removal.
Spa, salon and clubhouse towels that have been incorrectly washed have been linked to an increased fire risk (oils + heat + oxygen in a dryer is a dangerous mix). Emulsifiers are designed to break down oils, creams and lotions while also leaving you with fluffy towels that are free of hardened or stained patches. Win-win if you wash lots of towels in a health and beauty setting.
5. Avoid fabric conditioner
Fabric conditioner can reduce the absorbency of your towels while residue from the liquid also gets trapped in the fabric – leaving them less effective to dry with and ‘greasy’ to the touch.
Why are my towels stiff after washing?
Towels can become stiff, scratchy and bristly if you use too much detergent, or add fabric conditioner to your wash. This can also make towels less absorbent too. Air-drying can harden the fibres...although so can over-drying in a dryer.
Hard water salts can also leave residue from fabric conditioner can make towels stiff, so ask your laundry supplier for advice on water softeners if you're not sure whether you're in a hard wayer area.
6. Tumble dry your towels
Drying in a commercial tumble dryer can help to fluff-up the fibre of a towel, giving them a softer feel and a more luxurious appearance. Try not to over-dry though, as too much heat will damage the fibres and leave towels flat and/or bristly, reducing their overall lifespan.
Always ask your supplier if their dryers are equipped with a sensor-activated fire extinguisher – this is particularly important for laundry rooms washing towels that have been in contact with oils and lotions.
JLA's commercial SMART dryers have inbuilt sensors which allow them to auto-dry your loads. This will ensure your towels last longer, and could help cut your energy usage by around 30% too.
7. Fold towels using the Marie Kondo method
Using the impressive folding technique of tidying expert, Marie Kondo, you can further improve the shelf-appeal of your soft, fluffy towels for guests, residents and customers. The Marie Kondo folding method is simple to achieve with effective results and can be applied to clothes and linen as well as your towels.
Watch this short video and learn how to fold like Marie Kondo...
From our OTEX ozone laundry solution to SMART, energy-efficient machines and SAFE tumble dryers, we have everything you need to get clean, soft and fluffy towels in your laundry.