You might question yourself on whether fabric softeners are necessary when using laundry pods given that many variants of multi-action pods exist today, and some might even contain fabric softeners in them without your knowledge? Right?
In this article, you’ll learn exactly what the benefits of fabric softeners are and whether or not they are necessary when using pods.
Can you wash clothes with just a laundry pod?
Laundry pods are not an entirely different creation of their own, they are simply detergents packaged in pre-measured pods meant to serve as an alternative to liquid and powdered detergents (overcoming the many laundry hurdles associated with using powder and liquid detergents such as tendency to overdose, messiness and the multi-facet steps involved when using them for example, washing, bleaching and then softening). With laundry pods, all these can be taken care of in one single pod.
So you can wash clothes with just laundry pods alone and they will come out clean and perfect all the time.
In fact, some laundry pods like the Tide Pods + Downy 4 in 1 HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Packs come with fabric softener added to them to provide a one stop solution for cleaning and softening.
Using these, you don’t need an extra step of conditioning anymore. Just go ahead and toss the pods in the washer drum along with the clothes and you’re good to go.
When using laundry pods, ensure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions printed on the label to avoid overuse which can cause many problems such as staining or overproduction of suds.
Is there even a need for fabric softener?
Fabric softener isn’t a true necessity of laundry. It’s an additive for whoever wants their laundry to smell really fresh for a very long time, and doesn’t want to go through the hurdle of ironing clothes using moist heat in order to soften them.
Fabric softener also aids with the elimination of static buildup which makes wearing certain types of clothes (such as synthetics) pretty uncomfortable, but this isn’t an issue with many fabrics.
Besides, some laundry detergents even come with a softener, have a beautiful fragrance added to them and can even have anti static agents to tackle the static electricity problem — performing all the functions of a fabric softener.
Fabric softeners also have a few disadvantages of their own.
They can leave a very difficult-to-remove stain on laundry when not added correctly to the washer which can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people or destroy the looks of a fabric.
Fabric softeners, with consistent and prolonged usage, can also coat the surface of towels with a thin film and affect their absorbency. The same effect can cause bacteria to breed on the films deposited on certain clothes like spandex and begin to produce odor.
With the benefits and disbenefits of fabric softener discussed above, ultimately, whether or not to use fabric softener would depend on personal choice.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using fabric softener?
Fabric softener has a lot of advantages when used as an additive in laundry. Some of them include:
Makes ironing clothes easier:
The fact that fabric softener leaves a thin film on the surface of fabrics makes them appear soft which in turn translates to ease of ironing. Clothes that are washed without the use of fabric softener, and then sun dried are usually somewhat difficult to iron.
Makes clothes feel softer and smoother: Fabric softener coats the fibers of fabrics with a thin layer of lubricant which gives them a softer and smoother feel.
Adds scent: Fabrics softeners are infused with a variety of scents which are pretty long lasting.
Contains cationis that reduce static build up: One of the effects of rubbing clothes together vigorously in the washer and dryer is the buildup of negative charge on them. Because fabric softeners contain cations which are positively charged compounds (and are therefore naturally attracted to the negative charges of the clothes), they react and neutralize each other thus eliminating static build up.
Make clothes look better: The film coating provided by fabric softener also has the added benefit of making clothes appear less faded and shrunken. It also helps to reduce pilling.
As with the popular saying, whatever has an advantage must surely have a disadvantage, fabric softeners too have areas where they fail to impress in laundry, some of which include:
- Fabric softeners are not exactly budget friendly.
- Fabric softeners can be toxic to the aqua ecosystem when they find their way into them.
- Fabric softeners contain fragrance and other compounds that can easily trigger skin irritations in sensitive people.
- Fabric softener can make towels less effective and also leave residue on clothes (when not properly added to the laundry) which will cause staining.
- The thin coat on fabric softener can, overtime, build up and become a magnet for dust and dirt.
- Fabric softeners can damage elastics.
What are the alternatives to fabric softeners?
If you are terrified of the cons of fabric softener, then you don’t actually have to use it. There are many natural alternatives you can use to soften clothes and make them easier to manage.
White vinegar is a blessing to the laundry world! Not only can it soften clothes, it can also remove stains, reduce static cling and even banish odor.
Fabric softener can also help brighten white clothes and make darks look darker although the detergents that make darks appear darker are much preferred for that task.
Fabric softener takes it a step higher by acting as a washing machine cleaner. It can be used to remove deposits of softener in the washer thus making the washer appear and smell fresh.
To use white vinegar as a softener, add ¼ cup to the rinse cycle for a standard-size laundry load. Make sure to target water pockets and not add it directly to clothes.
Baking soda is also another great alternative to fabric softener, butyou hav to be careful when using it because it can cause discoloration in some fabrics.
Make sure to always do a patch test to see how the dyes of the fabric would react to it before going full force.
For using baking soda as a softener, add only ½ cup to the wash cycle or the detergent compartment. It will help soften clothes as well as banish odor. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you like to boost the scent of the laundry.
Wool dryer balls:
Wool dryer balls are eco friendly and reusable alternatives to fabric softeners. They are made of 100% wool and they work to soften clothes by removing moisture from them and releasing it to the dryer, as well as preventing static build up and accelerating the speed of drying through the separation of clothes which allows hot air to properly reach every part of the clothes.
Does fabric softener come in pods?
Yes, there are brands that produce their softeners in pods which are meant to be tossed into the laundry during the rinse cycle.
These mimic the dissolution mechanism of laundry pods and are equally effective as liquid fabric softeners. In fact, just like laundry pods, they can help you save on fabric softeners by preventing softener over use.
Fabric softeners can also come in sheets meant to be used in the dryer, or even in powdered form.
Popular brands that produce fabric softener in pods include Dropps Fabric Softener Pods, Snuggle and Cosy House.
It is important to check the instruction manual on the product to find out how best to use the product as different softeners can have different usage instructions.
What cycle should you add fabric softener?
Generally speaking, most liquid, pod and even powdered fabric softeners are recommended to be added during the rinse cycle to ensure that most of it remains on the fabric’s fibers to perform its functions effectively.
Using softeners in the wash cycle is possible and there are some brands that even recommend doing so, but using fabric softener in the wash cycle when it’s not recommended increases the chances of it washing away and thus the laundry won’t be as soft and fragrant as it should be.
Ultimately, the best solution would be to read the instruction label and follow the directives of the manufacturer.
Are there laundry pods that come with fabric softener in them?
Yes, there are a handful of laundry detergents that come with fabric softeners in them, the most popular being Tide pods.
These pods are usually marketed as 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 products and they are meant to provide both the cleaning of a laundry detergent as well as the softening properties of a softener.
Detergent plus fabric softeners are typically used during the wash cycle, and these present one of the cases where fabric softeners can actually be used in the washer.
To learn more about laundry detergents that contain fabric softeners in them, read the article below: