There is wide assortment of fabric softener products available in the industry today, which come in a variety of sizes, formulations and price ranges. These softeners may also come in sheets to be placed in the dryer. People use different brands and products depending on their choice and specific requirements, however one brand may not be necessarily better than the other.
Fabric softeners come in two types, viz. Liquid as well Sheet form -
- Liquid - Liquid fabric softeners offer deep conditioning of
the fabrics. These softeners goes into the washer at the final rinse and
can be used in the washer dispenser by adding them at the right time or
by putting them at the start of wash.
- Sheets - Sheet type of fabric softeners can be used, in the case you don't like adding fabric softener to the wash. These fabric softeners go into the dryer at the beginning of drying cycle and are activated by heat.
How They Function
The most common active ingredients of fabric softeners are based on long-chain molecules that are positively charged in nature. These molecules generally contain at least one hydrophobic (water-resisting) group and a nitrogen atom (positively charged) that is attracted towards the negatively charged fabric surface. The result is a slack ionic bonding and absorption of softener compounds onto the surface of cloth or fabric. In other words, fabric softeners - whether dispensed in the washer or dryer are absorbed in the washer to deliver a variety of benefits.
How Fabric Softener is made
Fabric Softeners are manufactured by adding first emulsifiers and then conditioning ingredients into water. The batch is heated and mixed and in the end a variety of other ingredients are added as per the requirement and choice.
Fabric softener is a product, which is used during the laundering to eliminate static cling and make clothes soft and its benefits are many. For example, a fabric softener can be used to reduce static cling, as a result of its action, the socks do not stick to sweaters when they are taken out of the dryer. A fabric softener also helps in eliminating and reducing wrinkles in clothes. Some materials may require ironing, but by adding a small amount of fabric softener to your laundry, you can reduce the wrinkles by a great amount.
Fabric softeners also make the feel of clothes better too, which is very apparent on laundry products like sheets and towels, and especially those that are hung outside. When a fabric softener is not used, these products tend to feel stiffer. By adding a little of fabric softener you can make a nice soft set of sheets or a fluffy towel. In short, we can say that fabric softener offer following advantages -
- Reduces static cling (especially effective with permanent-press and synthetic fibers)
- Make fabrics smooth and soft
- Make ironing easier
- Reduce wrinkling
- Add a pleasant fragrance (or no fragrance at all)
- Improve the overall feel and appearance of fabric
Tips for Effective Use
While using fabric softeners, you should carefully follow the manufacturer instructions given on the package for effective usage and maximum benefits. Here are some general guidelines -
- While using a liquid softener, avoid pouring it directly on the
fabrics as the direct contact may result in staining or spotting. The
better way to use a fabric softener is to add it to the rinse water and
use a product dispenser or the machine automatic dispenser.
- Don't use a ball-type dispenser in a tumbler-style washer, as the
tumbling action may result in the release of softener before the rinse
- While using sheet fabric softener, you should add it right before
starting the dryer. Leaving a dryer sheet under wet clothes may result
- Dryer sheets should be used with a full load. In the case you want to
soften one item, add a damp bath towel in the dryer to disperse the
softening agent more effectively.
- Follow the care labels on all fabrics.