Everything to know about when to add fabric softener

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Wondering when to add fabric softener to your clothes? You’re not alone. Adding liquid fabric softener to your washing machine isn’t always black and white. This is especially true if it’s the first time that you’re adding softener to the wash.

Woman sitting on a floor with dirty laundry wondering when to add fabric softner

Below you’ll learn all about the softener dispenser and the amount of fabric softener that you need to add to your final rinse. We’ll even dive in and talk about the differences between a top loader and a front loader and how to add fabric softener manually. (It’s important when using fabric softener that you put in the correct amount!)

For the perfect softness for your fabrics and clothing, read all the tips below on how to add fabric softener to washing machines.

What is fabric conditioner?

It’s as simple as it sounds! It’s not a laundry detergent and it doesn’t actually clean your clothes…but it is a great way to make your clothes and towels feel nice and soft.

The released timing of fabric softener directly to your clothes is a perfect way to soften during the wash cycle.

If you have questions about your washing machine and using fabric softener, read the directions that came with your washing machine for the best tips on fabric to your fabric softener dispenser.

How much fabric softener should I use?

The good news is that it’s not hard to add in fabric softener. The bad news is that you can add too much liquid fabric softeners that can cause gunky buildup and grime in your washing machine.

If you’re using softener like Downy , they’ll have the information on how much to add to the wash listed on the bottle. Just pour and add. It’s as simple as that.

The lids should also have a fill line that you can easily measure out the recommended amount.

Top Recommended Fabric Softners

Seventh Generation Natural Fabric Softener - Lavender - 32 oz - 2 pk
Seventh Generation Natural Fabric Softener - Lavender - 32 oz - 2 pk
2 pack of 32 oz each; Leaves your clothes feeling fresh and soft so you can enjoy wearing them every day
$21.08
Downy Ultra Plus Free & Gentle Liquid Fabric Conditioner (Fabric Softener), Concentrated, 51 oz Bottles, 2 Pack, 152 Loads Total
Downy Ultra Plus Free & Gentle Liquid Fabric Conditioner (Fabric Softener), Concentrated, 51 oz Bottles, 2 Pack, 152 Loads Total
Conditions to help prevent stretching, fading, and fuzz; Long-lasting freshness and soft fabrics with no dyes or perfumes
$14.49
Botanical Origin Plant-based Laundry Detergent Free from Dyes and Brighteners, 3.37 Pound, Lavender, 54 Fl Oz
Botanical Origin Plant-based Laundry Detergent Free from Dyes and Brighteners, 3.37 Pound, Lavender, 54 Fl Oz
ELEVATE YOUR CLEAN: Now you have a choice without compromise in performance
$13.68

Can fabric conditioner be used on all laundry?

You can use fabric softener on all types of fabric but for fabric that is fluffier (like towels) you might want to wash them through the cycle and rinse cycle a few times first.

This is because the fluffy fabric can really absorb a lot of the fabric softener, you may find that it’s stiff or not cleaned like you want.

What cycle do you put fabric softener on?

When it comes to adding fabric softener, you’re going to want to add it to the machine during the final rinse cycle. Don’t wait until the rinse cycle is done as you want the water to combine with the fabric softener to then be washed away during the spin cycle.

When to add fabric softener in the washer?

Since you now know that you add the fabric softener to the final rinse cycle, you need to make certain that you add it into the automatic dispenser in the washing machine as well. This can help it be dispensed in the right amount to leave your clothes full of softness with a clean and fresh smell.

What cycle do you add fabric softener?

The correct setting to add in the fabric softener is going to be on the final rinse setting. You can pour it directly from the cap into the washer into the dispenser and then close the lid.

Can you put fabric softener directly on clothes in the wash?

While you can add the fabric softener direction to your clothes, keep in mind that there is a dispenser for a reason. Fabrics and clothing can easily get stained from the pour of the fabric softener directly onto them because of the mix of the detergent.

If your washing machine has a dispenser, put the Downy or other correct amount of softener in that area instead of dumping it directly onto the load of clothes in the washer.

When do you add fabric softener to a top load washer?

To add fabric softener to your top loader, you just need to follow the same tips as mentioned above. Fill the washing machine with Downy or other softeners with a pour into the dispensed area.

Usually a cap full will due but make certain to read the recommended amount on the bottle so that there isn’t any residue leftover.

Front loader washing machine with clothes inside - wondering when to add fabric softener

When you do add fabric softener to a front loader washing machine?

It’s all about timing the cycle of the washer. Again, adding to the dispenser during the final rinse is going to be one of the most popular ways to add Downy or other fabric softeners to the washer.

However, since front load washing machines are newer, most have their own dispenser trays or drawer that you can add the fabric softener to and it will automatically dispense it out during the course of the load. Talk about smart washer and a smart way to do laundry!

How do I add fabric softener without a dispenser?

Wondering how to add fabric softener without a dispenser? Some washing machines might not actually have a space for you to pour in that Downy. When it comes to putting in the fabric softener to your washing machine, you need to add it to the final rinse cycle during the wash cycle.

This does mean that you have to pay attention to be close by to put fabric softener in but once you get the hang of adding to the wash cycle, you’ll probably get a good timing down with your machine.

You also want to be certain that you’re using a fabric softener that isn’t going to stain up the clothes in the load. Read the label on Downy or other brands and see what they recommend about adding straight to the washer. Different fabrics may have different needs so it’s important to measure and understand the type of clothing first that you’re wanting to add it to.

When should I not use fabric softener?

There are certain fabrics that you’re not going to want to use fabric softener on. Fabric that is flame resistant is one because products like Downy or other softeners can coat the fibers and make them less effective from being flame resistance. It can produce excess residue on the fabrics.

Microfiber is another fabric that tends to not do well with fabric softener.

Just make certain that you’re reading the labels of the clothing in the load prior to putting them into the laundry or washer.

Can I add fabric softener to the beginning of the wash?

Adding fabric softener to the beginning of the wash can technically be done but if you do this, you should fill it in the cap and then add to the water directly, never pour over the top of the clothes. Doing this could still cause the fabric conditioner to stain the clothes as that is always going to be a possibility.

Final Tips on When To Add Fabric Softner

If you’re ready to use fabric softener like Downy or other options to help add a soft feel to your load of clothes, make certain that you measure the correct amount before you add to protect your clothes. If your washed clothes come out with stains, this could have been avoided by using the softener dispenser in the machine properly or by using the automatic release feature on your front load machine, too.

There’s no reason that a load of laundry should come out anything other than soft and ready to snuggle!

Looking for more Laundry Tips? Read these posts:

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