We spent 4 weeks testing 23 popular types of fabric softeners to come up with this review of the top 5 best fabric softener. We factored in action, capacity, type, and extras. The number one fabric softener is the Downy Ultra Fabric Softener Free and Sensitive Liquid because it satisfied all of our important checklist items. The fabric softener does a good job making clothes soft and prevents against fading, static, stretching and fizz. This is also a hypoallergenic product fit for people with sensitive skin. The load capacity is also decent for a small to medium-sized family and is an affordable choice considering what it brings to the table.
Fabric Softener Reviews
We sought out the best selling and most popular fabric softeners and tested a good number of them to narrow down our choices to the five best ones. The criteria we used include;
Action – what the fabric softener actually does besides softening fabric?
Capacity – how many loads you can do per packaging?
Type – is it a washer or dryer fabric softener and is it in liquid, sheet, ball or pack form?
Extras – what additional qualities does it have such as no synthetic chemicals or fibers?
We used the fabric softeners we had picked out over the course of four weeks and took notes based on the aforementioned checklist. We used the same checklist to rank the top 5 best fabric softeners.
Fabric Softener Buyer’s Guide
What is Fabric Softener?
Fabric softener is a product used when cleaning or drying laundry primarily to soften garments. Fabric softeners also prevent against static while others also prevent against fading, wrinkles and shrinking.
Types of Fabric Softeners
Fabric softeners come in three main forms; liquid, sheets or balls.
Liquid: Liquid fabric softeners are typically used with washing machines and are generally most effective. They are particularly good at softening and eliminating static. These can be a little expensive compared to the other two options.
Sheets: fabric softener sheets can be used in a washing machine or dryer. They are very simple to use and do a decent job softening and protecting against static. The sheets don’t typically come with the wide array of qualities compared to the liquid softener. Overall, these are more affordable than the liquid counterparts.
Balls: these are typically called dryer balls and used in dryers. Their main selling point is eco-friendly because they are reusable. Dryer balls may not be as effective as liquid softeners especially if you are looking for extras but they are very economical.
Why Use Fabric Softeners?
Many people wonder if fabric softeners are necessary in the first place. Although their benefits are alluded to throughout this article, it’s still worth looking at why you should use fabric softener with your clothing.
Great Scent: Fabric softeners have a nice fragrance that lasts for a long time. Most brands have a good selection of scents for you to pick your favorite one.
Maintain Garments: If used correctly, fabric softeners can keep your clothes and fabrics looking new for longer. Some brands such as the Downy Ultra Fabric Softener prevent fading so your clothes don’t get old as quickly.
Easy Ironing: A good fabric softener straightens the fabric’s fibers to make ironing much easier.
Less Static: Most fabric softeners eliminate static if this is a common problem you face.
Tips for Using Fabric Softener
First, check the all garment labels to ensure that you can use fabric softener on them. Not all clothes are safe to use with fabric softener, even mild products.
Follow the manufacturer’s direction on the side of box or bottle before use. This information should help you figure out how much softener to use for the size of your load. Also be sure to read the washer’s instruction manual if you don’t know how or where to pour liquid fabric softener.
You are free to use your regular detergent with fabric softener. The softener doesn’t actually clean your clothes so you still need detergent.
Use fabric softener sparingly on cotton towels as too much use can reduce the fabric’s absorbency.
Use the recommended amount of fabric softener. Too much product may stain your clothes.
Finally, avoid using fabric softener on baby clothes or if you have sensitive skin unless it’s certified hypoallergenic.
What to Look For in A Fabric Softener
There are a few qualities to look for in a fabric softener. We used these same criteria to choose the products we were going to test as well as for ranking this top 5 list.
A good fabric softener should do more than simply soften the fabric. The additional action includes reducing static, smoothing wrinkles, preventing fading and shrinking and maintaining the fabric in it’s original condition. The Downy Ultra Fabric Softener Free and Sensitive Liquid offers one of the best action you can expect to find on the market.
Value for Money
This refers mainly to how many loads you can do with a single purchase. You may have to sacrifice on action or other considerations featured here. All the same, if all you want is a product that softens fabric, reduces static and leaves clothes smelling fresh for a long time, the Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets, Outdoor Fresh is a perfect choice.
The most eco-friendly fabric softeners you can find on the market are typically wool balls. These don’t contain any harmful chemicals, scents or dyes and are reusable multiple times. These softeners also offer great value for money. A good choice here is the Smart Sheep Dryer Balls Natural Fabric Softener. Make sure that you are getting 100% authentic and natural fibers as there are many knock-offs on the market.
We advise that you don’t use fabric softener on baby clothes if at all possible simply as a precaution. Still, there are plant-based options with zero toxins and harsh chemicals or dyes such as the Downy Ultra Fabric Softener Free and Sensitive Liquid. You definitely also need a hypoallergenic softener if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition.
Finally, you have a choice between washer and dryer fabric softener. The choice is up to you depending on what’s most convenient. You may, however, find that liquid softeners tend to perform better than other types. These are also reserved for use with a washing machine.
We tested multiple popular brands of fabric softener to come up with this list of the top 5 best fabric softener. The main word of advice here is to follow directions for use to avoid disappointments. Also, make sure that the fabrics you are laundering are safe to use with fabric softener.
Overall, all the top 5 products mentioned here performed well. We took many different needs into account and made some suggestions to that effect. We would be proud to recommend any product on our top 5 list of best fabric softeners.