Studies by Canstar Blue show that liquid detergent users care more about how the detergent makes their clothes feel than about how clean their clothes get. They want their clothes to smell nice and feel soft.
There are two choices for achieving the more luxurious cleaning for your clothes – the fragrance and the level of softener included in the detergent.
The fragrance in laundry detergent neutralises the odour of dirt and sweat in your clothing and also the inherent smell of the detergent chemicals themselves. There are many different fragrances used in detergents, but the most popular these days seem to be lavender and citrus.
It seems from our survey results that they work pretty well, with users of Earth Choice saying they were highly satisfied and giving the smell of the clothes after washing a 5-star rating. Omo and Radiant received 4-star ratings for smell.
Then there’s fabric softener. Softener uses cationic surfactants bearing a positive charge, which lubricates and reduces static electrical charge build-up and keeps the tails of threads together so the fabric feels smoother and softer.
They also work wonderfully; users of Earth Choice and Omo gave the feel of their clothes after washing them a 5-star rating, followed by Cold Power and Radiant with 4-star ratings for feel.
Many liquid detergents now include fabric softener already. The benefits of detergents that already include fabric softener include that you can’t get any stains from accidentally spilling the softener straight onto the clothes. Meanwhile, the benefits of using an individual fabric softener is that it goes into a separate slot and is released at the latest possible point during the cycle so that it has the best chance to soften your clothes.
Can you make your clothes too soft? If you add fabric softener on top of your detergent, will anything bad happen? The answer is probably not. Your clothes can get very soft, but using too much softener isn’t going to dissolve them into nothing.
There are a couple of warnings that should be shared about fabric softener.
First, it’s not actually recommended to use it for your toddler’s bedtime onesies. This is because it slightly reduces the flame-resistance of children’s sleepwear and other flame-retardant clothing, and the use of fragrance can also irritate children’s sensitive skin.
Secondly, it provides a slight waterproofing effect. So it’s not recommended to use it on your towels, microfiber cleaning cloths or gym wear, which need to be as absorbent as possible. In that case it is a trade-off between the lovely scent of fabric softener and the decrease in absorbency.
So when you’re after a luxurious wash for your clothes, you know what to do. Pick a detergent with a great smell and a great feel loved by your fellow Australians.
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