Fabric softener vs dryer sheets

Fabric Softener vs Dryer Sheets

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We all want lasting freshness when we finish a load of laundry, and a great way to help that is fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Both products help to keep clothes fresher for longer as well as offering a number of other benefits. If you’re not certain whether to choose liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets, read on to find out more with this Canstar Blue guide. 

What is fabric softener

What does fabric softener do?

Fabric softener is used to reduce static in your clothes which is caused by contact with other fabrics. Fabric softeners contain different lubricants that coat and ‘loosen’ the fabric fibres in your garments, but most people also use softeners to get rid of wrinkles in clothes, neutralise bad odours, and leave materials feeling soft and smelling fresh.

What do dryer sheets do?

Dryer sheets are thin pieces of polyester or cellulose fabric, which contain a mix of liquid fabric softeners, lubricants, and fragrances. These are added into the clothes dryer NOT the washing machine. Dryer sheets are an alternative to liquid fabric softeners and provide many of the same benefits, such as eliminating static, minimising stiffness in your clothes, and depositing scents.

Benefits of fabric softener

Fabric softeners offer a number of benefits that make them ideal for some households. 

  • Suitable for people with sensitive skin and can cause less irritation
  • Offer more fragrance-free varieties
  • Help fight stretching and reduce wrinkling in clothes

Benefits of dryer sheets

What are dryer sheets

Similarly to fabric softeners, dryer sheets offer a number of benefits. 

  • Cost much less than fabric softeners
  • Don’t require any measuring and are easy to dispense
  • Effective in preventing static in clothing
  • Can also be used to freshen bags, shoes and other similar items

How much do dryer sheets and fabric softeners cost?

Dryer sheets and fabric softeners range in price from as little as $3 to upwards of $20 depending on the packaging size and brand. You can find brand-name products that are on the cheaper side, whereas brands like Fluffy, Comfort and Earth Choice will set you back a little more. Dryer sheets often tend to be the cheaper option, generally costing below $10.  

Does fabric softener ruin clothes?

Consistent use of fabric softeners over time can cause some types of materials to wear and not be as soft, however in a more immediate time frame fabric softeners won’t ruin clothes. It comes down to how often you wash and wear items of clothing, how much fabric softener you’re using and your washing machine that will impact the wear and tear of your clothing. 

What are dryer sheets called in Australia?

Dryer sheets are generally known by the same name; however, some people may refer to them as anti-static sheets. They’re more commonly used in the United States than in Australia but they’re still available in stores over here.

Buying dryer sheets or fabric softener

Choosing between dryer sheets and fabric softeners will come down to whether you use your washing machine or dryer more. If you’re someone who doesn’t use the dryer as often, dryer sheets may not be the best fit for you. But if you’re someone who wants freshness for linen and towels, dryer sheets could be the right choice. Compare fabric softener brands to help get you started in choosing a product. 

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Kate King
Casual Content Producer
Kate King was a content producer at Canstar Blue until 2024, most recently in the Home & Lifestyle section. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries from the Queensland University of Technology, majoring in Journalism and Media and Communications.

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