Clothes like cardboard unless tumbled

(30 Posts)
milktraylady Fri 12-Jul-13 15:09:25

Hi can anyone tell me why our washing is like cardboard if I line dry it?
It's all lovely & soft when tumbled. But that is daft in the summer & expensive.

I've run the washing machine on a 90degree wash empty with no powder- no difference.

(We don't use softener, do use method Eco liquid, or daz powder for whites.)

We are in SE England with hard water. Do we just need to use fabric softener?
Got a newborn, so don't really want to use softener.

Thanks!

BumgrapesofWrath Fri 12-Jul-13 15:12:18

Watching as I have the same problem! (though I find my washing line-dried isn't as stiff if I bring it in sooner)

milktraylady Fri 12-Jul-13 15:19:49

Aha so I'm not unique!
I'm sure a MN expert will be along shortly with a solution!

- I was hoping the 90degree wash would fix it, but no

I don't think you can really counteract this apart from taking things off the line as soon as possible after they are dry.
My OH is very delighted with our washing line finally set up (pulley system thing) but I am not so delighted as I do appreciate the daftness of tumble drying in summer but I also appreciate the softness. sigh. I will still be tumble drying towels although he claims it doesn't make a difference...which shows how much line drying he has done in his time!

notso Fri 12-Jul-13 15:23:59

I don't know why, I use softener and it still happens.
I just put it in the dryer for a couple of mins when it comes off the line, I hate crunchy towels and jeans!

soupmaker Fri 12-Jul-13 15:28:19

Give everything a good shake out when you take it off the line and before you fold it. I used to live in London and the water is rubbish. Now in Scotland where even with soft water washing can get a bit hard if there is no wind. No substitute for softener though. I've always used Ecover which I like.

Callmedreckly Fri 12-Jul-13 15:33:51

Why don't you use Ecover softener or Fairy softener for newborn clothes? Personally I wouldn't use Daz on baby clothes either, but maybe you don't.

You could put them in the dryer for 5 mins on cool , after being on the line. that should do it - plus you will get rid of excess fluff on the ' thingybob' you pull out of the door.

<not the technical name>

milktraylady Fri 12-Jul-13 15:38:09

Daz only for our grown up towels & bedding really. I hate using it (non Eco- poor wee fishies) but nothing else gets whites white! wink

Looks like Ecover softener is the way to go & a rough up in tumble dryer for 10 mins.

Thanks, but I was hoping for a washing machine trick. Oh well

Callmedreckly Fri 12-Jul-13 15:42:38

Maybe 90 is too hot, I don't know. grin
I only go up to 40 & maybe my water is soft.

Most supermarkets do their own 'Ecover' copy now as well, to save the pennies.

MrsOakenshield Fri 12-Jul-13 15:44:42

I use Fairy non-bio liquid (cos of DD's slight eczema) at 30 or 40 degrees, in London, and line dry and it's fine. But I'm not comparing to tumble-drying - possibly it would feel a bit crunchy in comparison to that? I love line drying though!

thecapitalsunited Fri 12-Jul-13 15:46:20

I think you can use white vinegar as a replacement for softener.

Bluemonkeyspots Fri 12-Jul-13 15:51:07

I get this as well but there is nothing better than a hard crunchy sandpaper type towel to dry yourself off with after a bath, soft towels just don't have the same effect (I appreciate I may be in the minority on this one though)

milktraylady Fri 12-Jul-13 15:58:18

Nooooo fluffy squodgy after bath is loverly wink
If I want to exfoliate I do it in the bath!

MNiscold Fri 12-Jul-13 16:27:09

I use the dryer for just 5 minutes for the things that get toooo stiff, then hang them out. This really does the trick, and I've even read this as advice in my local newspaper. Also, a bit of a breeze really helps; apparently it's the movement as the pieces are drying that keeps them softer.

sudointellectual Mon 15-Jul-13 09:30:28

The problem with washing in hard water: the minerals react with the soap and you don't get enough suds to actually clean your clothes. That's why they tell you to use 2 tablets in hard water areas.

It sounds like your water is very hard, so you need to also add a quarter cup of white vinegar and a tbsp of Soda Crystals to your wash.

milktraylady Mon 15-Jul-13 11:42:39

Ooh thanks sudo I will try that.
Rather than just more detergent?
Are soda crystals not really abrasive?
I will try it with white towels first I think.

valiumredhead Mon 15-Jul-13 11:57:55

You need softener!

MrsOakenshield Mon 15-Jul-13 12:00:59

softener isn't recommended for use on babies clothes, valium (OP has a newborn).

Bluemonkey - I love crunchy towels too! So tingly! (And they soften up after the first use). Soft towels just get very soggy and don't dry you properly.

ouryve Mon 15-Jul-13 12:01:28

We have the same problem. It's the hard water, I'm afraid. I use a little bit of fabric conditioner, apart from on towels, and extra rinses.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 15-Jul-13 12:02:07

I live in the SE too (just outside London), and our water is very hard. I have used fabric softener on both my DS' clothes since they've been born. I wash all of our clothes, towels, bedding etc togetehr, so the DS' bits don't get treated any differently. I just use Ariel liqui-tabs (one tab per wash) and Comfort/Lenor.

I line dry in the summer, and bring the things in as soon as they are dry and give them a good shake. Our things aren't at all hard.

ouryve Mon 15-Jul-13 12:03:02

sudo - the vinegar and soda crystals added together will neutralise each other. Soda needs adding with the detergent and vinegar in the conditioner drawer.

And soda crystals dissolve, milktraylady.

sudointellectual Mon 15-Jul-13 12:31:19

Oh will they? That's good to know!

mawbroon Mon 15-Jul-13 20:50:05

It's not windy enough! My washing dries stiff as a board if there's no wind, but that doesn't happen very often!!

PigletJohn Tue 16-Jul-13 17:03:58

save up for a water softener.

DubarryBoots Thu 18-Jul-13 15:15:02

Milktraylady - not answering your OP but in answer to your comment about Daz being the only thing to get your whites white but not eco friendly.

I use Ecover laundry bleach and it's brilliant.

My DP is a grubby farmer and my sheets and towels are white, so you can imagine the outcome of that at times! Ecover laundry bleach is brilliant at getting whites white and is eco friendly too. I use it everytime I wash the sheets/towels and it always bring them up good as new. I do find it's more effective when I run a long wash with it rather than a short wash.

I buy mine from Waitrose but have seen it in other places too.

GobblersKnob Thu 18-Jul-13 15:22:06

I sometimes give things a quick tumble before I put them out, tends to solve the problem as does ironing.

But I also love crunchy stiff towels, hate soft fluffy ones, they give me a bit of a shudder grin

I love crunchy towels too grin

Fishandjam Thu 18-Jul-13 15:33:02

I'm in a really hard water area and find that fabric softener helps this problem. I've always used either Comfort Pure, or Fairy - no problems with either of my DCs. (The time I used bio wash liquid by mistake is another story! shock)

The only things that go really cardboardy are towels, and DH's jeans (not mine, for some reason). I just give them a really good shake before folding. Maybe 5 mins in the dryer if I'm feeling extravagant.

Sparkeleigh Sun 21-Jul-13 23:05:56

Seconding MNiscold, putting them in the drier for 5 mins before putting them on the line seems to fluff towels up and stop them going stiff and crunchy.

Gerty1002 Mon 22-Jul-13 09:56:14

A water softener like Calgon in your wash helps, but not sure if it's eco friendly. I use that alone on towels once in a while and it de-crunches them beautifully! I think white vinegar can be used in the same way.

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