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  1. #1

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    Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Here in NC, our tap water is 3.13x the national average in calcium content (it will leave noticeable water spots on car paint). Any chance the "hard" city water could cause the towels to be harder than necessary, causing micro abrasions on the paint, wood, etc? Technically there`s now calcium residue in the towels (and trace amounts of so many other things).

    I don`t know if anyone has asked about this before or if an extra step could be to soak and ring out with distilled water after normal washing. Or, maybe vinegar would neutralize the calcium in the tapwater unless it causes some other damage to the towels? Maybe the whole thing isn`t even an issue, but couldn`t help but wonder considering the water spots the same water leaves around here.

  2. #2
    acuRAS82's Avatar
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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    I’m hoping the calcium and other things would come out in the wash cycle, no? My towels always feel nice and soft after a wash. If they feel rough I would be concerned that I need to change my routine, but that’s not the case luckily. I’m not sure how good or bad the water is here in SW PA though.

    I don’t think vinegar is a problem for towels.

  3. #3

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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Quote Originally Posted by DrewPT View Post
    Here in NC, our tap water is 3.13x the national average in calcium content (it will leave noticeable water spots on car paint). Any chance the "hard" city water could cause the towels to be harder than necessary, causing micro abrasions on the paint, wood, etc? Technically there`s now calcium residue in the towels (and trace amounts of so many other things).

    I don`t know if anyone has asked about this before or if an extra step could be to soak and ring out with distilled water after normal washing. Or, maybe vinegar would neutralize the calcium in the tapwater unless it causes some other damage to the towels? Maybe the whole thing isn`t even an issue, but couldn`t help but wonder considering the water spots the same water leaves around here.
    After washing my towels in really hard water since August 2019, I have experienced greater towel degradation from multiple rinses from having to compensate higher levels of detergent for hard water. But I wouldn`t be surprised if there is some level of mineral build up. I have recently switched back to Poorboys World Typhon MF Detergent and sticking to one additional vinegar rinse, the towels have been coming out much softer. I`d save your pennies by utilizing a quality MF detergent and single vinegar rinse, you could play around with using different levels of vinegar, as well.

  4. #4

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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMeanGreen View Post
    After washing my towels in really hard water since August 2019, I have experienced greater towel degradation from multiple rinses from having to compensate higher levels of detergent for hard water. But I wouldn`t be surprised if there is some level of mineral build up. I have recently switched back to Poorboys World Typhon MF Detergent and sticking to one additional vinegar rinse, the towels have been coming out much softer. I`d save your pennies by utilizing a quality MF detergent and single vinegar rinse, you could play around with using different levels of vinegar, as well.
    If I`m understanding, your single vinegar rinse after using the regular water and detergent in the same washing machine, so same identical time/style but two separate washes?

  5. #5

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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Quote Originally Posted by acuRAS82 View Post
    I’m hoping the calcium and other things would come out in the wash cycle, no? My towels always feel nice and soft after a wash. If they feel rough I would be concerned that I need to change my routine, but that’s not the case luckily. I’m not sure how good or bad the water is here in SW PA though.

    I don’t think vinegar is a problem for towels.
    I was thinking at least some of the calcium is left embedded in the fibers. I`m wondering if a capful of vinegar would neutralize what`s in the wash water, which if effective/not harmful is more cost-effective than using distilled water.

  6. #6

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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Quote Originally Posted by DrewPT View Post
    If I`m understanding, your single vinegar rinse after using the regular water and detergent in the same washing machine, so same identical time/style but two separate washes?
    Not an entire additional wash cycle with Vinegar, just an additional rinse cycle.

  7. #7
    ShaneB's Avatar
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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Vinegar in a rinse cycle will dissolve the calcium deposits and allow them to be drained out.

    You could always consider having a water softener installed for your house. Not exactly cheap but in this case ALL of your appliances would thank you.

  8. #8

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    Re: Distilled vs tapwater/microfiber towels

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMeanGreen View Post
    Not an entire additional wash cycle with Vinegar, just an additional rinse cycle.
    I sometimes do the opposite, running another full wash cycle (short version/"light soil" setting) with the vinegar as the "detergent" and then a rinse or two to get it all out (yes, that`s necessary in my case).

    IME it`s one of those YMMV things where you just have to do what`s worked for you in the past under similar circumstances (which vary a lot depending on what the MFs being washed have been used for).

    Washing/rinsing with Distilled sounds...like an expensive hassle to me, and I get it cheap in 5 gal jugs.

    ShaneB- Agree; I`m all about softeners and the house/shop each have their own. BUT..there is a downside (besides the sodium ions, which are seldom a big deal IME) in that sometimes when I use enough detergent to get things clean it can take a gazillion rinses whether I use vinegar or not. Could just be my water...YMMV/etc.

    When I left the previous shop with its awfully hard water, the (crap duty) towels that I laundered there took a lot of work to rejuvenate, more than many might say it was worth. Those mineral deposits were a bear to get rid of!

 

 

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