is there a difference between fabric conditioner and softener?

Posted by smol on



What’s the difference between fabric conditioner and fabric softener?

It’s definitely a fabric conditioner frequently asked question here at smol…so, spoiler alert…

… there is NO difference between fabric conditioner and fabric softener.

same thing.

Fabric softener and fabric conditioner are just different names for the same thing. Here in the UK perhaps the term fabric conditioner is more popular, while other countries may prefer to use the word softener. 

The important thing to know is that whatever you call them, they BOTH do the same thing.

what does a fabric conditioner do?

1. soft, fragrant laundry.

The number one aim of a fabric conditioner is to ensure your laundry feels soft and smells incredible (there’s nothing quite like climbing into a clean, soft, fragrant bed).

2. helps in hard water. 

If your clothes come out of the wash feeling rough - it could be high mineral levels in the water attaching to fibres and making them stiff. Fabric conditioners can remove some of these minerals for softer clothing.

3. banish bobbles.

Don’t like bobbles on your clothing? Using fabric conditioner can protect the fibres of your favourite jumper from the friction of your movement. When the surfaces of your clothing rub together (producing the bobbles) the softener keeps things smooth.

4. soft against skin.

If you have sensitive skin, a fabric conditioner can ease the irritation of rough clothing against your skin. In fact the National Eczema Society state studies have shown that clothes treated with a fabric softener have a potential benefit for people with sensitive skin.

5. helps clothes last longer.

As fabric conditioner lubricates the fibres of your clothing, this reduces friction in the wash and also prevents dye loss… which all adds up to longer lasting clothes.

Are there alternatives to fabric conditioner?

If your main reason for using fabric conditioner is to prolong the life of your clothes, there are other ways of doing so:

Choose a delicate wash cycle, don’t overload your machine and don’t overdose with laundry detergent. That’s why smol laundry capsules are so useful - each one perfectly dosed for the average load.  

Adding a tablespoon of soda crystals to your detergent drawer can help if you live in a hard water area as this will combat the limescale build up in both your machine and laundry.

more fabric conditioner FAQs

1. is fabric conditioner a detergent?

fabric conditioners are not detergents. A detergent (such as smol laundry capsules) will do the work of cleaning your laundry for you and removing all the dirt, smells and stains, whereas a fabric conditioner mostly helps them feel softer and smell stronger.

2. how do I use fabric conditioner?

It’s so easy to use fabcon when you’ve got smol fabric conditioner. Our concentrated formula means 4 tiny pumps into the conditioner section of your washing machine drawer is all you need for a standard load. You can adjust amounts if your drum size is large or you prefer a stronger scent. No mess, no spills and no waste.

3. What about all-in-one conditioner and detergent?

Don’t waste money on 2 in 1 capsules or liquids. They won’t give the same result as separate detergent and conditioner. Fabcon should always be added in the final rinse cycle which is why there’s a separate softener compartment in your machine drawer that rinses through at the end. It’s the section with the flower or star icon or sometimes just the number III.

Adding conditioner at the start of a wash with an all-in-one detergent capsule will just remove it along with all the dirt. Your detergent will treat it as something that needs cleaning from your clothes so by the time the cycle is done it will have rinsed away with the dirty water.

4. is it made from animal fat?

Did you know that many of the fabric conditioners in our shops today hide a dirty secret? 

Their key ingredient is rendered fat from cows, horses and sheep. It’s a cheap component that sticks to your clothing which is why it’s popular with manufacturers. They disguise it using names like esterquats or dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride. It’s all just animal fat.

smol fabric conditioner contains NO SUCH THING. 

We prefer our cows in fields. Plus there’s an additional bonus of no black mould in your detergent drawer (mould LOVES to feed on leftover fat).

smol fabric conditioner is vegan and cruelty-free. Just like ALL our smol products. So if you want to check out more Leaping Bunny accredited cleaning products for your home take a look at our fabulous home cleaning bundle and save yourself £££s!


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