9 Best Fabric Softeners Reviewed For A Buyer in 2021

Your clothes need loads of loving and care to remain looking great. Putting them in the wash and mending any tears is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. For one, you may notice they fade after a while. Plus, they may not smell as great as they did the first time you put them on.

That’s why you need to get the best fabric softener. A good fabric softener softens the fibers of your clothes and leave a pleasant aroma. They also eliminate static cling, which makes them easier to iron. A lot of consideration goes into selecting the best fabric softener.

So, let’s start by looking at:

Do Fabric Softeners Really Work?

Fabric softeners contain silicon-derived compounds such as PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane). These chemicals act as “lubricants” that eliminate static cling. Your clothes last longer and are easier to iron once you eliminate such friction.

Older and most eco-friendly fabric softeners use plant-based oils to do the same task. They also contain de-odorizers that “kill” the microorganisms that cause foul odors in clothing. Some even have perfumes and other scents that leave your clothes smelling great.

Mrs Meyer’s clean day Liquid Fabric Softener

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Fabric Softener, Made Without Parabens, Cruelty Free Formula, Lavender Scent, 32 oz
  • Contains softening ingredients from plant sources, cotton extract, and essential oils for garden-fresh fragrance
  • 99% naturally derived ingredients, including water content
  • HE compatible
  • Brand: Mrs Meyer’s
  • Volume: 32 FL Oz
  • Type: liquid
  • Maximum loads: 32 per bottle
  • Scent: Basil, lavender & other plant extracts

Are you tired of the same old chemical scent of laundry detergents? Then, Mrs Meyer’s clean day Liquid Fabric Softener is the breath of fresh air you need. It gets its scent from lavender, cotton, and other essential oil extracts. Such oils don’t only make your clothes smell amazing, but they also work out the kinks and remove all the friction that creates static cling.

Mrs Meyer’s clean day Liquid Fabric Softener contains zero cationic compounds such as parabens. This makes it an excellent hypoallergenic alternative for people with sensitive skin. Each drop goes a long way. You can do up to 32 loads of laundry with one bottle.

It’s compatible with HE washing machines and driers, making a genuinely eco-friendly fabric softener.

Pros

  1. A little goes a long way
  2. Fragrance derived from plants
  3. Excellent fabric softening qualities

Cons

  1. Needs proper diluting
  2. Scent too powerful for some

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Fabric Softener, Made Without Parabens, Cruelty Free Formula, Lavender Scent, 32 oz
  • Contains softening ingredients from plant sources, cotton extract, and essential oils for garden-fresh fragrance
  • 99% naturally derived ingredients, including water content
  • HE compatible
  • Brand: Bounce
  • Volume: 240 sheets
  • Type: dyer sheets
  • Maximum loads: 240
  • Scent: Outdoor Fresh

Next on the list is one of the best fabric softener dryer sheets. You’re sure to have heard of Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets as they are a dominant brand in the market. What you may not know is they don’t just leave your clothes smelling fresh. They also reduce friction while your clothes are in the drier.

Result? Your clothes don’t leach dye into each other and come out with Bounce’s signature outdoor fresh scent. Each box is suitable for at least 240 loads, and you can even split one sheet in the middle for smaller loads. These dryer sheets are effective at repelling pet hair. So, you can reduce your reliance on lint rollers.

Pros

  1. Eliminates static cling
  2. Fair price point
  3. De-odorizing scent

Cons

  1. Non-hypoallergenic
  2. Can only be used in a dryer

Seventh Generation Fabric Softener

Seventh Generation Fabric Softener, Free and Clear, 32 oz
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear Fabric Softener is made for sensitive skin
  • Softens and reduces static cling without the use of animal-derived ingredients
  • Our gentle formula is free of dyes and fragrances
  • One bottle of our fabric softener delivers 42 loads of fresh, soft laundry
  • Our biodegradable formula is septic safe and designed to be used in standard and HE (high efficiency) machines
  • Brand: Seventh Generation
  • Volume: 32 FL oz.
  • Type: liquid
  • Maximum loads: 32
  • Scent: None

Do you have a sensitive nose? Then Seventh Generation Fabric Softener could be all you need. Its formulation contains no scent, which makes it perfect for you it even the mildest perfumes cause nausea. It’s a hypoallergenic solution for people that don’t like artificial dyes, fluoride, and other chemical additives.

It’s not only gentle on the skin but is also septic-safe and environmentally friendly. Seventh Generation Fabric Softener is also available in mild scents like lavender and vanilla. It’s truly the safest way to have the fluffiest and static-free clothes. They have a scent-free version and exciting alternatives that have scents like lavender and vanilla pod extract.

Pros

  1. No-perfume
  2. Eco-friendly formulation
  3. Hypoallergenic

Cons

  1. Scented versions are not as long-lasting as alternative products
  2. Non-static free finish

Downy Ultra Cool Cotton Liquid Fabric Conditioner

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Downy Ultra Liquid Laundry Fabric Softener, Cool Cotton Scent, 120 Total Loads (Pack of 2)
  • Downy Liquid Fabric Conditioner helps prevent stretching, fading, and fuzz
  • Cool Cotton is crisp and clean, leaving behind a freshly-washed scent
  • Fabric softener conditions while helping protect your clothes from the washer
  • Just one capful reduces static and wrinkles
  • Compatible with HE washing machines-simply use along with your favorite detergent
  • Brand: Downy
  • Volume: 51 FL OZ.
  • Type: Liquid
  • Maximum loads: 60
  • Scent: lavender and vanilla bean extract

Downy Ultra Cool Cotton Liquid Fabric Conditioner stands as a dominant market force for a reason. For one, its scent is so strong that it remains on your clothes even after a few washes. Their formulation is so well balanced that you may not even need to iron cotton clothing after using this liquid fabric softener.

It is compatible with HE washing machines. So, a 51 FL OZ. bottle can last you for 60 loads. The only major drawback is the scent may overpower some people. But, few other fabric softeners keep your clothes from fading or shrinking like Downy.

Pros

  1. Value for money pack
  2. Ideal for sensitive skin
  3. Pleasant scent

Cons

  1. Too thick for some
  2. Too aromatic for some

ATTITUDE Hypoallergenic Baby Fabric Softener

ATTITUDE Hypoallergenic Baby Fabric Softener (Plant-based, Non-toxic, ECOLOGO Certified), 33.8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1), Pear Nectar
  • Natural, biodegradable and hypoallergenic fabric softener that makes baby clothes soft without leaving a residue
  • Safe formula: free of dyes, optical brighteners, phenoxyethanol, parabens, formaldehyde
  • Hypoallergenic and dermatologically-tested: extra gentle for baby with sensitive skin
  • Eco-friendly product certified by ECOLOGO, PETA certified, Vegan and Cruelty-free
  • Formulated for cold water, HE (High Efficiency) and standard washers
  • Brand: ATTITUDE
  • Volume: 33.8 FL OZ.
  • Type: liquid
  • Maximum loads: 40
  • Scent: Fragrance-free, Pear Nectar, chamomile & Sweet Lullaby

ATTITUDE Hypoallergenic Baby Fabric Softener comes in soothing aromas like Sweet Lullaby and chamomile. Its natural and biodegradable formula makes it so hypoallergenic that your baby will enjoy swaddling in softer and fluffier clothes.

It’s free of dyes, brighteners, and other chemical additives, as all the ingredients are sourced from sustainable and cruelty-free sources. ATTITUDE Hypoallergenic Baby Fabric Softener is also gentle on your pocket. Each bottle will last for 40 loads, so you can pass on the savings to ensuring your baby has all the care he/she needs to grow up healthier and stronger.

Pros

  1. Available in pleasant and mild scents
  2. Made from natural ingredients
  3. Dermatologically certified as baby-safe

Cons

  1. Pricey
  2. Non-leak proof bottle

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep 6-Pack, XL Premium Reusable Natural Fabric Softener Award-Winning
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED: Set of 6 Original Smart Sheep 100% Premium New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls (no fillers, we strive to stay ahead of competition by offering exceptional quality and customer service) Felted in Nepal by women and minorities paid a strong living wage.
  • AS SEEN IN / AWARD-WINNING: Yahoo Lifestyle, Real Simple Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Slate, Bustle, and ABC News. Winner of the 2019 "Best of the Best" product awards by Hearst Media.
  • SOFTENS LAUNDRY NATURALLY: No Chemicals or Synthetics Used (great for those with sensitive skin & babies)
  • SHORTENS DRY TIME: Saves time, money and energy! (use 3 balls for small/med load, 5-6 for large)
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: Lasts for a Thousand-Plus Loads, Replaces Dryer Sheets & Liquid Fabric Softeners, Reduces Garbage Waste. (A healthy, petroleum-free alternative to plastic dryer steamer balls)
  • Brand: Smart Sheep
  • Volume: 10.88 Ounces
  • Type: dryer balls
  • Maximum loads: 1,000
  • Scent: None

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls soften your clothes without leaving coating them in lubricants. They are made from 100% New Zealand wool ethically sourced from merino sheep. This means they contain zero chemicals are effectively absorbed all the friction that causes static cling.

All you need is 6 Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls for each drier load. This effectively separates clothes, and you can even reuse them for up to 8 loads, which means one box can last you for 1,000 spins in the direr. You could add a few drops of essential oil to add a scent to your garments if you like.

Pros

  1. Made from 100% premium New Zealand wool
  2. Good for 1,000 loads
  3. Eco-friendly product made for ethically sourced materials

Cons

  1. Unsuitable for air drying
  2. May leave some items damp

Gain Original 240 Count Dryer Sheets

Gain Dryer Sheets Laundry Fabric Softener, Original Scent, 240 Count
  • Dryer sheets fight static in the dryer while adding the amazing Gain scent
  • Dryer sheets also help reduce wrinkles
  • Wash your laundry with matching scents in Gain Laundry Detergent, Liquid Fabric Softener, and Scent Booster Beads then add dryer sheets to the dryer to keep your laundry smelling amazing even after six weeks
  • You know that thing you would never do when you’re really happy, because that’s too over-the-top? Sorry, but when you smell Gain Original, you’re gonna do that thing
  • Instructions : Do not reuse
  • Brand: Proctor & gamble
  • Volume: 1.08 OZ.
  • Type: dryer sheets
  • Maximum loads: 240
  • Scent: original

Gain Original 240 Count Dryer Sheets’ Strongest selling point is its unique scent. This “original” scent is strong, but it won’t overwhelm your olfactory senses. Each pack comes with 240 dryer sheets, so it’s a more long-lasting solution than liquid fabric softeners and conditioners.

It may cost more than the Bounce alternative the list. But, its infusion of citrus and amber gives you a confidence boost. Best of all, these sheets have more uses outside your washing machine. You can also wipe your boots, furniture, office, and home surfaces to give them a fresh scent.

Pros

  1. Anti-wrinkle formulation
  2. Eliminates static cling
  3. Quality product from a trusted brand

Cons

  1. Can’t be reused
  2. Contains cationic compounds

Snuggle Plus Super Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener

Snuggle Plus Super Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener with Odor Eliminating Technology, 31.7 Fluid Ounces (Packaging May Vary)
  • Odor fighting ingredients
  • Designed to block tough odor
  • Strongest, long-lasting freshness
  • Static control
  • Snuggle softness and long-lasting freshness plus odor eliminating technology
  • Brand: Snuggle
  • Volume: 95 FL oz.
  • Type: liquid
  • Maximum loads: 90
  • Scent: lavender and Vanilla pod extract

Snuggle Plus Super Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener comes at the most affordable price among the products listed here. It delivers impressive results despite being a budget option. The powerful formulation conditions your clothes and leaves them softer for longer.

Another benefit you get from Snuggle Plus Super Fresh Liquid Fabric Softener is its long-lasting scent. This unique formulation doesn’t merely mask lousy odors but fights them at a microbial level. This means your clothes aren’t left with a fabric softener lining. So, you could even take them out of the wash and put them on without ironing them first.

Pros

  1. Eliminates pet, smoke, and other stubborn odors
  2. Value for money pack
  3. Long-lasting scent

Cons

  1. Unsuitable for people with sensitive skin
  2. Popular product, stocks may run out

Noodle & Boo Baby Laundry Essentials Ultra-Soft Fabric Conditioner

Noodle & Boo Baby Laundry Essentials Ultra-Soft Fabric Conditioner
  • Designed for Babies: A Pediatrician Tested Hypoallergenic Liquid Fabric Softner Conditioner with Our Signature Crème Douce Scent
  • Mild Formula With Naturally-Derived Sustainable Softening Oils, Infuses Cuddly Goodness Into Every Load, While Helping To Preserve The Condition Of Baby’s Dainties
  • Developed To Decrease Drying Time, Reduce Wrinkles And Eliminate Static Cling
  • Eco-Friendly And Biodegradable; Nothing But Goodness! Created Without Dyes, Formaldehyde, Phosphates, Phthalates Or 1.4-Dioxane.
  • Noodle & Boo Creates Luxurious Products Using Gentle, Wholesome Ingredients That Embrace Sensitive Skin Types. Our Products Are Envisioned and Created in a California Facility. A Portion of all Proceeds are Generously Donated to Children's Charities.
  • Brand: Noodle & Boo Baby Laundry
  • Volume: 32 FL oz.
  • Type: liquid
  • Maximum loads: 40
  • Scent: Signature Crème Deuce Scent

Noodle & Boo Baby Laundry Essentials Ultra-Soft Fabric Conditioner is specially formulated for your baby’s soft skin needs. But, you could still use it even if you don’t have a little bundle of joy but have susceptible skin.

This biodegradable formula contains no chemical additives so that it won’t irritate your skin. Best of all, it meets all the requirements needed to certify it as hypoallergenic. And, the concentrated formula will last for over 40 loads of laundry.

Pros

  1. Sweet signature scent
  2. Mild enough for baby’s soft skin
  3. Made from natural derivatives

Cons

  1. May cause piling
  2. Using too much may reduce the absorption quality of cotton

Best Fabric Softener: FAQs

1. What Is The Best Fabric Softener To Use?

Some of your garments, such as those that contain microfibers, don’t need fabric softeners. And, most modern detergents contain fabric conditioners. So you can skip it on most laundry days. But, sometimes, you need to feel that static-free freshness when you pop your clothes from the washing machine.

The following fabrics can benefit from adding a little fabric softener:

Cotton

Every day wear made from cotton usually generates a lot of static when tumbling around in the washing machine. Adding a little softener like Downy Ultra Cool Cotton Liquid Fabric Conditioner or Mrs Meyer’s can eliminate this problem.

Sheets and other Beddings

You spend up to 8 hours a day in bed. So, it may be a good idea to make it the plushest and most refreshing experience. Using dyer balls like Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls comes highly recommended.

Linen

High thread count linen generates a lot of static while in washing machines. Using a little fabric softener ensures that your linens don’t come out of the laundry in a tangled-up mess.

2. Why Fabric Softener Is Bad For You?

These days there’s loads of controversy on the use of fabric softener. Most people base their arguments on the chemical compounds used in these products. At the same time, others point out that the lubricants used coat clothing in a film that tarnishes their color.

Granted, all these are reasonable arguments, but it all comes down to “when” and “when not to” use fabric softeners. Let’s look at when it may not be wise to use fabric softeners in the text sections.

When Shouldn’t You Use A Fabric Softener?

Here are a few instances of when you shouldn’t use fabric softener on your garments:

On towels: It may seem counterintuitive, but fabric softeners don’t make your towels plusher. This is because they coat the fibers in lubricants that reduce their absorbency.

  • On clothing that features microfibers: Most of your sportswear features microfibers like polyester that give them sweat-wicking qualities. Continual use of softeners reduces such attributes.
  • If you have extremely sensitive skin: It may be wise to consider using only eco-friendly fabric softeners. Such products contain zero-chemical additives that may irritate your skin.
  • On flame-proof clothing: Flame retardant clothing such as silk and children’s pajamas often feature a warning label that advises against using certain detergents and fabric softeners.
  • While doing “whites,”: You can skip the fabric softener as it may contain dyes that can leave yellow stains on your garments.

3. What is the Best Long Lasting Fabric Softener?

Mrs Meyer’s clean day Liquid Fabric Softener and Gain Original 240 Count Dryer Sheets rank as the best long-lasting fabric softeners. But, this may be a subjective matter. You could also try Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls if you prefer a truly eco-friendly experience.

Verdict

Using fabric softener can be a test of faith for most of us. We usually pour some in the dryer and hope our garments come out feeling soft and fresh on the other end. Another pain point is the fact that the aroma may not be as long-lasting as you’d hope.

You can rest assured of any of the products on our list of the best fabric softener. If you use them wisely, you’ll get to experience the joys of wearing the plushest and most fresh smelling clothes.

Jan Mason
 

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