Why Is My Towel Shedding?

If you’ve ever purchased soft, new towels only to find that they leave behind tiny bits of lint everywhere, you’re not alone. But what causes towel pilling? Read on to learn more, along with ways you can help stop the extra fuzz and fluff from getting all over.

Why Is My Towel Shedding and Pilling?

Most towels are made from cotton, and cotton is a natural fiber that is subject to shedding. Lower-quality cotton fibers can make the situation worse since they are often shorter — and shorter fibers are more susceptible to pilling and shedding. High-quality materials such as Pima or Egyptian cotton have longer fibers, which reduces the tendency. Towels made from combed cotton will also not pill or shed as much because the threads are combed, which gets rid of the shorter fibers before the spinning process.

The age of your towels can also play a role in how much they pill or shed. Brand-new towels have undamaged fibers. With use, those fibers start to break down. This makes them shed and pill quite a bit, so it can seem like only new towels have the issue. However, even though it’s not usually to the same extent, it does still happen with older towels as well since their fibers still experience wear with use.

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How to Stop Fluff Coming off New Towels

If you find extra lint from your towels to be a problem, there are a few things you can do to help reduce it:

  • Freeze your new towels or soak them in cold water for a day. Once they have had their cold treatment, wash and dry them as you would normally.
  • Wash your new towels with either vinegar or baking soda before using them. If you are using vinegar, simply add a cup of vinegar into the wash. If you are using baking soda, dissolve half a cup of baking soda in about a cup of water and add it to the wash. In both cases, use hot water and your regular detergent.  For a powerful anti-shedding boost, use vinegar and baking soda together!
  • Always run towels-only washer and dryer loads. Fibers in the towels can become damaged if they encounter zippers or buttons in a washer or dryer.
  • Make sure you have enough towels. Overusing towels can mean the fibers get worn down more quickly — causing them to pill and shed. If you are in the hospitality industry or in any business where you need to use towels, keep enough on hand to avoid excessive wear and tear.
  • Use dryers judiciously. Where possible, dry towels outside. This will allow lint to blow off naturally and will reduce damage to the fabric, which can help reduce pilling. If this is not possible, at least use a lower heat setting and remove towels as soon as they are dry.

More Advice on Baking Soda and Vinegar Towel Anti-Shedding Booster “Baths”

As you read over the tips to reduce towel lint and shedding, you may have spotted one of the best ways to get rid of the “towel molting” problem — pamper your towels with a freshening vinegar-baking soda bath.

This method for washing your towels doesn’t just keep them towels from shedding and losing their fluff prematurely. It also gets them amazingly fresh and sparkling clean. Many homeowners and commercial business operators regularly run their towels through a baking soda and vinegar laundering cycle for this reason.

Of course, if you’re new to tossing kitchen pantry items into your washing machine with your towels, you probably want some extra hints on how to make the process a no-brainer that works every single time. Here are a few pointers to help you get towels that don’t shed:

  1. Only use white vinegar. Other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar, will not do anything good for your towels. White vinegar is the only kind you should ever use in any type of laundering process.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water before you add it to the washing machine. You’ll thank yourself later if you take this quick first step. What could happen if you just poured the baking soda into your washing machine? Quite often, baking soda will stick in clumps along the interior sides of your machine, which can require a secondary rinse with hot water (and no laundry) to remove the residue. It may even clump on the cotton fibers and not rinse cleanly away. Be sure to check your towels for any baking soda clumping before tossing them into the dryer or hanging them to dry.
  3. Launder your towels alone when you’re doing the baking soda and vinegar method. Forget about tossing in undergarments, T-shirts or anything else. Just concentrate all your efforts on running your new or pre-used towels through the washing machine on their own. That way, the fabrics will all be the same, giving you the most consistent results.
  4. Skip the laundry detergent on your baking soda-vinegar washes. Many towel owners want to know if they should put the laundry detergent into the wash cycle before or after the baking soda or vinegar. The answer is that you don’t need any detergent at all. The ingredients you’re using will help release any loose fibers and also temper bacteria on the surface of the material.
  5. Plan to use baking soda and vinegar regularly, but not all the time. You don’t need to keep a stockpile of vinegar and baking soda in your basement or laundry area. Just turn to this method whenever you order new towels, or when your current towels start to lose their absorbency, sheen, plushness or freshness.
  6. Avoid using any type of fabric softener. It will just hamper your towels’ ability to absorb moisture. It also could wear out your cotton towel fibers, which may lead to more shedding in the future.

Do You Need New Towels?

No matter how carefully you care for your towels, they eventually reach the end of their life cycle. If you need to replace your current towels, take advantage of the wholesale prices at Towel Super Center. We offer terry towels made from quality 100% cotton, and we offer a selection of sizes and colors.

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