10 Best Fabric Softeners

You might have heard the name of fabric softeners and seen their ads with lots of bright colors. They make your clothes look silky and smell like a whole garden of roses. These fabric softeners were first invented in the 1900s by the textile industry when they witnessed how the clothes after dyeing felt harsh and rough. They formulated soap, water, and different types of oil into a fabric softener, making the dyed clothes feel softer with a great smell. The fabric softeners became extremely popular because of their effective results. After some time, more chemicals were added, making a more impressive liquid composition of fabric softeners.

Fabric softeners can only be used with clothes after they are completely washed off the detergents. It is because some chemicals in fabric softeners can react badly with detergents. Detergents can easily wash off the fabric softeners as they are more chemically advanced and hard than fabric softeners. When technology developed in the late 1970s, fabric softeners were incorporated into dryers as drying sheets. They were more convenient to use than the liquid ones during the washing cycle.

Fabric softeners contain ingredients like conditioning agents and emulsifiers, which form a thin, lubricating film on the fabric.  So this whole process is just the game of attraction between positive and negative charges of ingredients and the fabric. They are designed with the aim that the scent remains in the fabric for a long time. And the fabric is protected from wear and tear. They also reduce the static and wrinkles more effectively than detergents, giving the fabric a refreshing and new look!

There are so many well-known brands that have manufactured fabric softeners. So, how will you know which one is the best for your clothes?

Best Fabric Softeners – Our Top Picks

In this article, we have compiled a list of some of the best fabric softeners in the market that offer great quality, softness, smell, and are budget-friendly. In the end, we will also discuss some FAQs which will answer your queries further!

Amazon Brand- Presto! Premium Fabric Softener

This brand by Amazon offers a premium and concentrated formula that offers excellent softening, reduction of wrinkles, and long-lasting scent by using just a small amount. It controls the static of fabric and retains the scent to be present in the fabric for up to 60 days. This product comes in a 100-ounce bottle that is enough for 150 loads.

Features

  • Works for both regular and high-efficiency washing machine
  • Only half the amount of standard concentration is used
  • Offers long-lasting smell up to 60 days
  • The 100-ounce bottle is enough for 150 loads
  • Premium concentration

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Softens the fabric efficiently
  • Long-lasting smell
  • It gives a refreshing look
Cons
  • Slime-like consistency is hard to pour and dissolve

 

Downy ultra-cool cotton scented fabric conditioner

The fabric conditioner by Downy offers a crisp cool, cotton-like scent that feels like a refreshing breeze. Just one cap full of this fabric softener will protect your clothes from stretching, fading, fuzz, static, and wrinkles.  You can easily use it along with your detergent, and it will protect your clothes from the washer! It consists of biodegradable fabric softening ingredients.

Features

  • Crisp cotton-like smell
  • Biodegradable ingredients
  • Works perfectly in both regular and highly efficient washing machines
  • Available in 3 forms: liquid conditioner, dryer sheets, and scent beads.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Protects clothes from the washer
  • Strengthens the clothes
  • Controls static and avoids fuzzing
Cons
  • Consistency is too thick, and it could be more pourable

 

Snuggle Blue Sparkle Liquid Fabric Softener

The 2x concentrated formula of the Snuggle Blue Sparkle fabric softener works amazingly in just a small quantity. Just pour some of it into the washer, and it will make your clothes incredibly soft by reducing the static and wrinkles. Its scent is a blend of white floral, bright green citrus, warm woody notes, and soft musk that leaves a long-lasting smell on your fabric. It makes you want to snuggle up the fabric. It comes in an 80-ounce bottle that is enough for 200 loads. It also works effectively in both standard and high-efficiency washing machines.

Features

  • 2x Concentrated formula
  • Blend of unique smells
  • Enough for 200 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Works for all types of washing machine
  • It can be used in the washer in less amount
  • Reduces static and wrinkles effectively
Cons
  • Extremely thick softener, not pourable enough

 

Downy Ultra Liquid Fabric Conditioner

Downy Ultra Liquid fabric softener comes in a convenient and easy to store pouch, making it easy to handle and pourable. It softens and freshens the clothes by reducing static, wrinkles, fuzz, stretching, and giving a fresh, long-lasting scent. This pouch works in both high efficiency and standard washing machines.

Features

  • Manufactured in half the packaging of a 51oz bottle
  • It comes in a pouch
  • Concentrated formula

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reduces stretching and static greatly
  • Easy to store and pour packaging
  • It gives the fabric a new and refreshing look
Cons
  • A bit costly than other softeners that come in containers

 

Snuggle Super-care Liquid Fabric Softener

The unique phosphate-free compound of this snuggle super-care liquid fabric softener comes in a 190-ounce bottle that is enough for 90 loads. It protects the fabrics from wear and tears along with keeping their colours safe from fading. Its unique lilies-and-linen scent lasts long on the fabric. The phosphate-free formula makes the clothes snuggly soft. It can be used in both regular and HE washing machines

Features

  • Lilies and linen scent
  • Phosphate-free formula
  • Keep the colors of fabric safe
  • 190-ounce bottle enough for 90 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Protects the colors of fabrics from fading
  • Protect them from wrinkles, fuzz, wear and tear
  • Works for both regular and HE washing machines
Cons
  • Extremely watery

 

Downy Fabric Softener April Fresh Scent

The uniquely formulated downy fabric softener has an April fresh scent that makes your clothes smell fresh like flowers. It reduces wrinkles and static more effectively than the detergents alone. It protects the fabric from fading, fuzzing and makes them look new by giving them a soft feel.

Features

  • 7 benefits in one drop
  • Unique scent
  • Concentrated formula
  • 90-ounce bottle is enough for 75 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reduces wrinkles more effectively than detergents
  • It gives your clothes a new refreshing look
  • Works in every type of washing machine
Cons
  • Softening quality could be better

 

Downy Free and Gentle Ultra Fabric Softener

This perfumed and dye-free fabric softener by Downy is tested by the dermatologist and is specifically made for those with sensitive skin. This fabric conditioner is hypoallergenic and prevents clothes from wear and tear, stretching, fuzzing and fading. It makes your fabrics soft and free from any scent. It comes in a 90-ounce bottle

Features

  • Biodegradable softening agents
  • No perfume and dyes
  • Tested by dermatologists
  • Specifically designed for people with sensitive skin
  • More concentrated formula
  • A 51oz bottle is enough for 76 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Works in all types of washing machines
  • Good for people with sensitive skin
  • Protects fabrics amazingly from wear & tear and fading
Cons
  • Softening performance could be better

 

Downy Nature Blends Fabric Conditioner

This uniquely manufactured formula is 70% plant-based. It means it is free of dyes and parabens. This formula also has a touch of coconut oil. It protects your clothes from every kind of fading, fuzzing and stretching and keeps their natural shape. It transforms them into a refreshing look as if they are new. Its soft and musky honey lavender scent is long-lasting and addicting. It is a bio-based product, so it is compatible with those with sensitive skins. It works in both regular and HE washing machines along with the detergents in small quantities.

Features

  • Plant-based formula
  • Free from dyes and parabens
  • Honey lavender scent
  • USDA certified biobased product
  • 2 bottles of 40oz are enough for 120 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Works effectively in all washing machines
  • Fantastic protection from fading, fuzzing and stretching
  • It helps keep the clothes their natural shape
  • It gives a refreshing look
  • Ideal for those with sensitive skin
Cons
  • The scent does not last long
  • Water-like consistency

 

Snuggle Plus Super Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener

This super fresh fabric softener has an odor eliminating technology.  It does not mask the odor by giving it a good scent like other fabric softeners. It protects the clothes from every kind of fuzzing, fading and wear and tear. It gives the fabric a unique snuggle-like feel. It comes in a 95-ounce bottle that is enough for 90 loads.

Features

  • First-ever fabric softener that offers odor eliminating feature
  • It comes in 3 types – beads, dry sheets and liquid conditioner
  • Low budget
  • 95-ounce container is enough for 90 loads

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Eliminates outdoor, body and pet odor effectively
  • Protects from stretching, fading and fuzzing
  • Works for both standard and HE washing machines and dryers
Cons
  • Slime-like consistency

 

Snuggle Super- Care Liquid Fabric Softener with Sea breeze

The amazing snuggle super-care liquid fabric softener is indeed one of the best of its kind. It protects the fabric from fading, static, wrinkles, fuzzing and keeping the clothes natural form. It gives clothes the best softening and snuggle-like feel with its sea-breeze scenthing. Besides, it is safe for both standard and HE washing machines.

Features

  • Specially formulated technology
  • 95oz bottle is enough for 90 loads
  • Available in liquid conditioner, scent beads and dryer sheets.
  • Fiber Care Protection

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Reduces wrinkles and static effectively more than the detergents
  • Excellent protection from color fading along with wear and tear
  • Works safely for all kinds of washing machines and dryers
Cons
  • Water-like consistency

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fabric softeners important?

Since technology has developed a lot in the 21st century, many fabrics and detergents have increased their quality. The formulas that fabric softeners might not be that much in use than in the 1900s when they were first invented. But still, they are effective for fabrics a lot. They protect the fabric from wear and tear and increase their quality by reducing friction between the fibers, as a result, reduces the static and wrinkles making them incredibly soft. The scented fabric softeners also give the fabrics long-lasting scents that make them look new and refreshing.

What kinds of fabrics are not compatible with fabric softeners?

You might have usually seen “avoid fabric softeners” tags on some clothes. Some fabrics like performance clothes, sportswear, flameproof clothes such as children’s clothes, water-resistant and synthetic fiber materials like polyester and nylon shouldn’t come in contact with fabric softeners. These fabric softeners form a thin lubricating layer on clothes to soften them, and these materials do not take up that layer nicely. They might damage the fabric, and the building of layers might make the clothes hard to wash, remove stains and odor. So do read the tag of your clothes before using fabric softeners.

What is the difference between detergent and fabric softeners?

Detergent is formulated with different chemicals and enzymes that break down stains and dirt in the fabric, remove and clean them. They also remove odors and dissolve them in the water. Meanwhile, a fabric softener is like an accessory that softens your clothes and makes them look refreshing. It also protects their colors from fading. After using detergent, the fabric might look rough and have wrinkles, so these fabric softeners reduce static and wrinkles. Therefore, detergents clean your clothes and fabric softeners protect them.

Why is it wrong to use detergent and fabric softener at the same time?

The chemical compositions of both fabric softeners and detergent are very different. They don’t react well with each other. Detergents are much stronger chemically than fabric softeners, and they wash away the fabric softener during the washing cycle. So put the fabric softener in a small compartment if your washing machine has it and put it during the rinsing cycle. So the detergent is thoroughly washed from your clothes, and a fabric softener can do its work. If you are using fabric softener dryer sheets, you can easily use them while putting your clothes in the dryer. Also, avoid putting the fabric softener directly on the fabric; they might cause stains, so pour it in the water.

What are the cons of using fabric softeners?

One of the studies has found that continuous use of fabric softeners can make your clothes more flammable, which is not good. They also build up a waxy layer on them, which, over time, makes the clothes less absorbent. So it is suggested not to use the fabric softeners every single time you wash your clothes. Use it once a month or two because these fabric softeners have a long-lasting effect so that you can have a soft and refreshing feeling for a long time, and your clothes’ strength will be protected.

 

Conclusion

Fabric softeners are specifically designed to provide your clothes with a refreshing look by making them soft. They also protect them from color fading and wear and tear. They reduce their static by forming a thin, soft layer on the fabric fibers and make them wrinkle-free. Fabric softeners come with different scents, so you can choose the one that matches your taste and comfort. Some fabric softeners are also designed with bio-based formulation and dye/perfume-free for sensitive skin.

It should be kept in mind that fabric softeners are not supposed to be used as a detergent. You should always use it after washing the clothes with a detergent and pour the fabric softener during the rinsing cycle after they are thoroughly washed from the detergent. So the detergent cannot mask the effect of fabric softeners and wash them away in the water.

To help you decide which one is the best fabric softener for you, we have compiled a list of some of the best fabric softeners in the market. Before deciding one, make sure that you are well aware that there are specific fabric softeners for people with sensitive skin, and they come in a variety of scents and formulas, so choose your product wisely!

We hope that our product information and FAQs can guide you in choosing the best fabric softener for yourself.

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