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I am a different tech, if the towels are coming out rough either the fabric softener dispenser is not being rinsed or possibly there is too little softener in the unit. Try filling up the dispenser full with softener and see what happens. If the solution is all rinsed out of the dispenser it is getting into the machine so the machine will not actually be causing this, so that would mean there is a chance you got a bad bottole of Downy. I have seen that happen
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The machine itself will not make them feel like that, now if the towels are old they will feel like that as well. You can try to run vinegar through the machine to clear it out, but if these are the same towels from 5 years ago the towels may be old and they get sand paper like after that many washes since the fabric breaks down.