Why Fabric Conditioner is Terrible for Clothes
Wendy of Moral Fibres looks into the laundry product we all use so regularly and recommends a more planet-friendly alternative for you to try. Here she is... “Is fabric conditioner a vital part of the laundry process for you?” It used to be for me, but 8 years ago I stopped using it when I noticed my clothes weren’t coming out of the machine smelling particularly fresh or clean. A little bit of internet sleuthing led me to have a lightbulb moment: conventional fabric conditioner usage can actually shorten the lifespan of your clothes and towels, and lock bad odours into your clothes. Why? Well, let’s look at the science behind conventional fabric conditioner… Fabric conditioner essentially applies a thin, waxy electrically charged coating to your laundry, which has to be water resistant in order to survive the washing process. This coating makes your clothes feel softer and easier to iron, but it’s this water-resistant coating that decreases the ability of your clothes to absorb water and laundry detergent. This means that, over time, your clothes won’t respond as well to washing and will be more likely to have bad odours locked in to them. With regards to towels this chemical coating can, over time, make your towels less absorbent. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the towel, right? The water-resistant quality of fabric conditioner can also reduce the performance of sportswear, particularly the kind of high-performance sportswear that wicks-away moisture. Fabric conditioner is also not a good idea for cotton or bamboo clothing, which with normal washing will normally absorb light perspiration. As soon as fabric conditioner is introduced, that handy absorption is lost. It’s not just your sportswear and towels that you will want to keep away from fabric conditioner. When used on clothing containing elastane and nylon (like leggings, skinny jeans, bras, knickers and tights), fabric conditioner can leave a residue that can dull the finish of your clothes and attract bacteria that cause excessive odour. Is there an alternative? If you’re looking to ditch the fabric conditioner then I’ve got a recipe for you that is eco-friendly, non-toxic and just as effective as conventional fabric conditioner at softening your clothes, without the aforementioned ill effects. And you don’t need to use it with every single wash either. Try using it here and there and see how you get on.