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The Best Fabric Softener - 2021

Last updated on August 30, 2021

We looked at the top 12 Fabric Softeners and dug through the reviews from 17 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Fabric Softeners.

Best Fabric Softener

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Our Picks For The Top Fabric Softeners

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Downy April Fresh Ultra Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Downy

April Fresh Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener

Overall Take

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

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus Home Product Advisor, Skin Safe. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Keeps clothes soft and fresh with less static cling. Protects clothes against color fade and stretching. Buying online is much cheaper than buying at a supermarket."
  Best Scent

Gain Original Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener, 4-Pack

Gain

Original Liquid Fabric Softener, 4-Pack

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.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  You Can Use Less

Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated Liquid Fabric Softener

Snuggle

Blue Sparkle Liquid Fabric Softener

Overall Take

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

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus French Garment Cleaners, EWG. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" It’s safe for both standard and HE washing machines, so people can use it with confidence no matter what machine they’re using. And finally, this product delivers softening and static control that few other softeners can compete with, and that..."
Cons
"Potentially significant hazards to health or the environment or poor ingredient disclosure."
  Smells Fresh

Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

Suavitel

Morning Sun Fabric Softener

Overall Take

Controls Static ClingNot only does this fabric softener leave clothes soft, but it also does an excellent job of controlling static cling.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Target.
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the fabric softeners available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

17

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Uncover the Glow, TreeHugger, A Guide Product, Thoroughly Reviewed, The Daily Connoisseur.

55,817

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 12 Fabric Softeners and also dug through the reviews from 17 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Fabric Softeners.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval
Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Downy April Fresh Ultra Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener


Our Expert Score

8.2
2 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.8
2,286 user reviews

Our Take

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.

What other experts liked

Keeps clothes soft and fresh with less static cling. Protects clothes against color fade and stretching. Buying online is much cheaper than buying at a supermarket.
- Home Product Advisor
SkinSAFE has reviewed the ingredients of Ultra Downy Fabric Softener, April Fresh, 90 fl oz and found it to be 73% Top Allergen Free and free of Gluten, Coconut, Nickel, Lanolin, Paraben, Topical Antibiotic, Soy, and Propylene Glycol. Product is...
- Skin Safe

What other experts didn't like

People with sensitive skin might suffer allergic reactions to this product. The fragrance may not suit all tastes. Many counterfeit products are sold, especially in local shops.
- Home Product Advisor

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Gain Original Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener, 4-Pack

User Summarized Score

9.6
1,896 user reviews

Our Take

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 Product Rankings

Gain Original Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener, 4-Pack

2. Gain Original Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener, 4-Pack

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 1

Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated Liquid Fabric Softener

3. Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated Liquid Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 4

Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

4. Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 3

Mrs.Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

7. Mrs.Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 2

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

8. Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 5

Botanical Origin Natural Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

9. Botanical Origin Natural Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

Method GInger Mango Fabric Softener

10. Method GInger Mango Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 4

Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

11. Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 5

FREY Liquid Concentrated Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

12. FREY Liquid Concentrated Fabric Softener, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 1

Our Fabric Softener Findings


Downy April Fresh Ultra Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener

What We Liked: 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.


Gain Original Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener, 4-Pack

What We Liked: 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.


Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated Liquid Fabric Softener

What We Liked: 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.


Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

What We Liked: This fabric softener is known for its line of pleasant scents. Consumers will find morning sun, soothing lavender and field flowers are among the most popular, each of which is formulated to keep clothes smelling fresh for up to 45 days. This fabric softener is even HE compatible.


Presto! Free & Clear Concentrated Hypoallergenic Fabric Softener

What We Liked: You won’t find any harsh perfumes or dyes in this fabric softener. In addition to being hypoallergenic and gentle on skin, this fabric softener also leaves clothes nice and soft. It’s also excellent at controlling static cling and reducing wrinkles.

Our Fabric Softener 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.

DWYM Fun Fact

Liquid fabric softeners got their start in the early 1900s, when manufacturers sought to do something about the fact that clothes were often stiff after being washed. By the 1960s, manufacturers were producing liquid softeners in large enough quantities that they became common in households.

But there was one problem: Liquid fabric softeners had to be added during the rinse cycle, which meant people had to go to the washer as it reached the rinse cycle and pour the softener in.

That inconvenience led to dryer sheets, which replaced liquid softeners for a while, but soon washing machines were designed with special compartments that automatically dispense liquid fabric softener at the right time.

The Fabric Softener Tips and Advice

  • 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.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared in leading financial publications. She's also a financial coach and mother to two daughters. When she's not writing, you'll find her gardening, spending time with her kids, cooking in the kitchen or playing with her two kitties, Flitter and Otter. Alicia loves researching the latest and greatest gadgets, products and items that help her save time, energy and money.