How to Make Towels More Absorbent

Seriously… someone tell me, please, because I’m super frustrated! 

The story… I’ve been searching for the perfect bath towels for our master bathroom and I finally found them!  That’s right, Cost Plus World Market to the rescue!  But, they were actually $14 per towel, which I think is totally ridiculous, so I didn’t buy them.  It was kind of a bummer, but then I was over at my mom’s house, which happens to be two blocks from a World Market, and she starts telling me about some towels she scored on clearance at World Market!  I almost had a heart attack thinking that my precious, perfect-for-me towels could have been clearanced and gone without my ever knowing about the sale!  We immediately strapped on our deal boots and marched right over there!

And then… there they were… 50% off!  And, it was just my luck, they had four bath towels and four hand towels.  Perfect!!!  I snagged them up, paid, and happily strutted back to my parents with my mom chuckling behind me.  Once home, the towels were an even more perfect fit stylistically than I had thought!



Now, here is where the problem comes in…. THESE TOWELS PUSH WATER, AND DON’T ABSORB ANYTHING!!!  That’s right, instead of absorbing the water, the towel acts as a giant squeegee and simply pushes the water around your body and on top of that, THE TOWELS LEAVE LINT ALL OVER YOU!!!

What’s a girl to do… I’m seriously contemplating returning the towels, but because they are exactly what I wanted, I am pulling out all the stops to make them truly perfect- i.e. no more squeegee affect or lint trail. 

What exactly does “pulling out all the stops mean?”  It means doing some Googling and asking you lovely people!


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  1. I don’t have an answer for that, sorry. But I did JUST buy all new towels for our house. We got them from Target and they are HUGE – bath sheets – and they were $10 and are amazing and absorbent.

  2. i had the same problem, how frustrating! I’ve washed them several times and the amount of lint they leave behind is ebbing. I also dryed them without a fabric softener sheet and that helped a little with water absorption. I’ll be interested in what others have done.

    • Good to know that I’m not alone! It looks like I’m going to be trying the “vinegar” trick… we’ll see how that goes! As for the lint, hopefully it will just eventually go away!

  3. They might be coated with something to make the fluffy in the store.

    You might be using too much soap (detergent is one of those things where more is not better).

    If you use fabric softener and/or dryer sheets on your towels, that is your culprit. They both work by coating your clothing/towels with a waxy residue, which repels water.

    Either way, just soak them in some water/vinegar to help dissolve that residue, then wash them in the washer like normal (but with less detergent) and instead of using fabric softener, add a cup of vinegar instead. You can add it in the the fabric softener cup or the little ball thingy just fine. DON”T use dryer sheets on them. The vinegar will do the “softening” work for you.

    And I PROMISE your towels will not smell like vinegar when dry. The rinse cycle will rinse it out.

    Here is more for you. See the “Care” section at the bottom:

    • Thanks for this tip! I have these great hand towels that are super soft so I use them on my face a lot doing my evening routine of washing, mosturizing, etc. They are not absorbent at all. I thought maybe it was just the soft woven fabric that was the problem. I will try this with them and if that works, I can get the bath towels in this style. Score! :)

    • Thanks Lady Ciana! I was definitely interested in trying this trick, but I’m glad to know that others have tried it and been happy with the results! Also, thank you so much for all the additional details! I’ll definitely give a post update when I give it a try! :)

  4. Those towels are really cute! I hope you can get them to work out!

    I Googled it and got this, but I’ve never tried it myself, so I can’t say for sure if it works. It sounds like the suggestions you got from Lady Ciani though, so hopefully it fixes the issue!

  5. Don’t worry, I have Cost Plus towels that fit our bathroom PERFECTLY so I’ve kept them as well. After quite awhile they start absorbing. And stop leaving lint. Key is to wash them over and over again. Maybe the vinegar suggestions speed that up? But just keep washing them and they’ll get softer and more worn and still look beautiful :)

  6. No answers here I am so sorry to say-but I am so interested to see what your solution ends up being- Personally I did go through a similar experince once turned out on my end that it was because I just cut the tags off and started using instead of washing first it seemed to me brand new why could I not use but there was a sizing product that once I washed came out and wa la absorbtion city now for the lint that usually works it’s way out over the washing cycles and we can always roll a lint roller over you (hee hee only mean in fun)

  7. How many times have you washed them? I had a similar experience with a set of towels I bought. After the first few washes, they still didn’t absorb much and left lint – I was very frustrated because they were the softest towels I have ever bought. I couldn’t return them, so I just kept using them and noticed that after a lot of washes, they finally don’t leave any lint and they absorb just fine. They are still very soft and don’t like using any of the other towels I have. Hopefully, this is all that they need. I don’t have any other suggestions. :( Good luck.

  8. Emily Kolopajlo says:

    I was going to say the same thing as LadyCiani. We use White Vinegar on everything in the wash instead of fabric softener, especially towels. To make sure that they don’t have a vinegar smell we push the extra rinse button, and let it go. I think that soaking them would help speed up the process. FYI: We put it in the fabric softener cup, and because I really love the smell fabric softener gives everything, I do 3/4 part vinegar, and 1/4 part softener. Or could always febreeze them before they go into the dryer.

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