2015 Fabric Softener Reviews
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Let our customer satisfaction ratings help you pick the right fabric softener for you, your family and your washing machine.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2015, published in September 2015.
ALDI Anco softens the competition in our latest awards
How much would you be willing to pay for fresh-smelling, super-soft, comfortable clothes after every wash? If around $13 a month seems reasonable to you, then read on, because that’s the average amount our survey respondents spend to get a lovely fluffy-feeling from their fabrics.
They seemed to agree that’s a fairly good deal, but what they couldn’t agree on was which brand of fabric softener washes up the best bang for their bucks. Fortunately, Canstar Blue is here to clean up their mess and give you a gentle nudge towards ALDI’s Anco brand, which rated highest for overall customer satisfaction, as well as value for money.
In fact, it scored top marks for smell and softness, too. This is no mean feat for ALDI – up against such fabric softener powerhouses as Comfort, Fluffy and Huggie – and it reinforces the discount supermarket chain’s strength in the laundry department following strong results in our powder and liquid ratings.
What do we want from fabric softener?
NEWSFLASH… consumers want their clothes to be nice and soft after using fabric softener! But on a serious note, there are other factors that go into determining how pleased people are with their purchase – including whether or not they think they’re getting their money’s worth.
Just 45% of our survey respondents said they always buy the same brand of fabric conditioner, suggesting that consumers are happy to try new brands if they’re not entirely satisfied with what they’re getting. As such, we found the drivers of customer satisfaction for fabric softener to be as follows:
- Softness of clothes 45%
- Smell 21%
- Value for money 20%
- Packaging 14%
Despite costing consumers an average of just $13 a month, it’s interesting to see that value for money is still a hugely important factor. But some people could be in danger of not getting their money’s worth because of the way they use their fabric softener. More than half (52%) of the 1,349 adults we surveyed said they usually “wing it” rather than measure the amount of fabric softener they pour into their washing machines.
Using too much fabric softener is unlikely to do any harm, but using too little could leave you feeling a bit underwhelmed and wondering why you bothered. Good fabric softener should leave you and your clothes feeling as fresh as a daisy. If you want your clothes to feel softer, smell nicer and generally feel better to the touch than they would after a normal wash, simply follow the guidance on the packaging.
What is fabric softener made from?
It’s probably fair to say that most consumers don’t give an awful lot of thought to what their fabric conditioner is actually made of – as a chemical compound designed to prevent static cling, it doesn’t exactly conjure images of cute, cuddly children dancing across summer fields. But if you are interested to know, it’s a good idea to check the company’s website for a list of ingredients.
As an example, Coles lists the following ingredients for its private label fabric softener, Spring Breeze. However, a search of other brands’ ingredients suggests they can vary quite a bit, so it’s a good idea to do your homework, particularly if you’re prone to allergies.
- Cationic Surfactant
- Polydimethyl Siloxane
- Glycol Stearate
- Alcohol Ethoxylate
That may seem like a pretty scary list of ingredients for one small bottle – indeed the contents of fabric softeners has been the cause of much debate in the past, with claims that some toxic chemicals can enter the body through the skin and by inhalation, causing health problems.
However, it’s worth remembering that modern fabric softeners are sold subject to industry testing and standards before they hit the shelves – the above contents are fairly typical, and shouldn’t be cause for alarm!
Frequently asked questions
ALDI’s private label brands regularly perform strongly in our customer satisfaction surveys and its Anco brand of fabric softener is no exception. Click here to see how the supermarket chain’s other home cleaning products have been rated by consumers.
A Colgate-Palmolive brand, Cuddly boasts an extensive range of laundry products. It claims its fabric conditioner has a “rich and creamy formula” and “consistently delivers beautifully soft, fresh clothes after each wash”. Cuddly also promises to make ironing easier and to keep clothes looking new for longer.
Made by Pental, Huggie fabric softener comes in a wide range of colours and cents, including Lavender, Jasmine & Cherry and Sunny Field. Huggie promises to “reinvigorate the wash while it refreshes with its fresh fragrances”. Other Pental brands include White King, Velvet and Sunlight.
Fluffy, another laundry brand from Colgate-Palmolive, has a range of fabric conditioners that promise to “tantalise your senses and bring a splash of life to your laundry”. Its fragrances include Pomegranate & Sandalwood, Lotus Flower & Sea Minerals and Warm Vanilla & Creamy Coconut. You could also opt for extra “luxury” with Fluffy’s Temptations range.
Comfort fabric conditioner, from Unilever, helps “keep that just washed freshness even after being in the closet for 14 days”. It also helps clothes keep their shape and reduce the need for ironing, it says. Fragrances include Sky Blue, Rosy Blush and Sunshiny Days and other Unilever brands include Surf, Omo and Persil.
A Natures Organics brand, Earth Choice promises to be gentle on clothes and the environment. Its “delicately-scented” fabric softener conditions fabrics and leaves garments silky soft and beautifully fresh, it says. Earth Choice also claims to be specially formulated to prevent wrinkling to make ironing easy. Other Natures Organics brands include Blast, Organic Care and Australian Pure.
As well as stocking most of the products mentioned above, Coles also sells its own range of private label fabric softeners, including Spring Breeze, which will leave your laundry “soft and fresh after every wash”. Coles also says the formulation has been developed to help reduce static cling, make ironing easier and reduce drying time.
Woolworths is likely to stock most of the products mentioned above, but it also has its own range of private label fabric softeners, including Spring Flower, which leaves clothes and garments with 14 days of freshness, it says.
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to regularly survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used fabric softener in the last three months – in this case, 1,258 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.