AS WE TAKE STEPS towards fighting throwaway culture for the sake of our planet, our laundry routine becomes ever more important.
Putting some extra TLC into our laundry routine can help extend the life of our wardrobes – and fabric softener can play a key role.
Why? Well, fabric softeners are basically magic, which is why we won’t be abandoning them anytime soon. They keep our towels fluffy and five-star hotel ready (just don’t use softener every wash because it can reduce a towel’s absorbency over time). Liquid softeners also help to stop brights from fading and keep clothing fuzz-free.
Fabric softener sheets (that you put in the dryer) help to eliminate static in clothes and decrease ironing time. Of course, fabric softeners also give clothes that lovely, fresh, clean smell.
Some people have always been adamantly against fabric softener, saying it’s a waste of money, and bad for our clothes and the planet. Good news then that there are now plenty of eco-friendly fabric softener alternatives if you want to get the benefits in gentler form.
For a liquid fabric conditioner alternative, white vinegar is known for its ability to soften clothes (just add to the rinse cycle during the wash).
Dryer balls have become another fabric softener alternative: DIY dryer balls made from aluminium can help to reduce static, while wool dryer balls save drying time and help minimise wrinkles. We’ve even found some that come in a cute sheep design.
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1. Best value liquid fabric softener
This value-for-money fabric softener is a smart all-rounder choice that’s specially formulated for sensitive skin types and even safe to use on ultra-sensitive baby skin. It leaves clothes super soft.
‘There is a tiny hint of lemon and floral notes to this conditioner and it’s not too overpowering… good if you air dry your washing, because it retains its scent. No more complaints of rough towels. Would recommend,’ writes a reviewer.
- (AD) Comfort Pure Hypoallergenic and Dermatologically Tested Fabric Conditioner 166 Wash, 5 L, for £5.80 on Amazon – buy here
2. Best fabric softener for sensitive skin
An eco-safe fabric softener alternative that’s also recommended for those with sensitive and allergy-prone skin, Ecover’s pleasant-smelling softener is made from a 92% naturally derived formula using rapeseed oil and soya beans to leave clothes wonderfully soft.
‘I found this, I used it on some blankets which now smell absolutely delicious and softer than the normal toxic stuff I used!! Highly recommend and came incredibly quick! And as it’s concentrated it will last me more than a year no doubt,’ writes a happy customer.
- (AD) Ecover Fabric Softener Apple Blossom & Almond 100 Washes, 5 Litre, for £11.40 on Amazon – buy here
3. Best eco fabric softener
Gorgeous scent? Tick. Leaves clothes ultra-soft? Oh, yeah. Reduces static cling? That too. Method’s fabric softener is designed so that a little goes a long way, and fans describe it as a ‘brilliant product’ which ‘smells divine’, ‘lasts well’ and ‘leaves clothes lovely and soft’.
- Method Fabric Softener – Ocean Violet 1.58L (45 washes), for £4.99 on Big Green Smile – buy here
4. Best fabric softener dryer sheets
For fresh-smelling clothes with less static and fewer wrinkles, Bounce dryer sheets are the top pick (they always come up trumps in the USA, and are available here on Amazon).
‘I use these whenever I can find them, makes our clothes smell lovely and the house smells great as well,’ says one fan.
- (AD) Bounce Outdoor Fresh Dryer Sheets, Pack of 260, for £19.19 on Amazon – buy here
5. Best fabric softener dryer balls
Reusable wool dryer balls are the eco solution to softening fabrics in the dryer without chemicals, and these balls from STWIE are made from 100% New Zealand wool (with a hand-embroidered sheep motif). Throw them in the dryer to shorten your drying cycle, eliminate wrinkles and soften clothing. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a delicious smell, too.
Reviewers note that ‘these reduce static fantastically’, lead to a ‘reduced drying time, no more loud banging’ and are ‘fun, practical, make me smile and you can put your favourite essential oil on them to add a lovely smell to my laundry’.
- (AD) STWIE Wool Dryer Balls – Pack of 6 100% XL Size Reusable Natural Fabric Softener, for £12.99 on Amazon – buy here
6. Best scented fabric softener
Lenor’s Parfum Des Secrets collection imbues clothes with a long-lasting, alluring fragrance that will penetrate your clothes for months, even if you store them away in garment bags for the winter (we promise). The Mystery scent combines a deep musk with white floral and raspberry. It also leaves clothes feeling softer after a wash.
- Lenor Perfume Fabric Conditioner Parfum Des Secrets Mystery 1L, for £5 on Sainsbury’s – buy here
We’ve designed Sun Selects to help you to find the best products that won’t break the bank.
Dirty floors? Then you’ll love these fab floor cleaners.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best fabric softeners? Then you might like our selection of best shower cleaners, too.
This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.