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The Best Fabric Softener

Last updated on May 26, 2024
Best Fabric Softener

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Our Picks For The Top Fabric Softeners

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Downy April Fresh Floral Scented Fabric Softener

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April Fresh Floral Scented Fabric Softener

With this liquid fabric softener, you'll reduce the risk of your clothes fading, stretching and pilling. The formula is designed to keep allergens to a minimum, with no gluten, coconut, nickel, lanolin, parabens or soy. When you use liquid fabric softener, it also helps cut down on wrinkles.

Overall Take

Protects Against FadingIn addition to softening your fabrics, this liquid softener is formulated to reduce fading.

 Runner Up

Gain Original Long-Lasting Fabric Softener, 4-Pack


Original Long-Lasting Fabric Softener, 4-Pack

This fabric softener is part of a line of products in similar scents, available in detergent, liquid fabric softener, scent booster beads and dryer sheets. Combine them to give your clothes a scent that can last for weeks. You can use it in both high-efficiency and standard washers.

Overall Take

Lasting ScentUse this fabric softener with the same scent in the same brand of laundry detergent and you'll get a long-lasting scent.

 We Also Like

Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated Liquid Fabric Softener


Blue Sparkle Liquid Fabric Softener

You can use this fabric softener with both high-efficiency and standard washing machines. You'll get double concentration in this formula, which means one container will last longer while still delivering great results. It has a unique scent that blends citrus and woodsy notes.

Overall Take

Concentrated FormulaWith double the concentration of other liquid fabric softeners, this product gives you great results while using less.

 Also Great

MRS. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY Biodegradable Fresh Fabric Softener


Biodegradable Fresh Fabric Softener

If you love fresh floral scents, grab this fabric softener. It's free of harmful ingredients and features a pleasant honeysuckle scent. In fact, it uses plant-based ingredients and essential oils to get your clothes soft and static-free.

Overall Take

Natural OptionWith this 32-ounce fabric softener, you'll be able to treat 32 loads of laundry.

Buying Guide

If you’ve ever owned a shirt that came out of the dryer feeling stiff, you know the value of fabric softener. Not only does it ensure your fabrics stay soft and comfortable, it can also help smooth out those wrinkles.

But when it comes to choosing a fabric softener, you’ll have some decisions to make. There are three major types on the market today:

  • Dryer balls
  • Dryer sheets
  • Liquid softener

If softening is your top priority, liquid softener is the best, and you’ll want to buy a dedicated liquid fabric softener, rather than relying on the one that is included in your laundry detergent. Liquid softener is also better than sheets and balls at eliminating odors.

Dryer sheets win for convenience and affordability. Simply grab a sheet from the box and toss it in the dryer with your clothes to soften them and reduce static cling.

Dryer balls win in the eco-friendly category. They don’t tend to be as effective as liquid softener or dryer sheets, but they’re typically made of all-natural ingredients. Although they’re more expensive at the outset, you can use them repeatedly, so over time, the investment will pay off.

Dryer balls have another perk worth considering: Having them bounce around your dryer with your clothes is said to improve airflow, which can reduce drying time and cut your utility bill.

What to Look For

  • As when buying laundry detergent, you’ll need to make sure your washer isn’t labeled “high efficiency” (HE) before shopping for liquid fabric softener. If so, you’ll have to ensure the softener you buy is safe for HE washers.
  • Although dryer balls are typically the safest option for households with skin sensitivities, they aren’t the only option. Some liquid softeners are now formulated to be safer for those consumers.
  • After multiple washes, fabrics can fade. Some fabric softeners are formulated to reduce fading.
  • Scent is an important factor when choosing fabric softeners. If you’re sensitive to scents, dryer balls may be the best option, as they are typically unscented. Check the scent on any liquid or sheet-based fabric softener you choose.
  • If you have to take your fabric softener on the go with you, such as to a laundromat or shared laundry facility in a building, dryer sheets might be a better option. You can easily toss the box on top of your laundry in the basket and transport it.

More to Explore

Ways To Use Fabric Softener That Have Nothing To Do With Laundry

Help Floors Shine

Dull vinyl or linoleum floors are a dud. After sweeping and mopping as you normally would, mop with a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Then, give it a final once-over with a fabric softener/water mixture for a glowing finish. This method is not recommended for hardwood floors.

Eliminate Burned-On Food

Scorched pans can be a pain to get clean. The next time you find yourself trying to scrub away burnt food remnants, try this approach from One Good Thing instead. Fill the pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add a tablespoon of fabric softener, let it soak overnight and wash it away the next day.

Eradicate Scum

A water-stained glass shower door looks grungy. According to Tipnut, you can loosen soap scum by washing the glass with a half cup of fabric softener mixed with about a cup of warm water. When you rinse off the mixture, the soap scum will rinse away, too.

Pick Up Pet Hair

Having a dog or cat can make you happier and even healthier. However, having animal hair all over your home is not quite as awesome. Try spraying fur-covered areas with a mixture of fabric softener and water, according to Once it’s dry, you should be able to brush or vacuum the hair away.

Amazon Simplemost Media

Remove Car Sticker Residue

Equal parts water and fabric softener can loosen the adhesive left by stickers on car windows and other glass surfaces. Start by peeling or scraping off the sticker as best you can. Soak it with soapy water before spraying on a mixture of fabric softener and hot water.

Soften Carpet

Whether your carpet is brand new or well-used, it can feel stiffer than you would like. The Dollar Stretcher recommends mixing hot water and fabric softener and using it as the solution for a steam carpet cleaner. Rinse and extract well to remove as much of the solution as possible and enjoy soft, fresh-smelling floors.

Detangle Doll Hair

If Barbie or Baby Alive’s locks are looking rough, blogger Ashley Hackshaw says fabric softener can help. Soak the doll’s hair in equal parts water and fabric softener. Brush out tangles and rinse with vinegar and water.

Wash Woodwork

If you have wood-paneled walls, baseboards or other surfaces, it can be tough to keep them clean. Try washing them down with fabric softener. It can remove grime without damaging the finish — and it will make the room smell fantastic.

Make Homemade Febreze

Freshen up linens, drapes or furnishings with the scent of your favorite fabric softener. Add a little baking soda and some softener to a spray bottle. Fill the container with water, shake it up and spritz away. Find the complete recipe here from Spend with Pennies.

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MORE: The Best Spray Bottle

Ward Off Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they can carry deadly diseases, as well. Switching up the measurements of the DIY fabric freshener above can transform some fabric softener, baking soda and water into mosquito repellent with a soft, clean scent.

Have you found any creative ways to use fabric softener?

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