How to Clean Stiff Washcloths

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups white vinegar

  • Bowl

  • Spoon

  • Cleaning gloves

  • Washing machine

  • Clothes dryer


Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the wash cycle to infuse the washcloths with a fresh scent.


Be careful around the hot white vinegar to prevent burning yourself.

Soft washcloths make showering more pleasant.

Washcloths are supposed to feel soft and soothing upon skin, not coarse and irritating. Laundering washcloths with excessive detergent, however, causes their fibers to collect detergent residue and become stiff and rough. Although commercial fabric softeners are supposedly formulated to soften washcloths, they actually coat washcloth fibers with silicone that makes washcloth less absorbent and plush over time. Simply laundering stiff washcloths using certain techniques immediately softens the washcloths' rough fibers, making them comfortable to use again.

Step 1

Pour 1 cup of hot white vinegar and 1/2 cup of hot water in a bowl. Thoroughly mix the hot vinegar and water. Hot white vinegar dissolves detergent residue in washcloth fibers.

Step 2

Submerge the stiff washcloths in the hot vinegar solution while wearing cleaning gloves. Let the washcloths soak overnight.

Step 3

Remove the washcloths from the vinegar solution and place them in the washing machine. Set the wash machine to the water temperature setting advised on the washcloths' care labels. Do not add laundry detergent to the wash.

Step 4

Let the washing machine proceed with the cycles. Add 1 cup of white vinegar (at room temperature) to the rinse cycle.

Step 5

Remove the washcloths from the washing machine when the cycles are complete. Tumble dry the washcloths in the clothes dryer for enhanced softness.


April Dowling

April Dowling first started writing in high school and has written many news articles for newspaper and yearbook publications. She is currently pursuing a career as an online writer and affiliate marketer. Dowling writes for several websites and keeps many blogs.