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Remember the old riddle – what gets wetter and wetter as it dries? The answer is a towel – but probably not a towel that has been treated with fabric softener! While the idea of a soft, fluffy beach towel is very appealing, using fabric softener actually decreases the absorptiveness of fabrics. Fabric softener temporarily seals fibers, limiting their wicking ability, and making them much less effective in getting the water off of you. To get maximum drying power out of your towels, wash them in a little detergent and skip the softener. If insects are bothersome on your beach, skipping the fabric softener may have the additional benefit of eliminating a perfume-y, bug-attracting scent. Try unscented detergent if you think it's still a problem.