4 Hotel Tricks to Make Towels More Absorbent

It’s important that bath towels can absorb plenty of water, helping users dry off quickly and thoroughly. Likewise, towels that are used in the kitchen or other workspaces need to absorb a mess quickly, leaving an area that is fully dry and ready for the next task. 

In hotels, if the towels are not absorbent, guests will simply use more towels, costing the hotel time in laundering and money in towels. Because of this, hotels employ certain tricks to make towels more absorbent, helping save money while increasing satisfaction among both employees and guests. 

Oftentimes, new towels will have fabric softener on them to make them feel luxurious, but this can also reduce their ability to absorb moisture. By removing residue from the towels, they can become more absorbent. Try these four methods to see which one works best for you:

1. Vinegar

Vinegar can help to make towels more absorbent by eliminating residues and softening fibers. Follow these steps:

  1. Wash towels in hot water using regular detergent. Do not add fabric softener or dryer sheets as fabric conditioners.

  2. Add one cup of distilled white vinegar during the rinse cycle to dissolve soap residue and mineral deposits such as soap scum.

  3. Let the washing machine complete its rinse cycle, using vinegar as part of its solution.

  4. Dry the towels either by hanging them or placing them in the dryer without dryer sheets.

  5. When cleaning an older or heavily soiled towel, repeat this process several times to improve absorbency.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda can also help make towels more absorbent by eliminating odors, residues and built-up oils, which reduce towels’ absorption capabilities. To do this, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by washing the towels in your washing machine using hot water and your usual detergent.

  2. Pause the rinse cycle and add between half a cup and one cup of baking soda to the water. The baking soda will act as a natural fabric softener and break down residues that might be impeding towel absorbency.

  3. Allow your washing machine to complete its rinse cycle with baking soda added as part of its wash load.

  4. Once the rinse cycle is complete, remove your towels from the washing machine and either hang them up to dry or put them in your dryer.

3. Dryer Balls

Dryer balls can help make towels more absorbent by softening fibers and shortening drying times, thus avoiding residue buildup that might compromise absorbency. Because dryer balls improve airflow in the dryer, this can also speed drying times and decrease exposure to heat. The end result is softer and more absorbent towels.

Here's how you can use dryer balls efficiently:

  1. Before use, always be sure they are free from dirt or debris.

  2. Place damp towels in the dryer.

  3. Put between two and four dryer balls in the dryer. You can start with two balls and add more according to your preference and the results you get.

  4. To add subtle fragrance to your towels, you can put essential oils on the dryer balls before placing them in the dryer. Limit the amount you use to avoid leaving an oily residue behind.

4. Hot Water Wash

Hot water washing can make towels more absorbent by eliminating oils, residues and bacteria that accumulate over time. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Sort your towels according to color and material type. Washing similar materials together ensures better results.

  2. Make sure your towels can withstand a hot water wash by checking their care labels. Then, set your washing machine to use the highest water temperature recommended.

  3. Add your regular laundry detergent to the washing machine to break down oils, dirt and any residue on the towels.

  4. Place the towels into the washing machine while taking care not to overload it.

  5. Start the machine-washing cycle and allow it to complete its full wash, rinse and spin cycle.

  6. Once the hot water wash has finished, either hang the towels to air dry or put them in the dryer.

Periodically washing your towels in hot water can keep them looking their best and help them remain absorbent, but doing this too frequently could reduce their life span. Only use a hot water wash when towels are heavily soiled and need extra cleaning or when they require extra deep maintenance cleaning for absorbency. Otherwise, warm or cool water washings usually suffice for keeping towels clean and absorbent. 

Things to Avoid When Trying to Make Towels More Absorbent

To make towels more absorbent, avoid these practices:

  1. Don’t use too much detergent. Too much can leave behind residue that compromises absorbency. 

  2. Limit bleach use because it may weaken fibers and reduce absorbency over time.

  3. Dry towels on lower heat settings to prevent damage to the fibers.

  4. Avoid using fabric softener alternatives that might leave residues.

  5. Don’t overload the washing machine to ensure proper cleaning and rinsing.

  6. Skip using dryer sheets because they can hinder absorbency. Instead, consider using dryer balls.

Let Alsco Handle Your Towel Inventory

Maintaining and laundering towels can be a tedious task, but Alsco offers businesses an effortless solution. Our linen rental service will take away dirty, nonabsorbent towels and leave you with folded, clean and absorbent towels in their place. This ensures that you always have plenty of towels on hand that are free of tears, frayed edges or stains. All our towels have good absorbency, so your employees, customers and guests stay happy. 

Our towel service cuts down on costs related to replacement of towels, laundry detergent, electricity and washer and dryer maintenance while giving you back your storage space. All you have to do is ensure that your dirty towels go into a laundry bag. We’ll then swap them out with clean, quality towels. Depending on your needs, we can schedule weekly or biweekly towel drop-offs at your location.

Contact Alsco today to discuss your business needs for laundry and towel service. We’ll discuss your needs, our offerings and how we can simplify your towel laundering process so you can focus on other aspects of your business. 


How to Keep Towels Soft and Fluffy. (March 2019). The Washington Post.

Make Crusty Towels Feel New Again With This Simple Trick. (July 2023). CNET.

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