All You Need to Know About Fabric Softener
Almost every one of us uses fabric softener and some can't even live without it. It is one of the most popular laundry additives. But what exactly is it and what does it do?
What is a Fabric Softener?
Fabric softener is a chemical additive that is used in laundry detergents to make clothes softer. It works by coating the fabric with a thin layer of chemicals which makes them smoother and less abrasive. This results in clothes that are softer to the touch and less likely to cause skin irritation.
A fabric softener can also help to reduce static cling. Static electricity is caused when clothes rub together, generating a build-up of electric charge. This can cause fabrics to stick together and become tangled. The chemicals in fabric softeners coat the fabric molecules and reduce their ability to build up static electricity.
It helps to reduce wear and tear on clothes and makes them last longer.
What are the Different Types of Fabric Softener?
There are four types of fabric softener: liquid, dryer sheets, and dryer balls. The liquid is the most common type and can be bought in either a concentrated or ready-to-use form. Sheets come as individual sheets that you place in the dryer with your clothes. They dissolve during the drying cycle. Dryer balls are made of rubber or plastic and you add them to the dryer with your clothes. They bounce around and help to soften your clothes.
Is it Necessary to Use Fabric Softener?
It's not always necessary to use fabric softener. This applies to fabrics that deal with moisture, such as towels and sheets. If the fabric is not coming in contact with moisture, then using a fabric softener might be necessary to avoid stiffness or scratching.
Is Fabric Softener the Same as Laundry Detergent?
No, they are not the same thing. Laundry detergents are used to clean clothes, while fabric softeners are used to make them softer. Fabric softener can be added to the rinse cycle of a washing machine, or it can be sprayed onto clothes before they are dried.
How Much Fabric Softener Should I Use?
The amount of fabric softener you should use depends on the type that you are using. Generally, you should use between one and two tablespoons per load. However, you should always refer to the instructions on the fabric softener container to make sure you are using the correct amount.
What are the Benefits of Fabric Softener?
There are many benefits of using fabric softener. It can help to reduce static cling, make clothes softer and fluffier, and improve the overall appearance of fabrics. Fabric softener can also help to keep clothes looking new for longer by protecting them from fading and shrinking. Additionally, it can help to reduce wrinkles in clothes and make them easier to iron. Lastly, fabric softener can help to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean for longer between washes!
Is Fabric Softener Bad for Washing Machines?
There are fabric softeners that actually cause damage to your washing machine especially those that contain animal fats and petroleum. For example, the liquid fabric softener directly damages your washing machine by depositing oil that can clog up the pipes and make it more difficult for water to get through. This could slow down or even stop your washer from working properly altogether.
Are There Alternatives of Fabric Softener?
Fabric softener can be replaced with a homemade solution that is not only cheaper but also safer for your clothes and you. The following are alternatives of fabric softener that you should try if they haven’t been used before.
- Baking soda: It is known for softening the water. You can use it in each wash cycle. The amount you should use varies on how much laundry you have and the hardness of your water. Simply put some baking soda directly into the washer drum before piling it in clothes or inside a mesh bag and place it on top of clothes. Do not forget to remove the bag before drying your laundry.
- White vinegar: It has properties that tame static cling, soften fabrics, and clean dirt and grime from clothes. It is recommended for the rinse cycle since it will not make your clothes smell like a salad dressing if used during this cycle. You can add vinegar to the rinse cycle or pour it into a fabric softener dispenser.
- Epsom salt: Epsom salt is a mineral compound that can be found at any pharmacy, grocery store, or online. It helps remove detergent and soap residue as well as soften clothes without leaving behind a scent. Add one cup of Epsom salt to the washer drum before adding clothes and select a cold water cycle.
- Wool dryer balls: They are made of wool and they work by removing static as well as keeping clothes separated. This allows the hot air to distribute evenly among all items in a dryer without any tangling.
- Essential oils: Some essential oils have softening properties. Add a few drops of oil to the washer drum before adding clothes or add it to the rinse cycle. You can use lavender, chamomile, rose, or sandalwood oil.
- Hair conditioner: Hair conditioners can make clothes softer. Use it at the rate of ¼ cup per load or depending on how many loads per wash.
In a nutshell, fabric softeners are an essential part of our laundry routine. They can be used in a washing machine or dryer, and they make clothes feel softer and smell nice. Do not overuse fabric softener, especially on your towels and sportswear. Too much is not good for anything, even fabric softener.
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