Are your towels holding less water than they used to? It may be that your choice of washing detergent contains fabric softener, which has residues that cling to individual fibers, rendering towels less absorbent. The next time you clean a load, add a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle; it will remove the residue and restore towels' soaking power. In the future, avoid detergents with fabric softener when washing towels.
Martha Stewart Living, July 2006