When it comes to doing laundry, a common question is how to use fabric softener properly. From when to add it to the cycle, to choosing between different types, it can sometimes seem more complicated than it needs to be. But fear not, because this handy guide is here to simplify the process.
Here’s How to Use Fabric Softener for Perfectly Soft Clothes
We’ll show you how to use fabric softener effectively, while also offering solutions for common problems. By the end, you’ll be well equipped to achieve perfectly soft, fragrant, and static-free clothes every time.
What Is Fabric Softener, and Why Use It?
Is fabric softener necessary? We’d say in most cases, yes! Fabric softener, whether it’s liquid, dryer sheets, or reusable dryer balls, has the magical ability to make our clothes feel softer, smell great, and be static-free.
The compounds in fabric softeners lend a positive charge to clothing atoms, neutralizing the negative charge caused by loose electrons, thereby preventing static. Fabric softener also acts as a protective layer, shielding clothes from fading, stretching, and pilling.
When Not to Use Fabric Softener
Before getting into the mechanics of how to use fabric softener, it’s crucial to recognize that not all fabrics are compatible with this product. Fabric softeners can affect certain materials, impacting their breathability, moisture-wicking capabilities, and fire resistance due to the film they leave behind.
It’s best to avoid using fabric softeners on flame-resistant clothing, water-repellent fabrics, microfiber cleaning towels, athletic wear, and certain types of microfiber fleece and compression garments. Instead, opt for natural fiber wool dryer balls to reduce static in these materials.
How to Use Liquid Fabric Softener
To get the most out of liquid fabric softener, fill the fabric softener dispenser in your washer before starting your laundry cycle.
Do you use fabric softener with detergent? Yes, you’ll want to use both together! If your washer doesn’t have a dispenser, add the fabric softener manually during the final rinse cycle.
If remembering to add fabric softener at the right time poses a challenge, you can utilize fabric softener dispenser balls. These handy tools release fabric softener automatically when the washer spins at the end of the wash cycle. However, beware that if your washer doesn’t contain enough water for even dispersion, these balls can cause fabric softener stains on your clothing.
Natural Fabric Softener Alternatives: Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you’re concerned about the potential residue left by fabric softeners, or if you’re sensitive to the fragrances they often contain, you may want to consider using household staples like baking soda and vinegar as a natural fabric softener.
Using Baking Soda
For an effective yet simple approach, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your washing machine during the rinse cycle. It can also help remove residues from overusing fabric softeners and detergents. It will balance the pH level in your washer, effectively softening your fabrics and leaving your clothes feeling fresh and clean.
The Power of Vinegar
White vinegar is another excellent fabric softener alternative. Vinegar’s acidity can help break down detergent residue, leaving your fabrics feeling soft and preventing that crunchy texture sometimes left behind after a wash. It’s especially great for dealing with stiff towels, as it can maintain their absorbency by eliminating any soapy buildup.
To use vinegar as a fabric softener, simply add 1/2 cup to your machine’s fabric softener dispenser or during the rinse cycle. Don’t worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar — the scent will dissipate as your clothes dry.
How to Use Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are another way to utilize the benefits of fabric softener. First, load your wet laundry into the dryer, giving each item a quick shake to minimize wrinkles. Add a dryer sheet on top of the load, ensuring it can circulate freely in the dryer without getting trapped between garments. Remember to remove and dispose of the dryer sheet after the cycle is complete.
How to Use Dryer Balls
Dryer balls, either made from natural wool or synthetic materials, offer a chemical-free alternative to traditional fabric softeners. Simply add two or three dryer balls to the drum on top of the wet laundry. Not only do they help to absorb static, but they can also be reused, making them a cost-effective solution.
Maintaining Your Appliances
Now that you know how to use fabric softener, it’s equally important to care for your appliances. Regularly clean your washer to prevent soil and odors from building up due to the lubricants from the fabric softener. Similarly, clean your dryer at least four times a year if you’re using dryer sheets to avoid residue redepositing on fabrics.
While fabric softeners have many benefits, they’re not essential for every wash. Their usage depends largely on the type of fabric and personal preference. Use fabric softeners with discretion and remember that moderation is key.
If you’re having trouble with your washer that goes beyond softeners, don’t hesitate to contact Callahan’s Appliance for professional washer service. Our team of skilled professionals is ready to assist you with all your appliance needs.