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The Best Fabric Softener

Last updated on July 28, 2020

We looked at the top 10 Fabric Softeners and dug through the reviews from 17 of the most popular review sites including Uncover the Glow, TreeHugger, A Guide Product, Thoroughly Reviewed, The Daily Connoisseur, The Spruce 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
  The Best Overall

Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

Smart Sheep

Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

Overall Take

Softens Fabric NaturallyDryer balls have become a popular option with consumers looking for an eco-friendly softener that is free of chemicals and dyes.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus Kelly’s Thoughts on Things, 10 Unbeatable, Real Simple, Bustle. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" I did two loads of laundry in the time it used to take one load. That makes me so happy because it cut my laundry time in half and saves me money by not having to buy dryer sheets and..."
Cons
"Having such amazing features, all this is bundled up at a cost, which may seem high for few."
  The Best Value

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Bounce

Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Overall Take

Reduces Static ClingDryer sheets remain a popular way to soften fabric due to the fact that they're affordable and reduce static cling.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus The Spruce, Business Insider, Home Product Advisor, Ram Research. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Eliminate static and impart a fresh scent to your laundry with a Bounce Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheet. A hands down favorite in the laundry department, people love these Bounce Dryer Sheets for their pleasant aroma and unbeatable fabric softening..."
Cons
"Not hypoallergenic."

Downy April Fresh Ultra Liquid Fabric Conditioner & Softener

Downy

April Fresh Ultra Fabric Conditioner & 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."

Snuggle Blue Sparkle 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."
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.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the fabric softeners available to purchase.
10

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.

60,675

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Fabric Softeners and also dug through the reviews from 17 of the most popular review sites including Uncover the Glow, TreeHugger, A Guide Product, Thoroughly Reviewed, The Daily Connoisseur, The Spruce 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.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

Our Expert Score
10.0
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
25,912 user reviews
Our Take

These dryer balls are made from 100% natural wool from New Zealand. The balls are designed to fluff your clothing, towels, sheets and blankets without the use of chemicals. An added benefit to dryer balls is that they help improve airflow in the dryer, which reduces drying time.

What other experts liked
I did two loads of laundry in the time it used to take one load. That makes me so happy because it cut my laundry time in half and saves me money by not having to buy dryer sheets and...
- Kelly's Thoughts on Things
Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls would be your best bet for getting value for money. Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls were the best-sold product and even today, the sales numbers speak.
- 10 Unbeatable
One of the best-selling sets of dryer balls on Amazon (they’ve been rated a whopping 16,000 times), these are handmade in Nepal with 100 percent New Zealand wool. They are guaranteed to continue softening your clothes without the added toxic...
- Real Simple
Made with 100-percent natural wool from New Zealand, these dryer balls soften and separate laundry. They're all slightly larger than a tennis ball, so you don't have to worry about losing them inside socks and blankets. These dryer balls last...
- Bustle
What other experts didn't like
You may notice that some of the dryer balls are pilling.
- Kelly's Thoughts on Things
Having such amazing features, all this is bundled up at a cost, which may seem high for few.
- 10 Unbeatable
Your dryer balls may experience pilling.
- Real Simple

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Our Expert Score
9.7
4 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
14,854 user reviews
Our Take

A familiar name in fabric softening, Bounce dryer sheets soften fabric while reducing static cling. These sheets bring the added benefit of removing clingy items like pet hair. The scent on the dryer sheets ensures your clothing has a fresh, pleasant scent, no matter what laundry detergent you use.

What other experts liked
Eliminate static and impart a fresh scent to your laundry with a Bounce Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheet. A hands down favorite in the laundry department, people love these Bounce Dryer Sheets for their pleasant aroma and unbeatable fabric softening and static elimination.
- The Spruce
Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets are an affordable way to get rid of static, avoid scratchy fabrics, and enjoy fresh-smelling clothes. It effectively gets rid of the many stinky odors in my athletic gear and my sons' clothes, and the sheets just produce a wholesome scent.
- Business Insider
Effectively removes static cling, lint, and pet hair. Softens fabric noticeably. Contains biodegradable softeners that work best at ensuring the longevity of your clothes.
- Home Product Advisor
Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets in the outdoor fresh fragrance have been a leader for fifty years. If you have never tried them, you’ll be in for a treat. Give a box a try, we know you’ll fall in love with them like the other devoted followers of this brand.
- Ram Research
What other experts didn't like
One of the few complaints that people have for this product is just that the box isn’t big enough!
- The Spruce
Not hypoallergenic.
- Business Insider
Direct application on a child's skin may be harmful. Reduces flame resistance. Not recommended for use on children’s clothing that is labeled flame resistant. Works more effectively as a scent booster than as a softener.
- Home Product Advisor

Overall Product Rankings

Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

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

Overall Score: 9.7
Reviews Included: 5

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

2. Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 5

Snuggle Blue Sparkle Liquid Fabric Softener

4. Snuggle Blue Sparkle Liquid Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 4

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

Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

8. Suavitel Morning Sun Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 3

Method GInger Mango Fabric Softener

9. Method GInger Mango Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 4

Presto! Fresh Scent Concentrated Fabric Softener

10. Presto! Fresh Scent Concentrated Fabric Softener

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 2

Our Fabric Softener Findings

Smart Sheep Fabric Softener Wool Dryer Balls, 6-Pack

What We Liked: These dryer balls are made from 100% natural wool from New Zealand. The balls are designed to fluff your clothing, towels, sheets and blankets without the use of chemicals. An added benefit to dryer balls is that they help improve airflow in the dryer, which reduces drying time.

Bounce Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

What We Liked: A familiar name in fabric softening, Bounce dryer sheets soften fabric while reducing static cling. These sheets bring the added benefit of removing clingy items like pet hair. The scent on the dryer sheets ensures your clothing has a fresh, pleasant scent, no matter what laundry detergent you use.

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.

Snuggle Blue Sparkle 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.

Gain Moonlight Breeze 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.

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

Avatar
Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous blogs. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written content for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011. In addition to her online content, she is also the author of eight novels for Simon & Schuster, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series.