Your laundry habits significantly affect the outlook of your wardrobe. Generally, softer clothes are comfortable, and gentler to touch compared to their rough counterparts. Hence the rise of fabric softener usage over the years. But do you really need it? Find out below.
Laundry Detergents, Appliances, and Fabrics
Fabric softeners were primarily produced because it was discovered that some washing appliances and detergents could crease and roughen some fabrics. However, most of the current contemporary detergents and washing devices are gentle on materials.
So, at the end of the day, it boils down to what you’re using on your clothes, to determine whether you need to add a fabric softener or not.
Compatibility with Fabrics
One of the most misused terms in the laundry sector is “fluffy”. If you have been careful, you’ll note that most fabric softener advertisers want to convince you into buying their product(s) “because it will give your clothes a fluffy feel.”
While this may be true, none of them warns you about the effects of prolonged use on various fabrics. For instance, if you regularly use a fabric softener on your towel, it might in the long run shorten its lifespan. This is because the towel material is already naturally soft to touch.
But we are not telling you to completely avoid using softeners on your towels. Rather, it’s okay when used once in a while, especially on “aging” towels.
Also, it’s advisable to avoid using fabric conditioners on very absorbent cloth materials, such as nappies. These fabrics hold the liquid for long, hence increasing the chance of wear and tear with frequent use.
Materials such as regular bed sheets can handle occasional softening. However, cotton materials are best suitable for fabric softeners.
On the other hand, avoid using the softener on synthetic fabrics, especially the kinds meant to absorb skin moisture, or the fire-resistant types. It can easily damage them.
Sportswear falls under this category. And the same case applies to microfiber cleaning cloths, which might end up losing their efficiency. For such fabrics, a cup of distilled white vinegar will come in handy, to give them a new feel and get rid of the odor.
Type of Softener
The use of fabric softener on some fabrics is valid. If appropriately used, it helps maintain the softness of the material, while reducing wrinkles. This saves you some ironing time.
Additionally, fabric conditioners reduce material friction. Therefore, saving your clothes from unnecessary wear and tear. So, you get to keep them for long, which is also a win for your bank account! Most of them also leave your laundry smelling good.
However, the efficiency of these softeners primarily depends on the type you choose.
For example, the most common types include dryer balls, liquid fabric softener, and dryer sheets. While most people argue that they all work the same way, the consumer report reveals otherwise. According to the results of the findings, dryer sheets are lightweight and easy to fix on your dryer. They are also cheaper compared to liquid softeners. However, they’re more likely to clog the filter.
Liquid conditioners were found to be great at removing smells and adding a soft feel to the fabric. Nonetheless, they’re expensive.
Consequently, dryer balls were found to be inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. But they might leave your clothes feeling a bit rough.
So, the next time you go shopping, ensure you know why you’re picking a particular kind of fabric softener. Because, as you can see, choices have consequences. And whether positive or negative, depends on your preference.
Have you Heard of Waxy Coating?
The waxy coating is the reason why some cloth brands advise their users not to use fabric conditioners. The coating attaches itself to fabrics after prolonged use of softeners, interfering with their intended moisture-wicking capabilities.
As mentioned earlier, sportswear falls under this category. This is because they’re mainly created to absorb moisture from the skin, towards the outer part of their material, where they can easily evaporate into the atmosphere.
However, if the waxy coating covers the fabric, it closes the pores, hence limiting the movement of moisture.
And with time, the coating makes it hard for washing detergents to penetrate the clothing material. Hence, leading to the formation of stubborn stains, and the odor from sweat sticks onto the material.
You can sometimes smell sweaty odor on some sportswear, even after washing, and even using spraying.
As the waxy build-up, you’ll notice some yellowish effect, especially on white clothes. These stains become stubborn even to bleach.