You Shouldn’t Use Fabric Softener on Towels

March 12, 2010 at 12:01 am 11 comments

I have a love-hate relationship with fabric softener.

The hate comes from all of the embarrassing moments they are responsible for. I remember being at work when a co-worker pointed out in front of a bunch of other people that a dryer sheet was hanging out of the bottom of my pant-leg. They all thought it was pretty funny of course, and I think most people have been there. I have a few other embarrassing dryer sheet stories, but the great things about them are more interesting.

Fabric softener is really useful in your laundry and understanding what it does and how it affects fabric is important to knowing when to use it.

Most modern washing machines have a reservoir that can automatically add fabric softener liquid to the load during the rinse cycle. Of course, fabric softeners are also available in my favorite form: dryer sheets.

In either case, they coat fabrics with a thin layer of chemicals.These chemicals have lubricating and electrical conductive properties.

The conductive property is important for preventing a buildup of static electricity. If you live in a dry climate or experience dry winters, using fabric softeners will make a noticeable difference in the static buildup and cling that your clothes have.

The lubrication property helps make the fabric stain resistant by repelling liquids, which is great for clothing and most other laundry. Unfortunately, this is bad for towels since you want towels to absorb water from your hands, body and anything else you’re drying with a towel.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: My Mom, Wikipedia

Entry filed under: Around The House, Be Efficient, ProTips. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gillian  |  March 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I LOVE that one of your sources is your mom!

  • 2. Kristen  |  March 13, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I agree!
    Moms know a lot…

  • 3. Mr. P  |  March 14, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    The funny thing is that while Chad referenced his mom AND Wikipedia as two different sources, the truth is that his mom wrote the Wikipedia entry on Fabric Softener.

    The More You Know.

  • 4. Brett  |  March 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Mom knew about this? She never told me!

  • 5. Damon  |  March 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    We bought a new washer and dryer set about a year ago….tossed fabric softeners at the same time. #1: I really don’t seem to miss whatever advantage they claim to offer short of my clothes SOMETIMES being stuck together when they are released from the dryer. #2: The dryer works better as the chemicals from the dryer sheets no longer clog the venting system. and #3: I havn’t been snickered at in public for having a little white sheet escaping my pant leg.
    One cool secret; those sheets make a really cool ghetto fiberglass when combined with Crazy Glue!

  • 6. Janec72  |  April 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I, too, have been caught in public with a dryer sheet stuck to my clothes (a sweater). I live in a dry climate, so dryer sheets are a necessity for reducing static cling (which does not explain why they stick to sweaters, I know).

    Important safety tip: Dryer sheets can leave a waxy build-up on the lint filter of your clothes dryer! This reduces the effectiveness of the dryer, and can possibly lead to overheating of the appliance. Most modern dryers will shut themselves down if they overheat, but what if the temperature sensor has failed? An overheated dryer could be a fire hazard.

    Try this simple test: take your lint filter and stick it under your sink faucet — does the water run through it, or does it bead up?

    Solution: Once every 20 loads or so, take the lint filter out and stick it in your dishwasher! All clean! Stick it under a faucet, and the water will run clean through it. Of course, make sure it is completely dry before reinstalling in your dryer.

  • 7. Elbyron  |  April 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Another secret about dryer sheets: they repel insects! When travelling, I put a few in the suitcase to keep bugs away and it also helps keep your clothes smelling fresh. You can also attach one to the air conditioner or fan to act as an air freshener.

    And another great use for these (can be done with used ones too) is to dust surfaces with them – but not the floor. The anti-static chemicals will make the surface more slippery and thus better able to repel dust.

  • […] Who knew?I’d never heard this myself, but after looking it up, it seems like this is a pretty well-supported tip. Save your fabric softener!Open a Soft Drink Can Silently by Pressing Down on the OpeningPhoto by […]

  • 9. R  |  April 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    How about we stop poisoning ourselves and our familes with chemically treated paper? It doesn’t seem right to me, having HOT chemicals rubbing all over the items we wear, lay upon, wipe our dishes with… 24/7. Try an alternative. I’ve never purchased dryer sheets or fabric softener, but have recently started making my own wool dryer balls (with the purpose of speeding up dryer drying time). Turns out they do so and more – including softening and reducing static.

    Best (Healthiful) Wishes.

    R :)

  • 10. janie  |  July 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    i alway count my fabric softener sheets when i pull clothes out of the dryer this way i know there not stuck somewhere in my my clothes and i won’t be wearing them to work!

  • 11. Barb  |  November 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    These are great ideas and glad I checked this out

    Thank You


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