I was given some used terry cloth fitted diapers with snaps and I also have some old towels that I'd like to cut up and make wipes and diapers with, but they are old and we only line dry and apparently the people who gave us the dipes do too, because they are all stiff and scratchy feeling. Even when I dry them in the dryer (which I can't do every time) they still don't feel soft enough to use on a baby.
I'm assuming I can use fabric softener on them a couple of times and they will still be just as absorbent because they are terry cloth, right? Will one washing with softener and a dry in the dryer keep them soft enough to line dry a few times in between? What's the best way to soften 100% cotton terry cloth? Vinegar only helps a tiny bit.
(if it's important at all, I have switched to Charlie's detergent but the laundry still feels the same)
Don't use laundry softener. Not even on terry cloth, because it will affect the absorbency. The thing with fabric softener is that it coats the fabric to make it softer, thus interfering with absorbency. This holds true for terry cloth too.
As for making them softer, I don't know what you could do except for what you have already tried.
Ecover fabric softener is safe to use and it works well! I use it on my bamboo diapers. Don't use any other softeners though. I mostly line dry and then put the fitteds in the dryer for a dew minutes to fluff them up:)