Ahh fabric softener - a staple in most households to help give clothes and fabrics a lovely smell and get everything soft and cozy.
Cleaning products have instructions on the back for a reason, which is why everyone should check the back of the bottle.
But a lot of people don't, which we get - it's not exactly exciting material - but there is a very good reason why fabric softener should not be used in some cases!
Fabric softener is designed to soften the fibres of material, which for the most part, is why everyone loves it - but softening the fibres on some products can have unintended consequences.
So did you know there are some items you shouldn't be using fabric softener on? Take a look at the common items that it shouldn't be used on!
The reassuring domestic bliss of a fabric sofa with removable covers you can simply pop in the wash when someone accidentally spills something
However fabric softener should not be used when you wash it.
Sofa covers have to be manufactured with a flame retardant coating on the fabric. This is to help reduce the impact of it either catching fire or helping a fire take hold.
When fabric softener is used on flame retardant materials it can reduce the effectiveness of the coating so just grab only the detergent next time.
Children's Pyjama's and Bedding
This one follows on pretty much from the same point as above. Children's nightwear - be it PJ's or baby's sleeping bags, they again have the same requirement for a flame retardant coating to be used. So fabric softener needs to be avoided on these items.
Also bedding - not only can it impact coatings it also makes the fabric less absorbent, making it less likely to help do it's job of making you as comfortable as possible.
Water-Proof, and Water-Repellant Fabrics
Fabric softener can alter the the fibres in water-repellent fabrics, meaning it impacts the ability of the finish applied (which is what makes it repellent)
So over time reduces the effectiveness of original coating.
Everyone loves a nice soft towel, but (like with bedding) one of the properties of the fabric softener is reduced absorbency in the material…. Which is the opposite of what you want in your towels! (this also goes for other fluffy materials, like microfibre cleaning cloths for example)
So start skipping the softener on loads with towels, and feel the difference!
Anything that isn't Clothing in a Washing Machine
Now this one may seem confusing (why would you use fabric softener for anything else other than what it's meant for?!) but since cleaning instagrammers, and bloggers have found their way into our lives, some conflicting information, and ways to get your house smelling fresh, have seen the rise of some alarming trends.
Using fabric softener to wipe down surfaces, using it in wax melts, or air fresheners, or anything else, especially where heat is concerned, please leave that trend behind. As with a lot of cleaning products - they are designed for a single purpose, and without an in depth understanding of what chemical's, and what impact the ingredients could have on fumes given off and the material it is being used, or mixed with on it really isn't worth the risk - there are far better products that were designed for the required job that are safe to use. So leave the bottle by the washing machine, and pick the appropriate time to use it.
Alternatives to Fabric Softener
If you are looking to cut out fabric softener's altogether - a highly recommended alternative is white vinegar. It softens the clothes, and despite some people's initial reservations does not leave a trace of vinegar smell on your clothes once the wash is complete.
Due to it's limescale removing usefulness - can also help keep on top of keeping your washing machine in good order.
Please note - washing machine manufacturer's usually recommend what products to use, when using your washing machines, and white vinegar is not normally tested by manufacturer's for machines - so please check if you do decide to use it regularly with the manufacturer that it won't affect your warranty.