Fabric Softeners: Ratings of Sources
Total of 19 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Best Fabric Softeners
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentThe latest roundup of fabric softeners on ConsumerReports.org includes 12 different brands of liquid fabric softener, eight brands of dryer sheets and two other types of softeners: a reusable dryer cloth and a dryer ball. Editors break down the cost per load and rate each brand on softness by having "sensory specialists" rate articles of clothing after laundering; static, with the use of a humidity-controlled room; and absorbency, by placing pieces of towels in a blue liquid and measuring the amount absorbed, a test of a common belief that fabric softener reduces the absorbency of towels.
by Editors of GoodGuide.com
Our AssessmentGoodGuide.com focuses on environmentally friendly products. Editors rate detergents and fabric softeners in terms of health, environment and society, on a scale of 1 to 10. Method Squeaky Clean Dryer Cloths earn an overall rating of 8.5, while Seventh Generation Natural Fabric Softener, Free & Clear, has an overall rating of 8.2. Consumers can also post their own reviews, but at the time of our visit, most products have accumulated just a few reviews. Much additional information is provided on each product, including ingredients, certifications and further details substantiating the rating in each category.
by Contributors to Drugstore.com
Our AssessmentDrugstore.com has several dozen reviews for many popular fabric softener brands. Seventh Generation in Blue Ecualyptus & Lavender is the most heavily reviewed product, with almost 100 owner-written reviews and an average rating of four out of five. Both Ultra Downy Concentrated Simple Pleasures in Vanilla & Lavender and Ecover Ecological Fabric Softener in Morning Fresh have an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, based on 34 and 50 reviews, respectively. Mrs. Meyer's Fabric Softener consistently earns an average rating of 4.5 stars among the more than 120 reviews covering four available scents. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dryer Sheets earn mediocre reviews on this site, however.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentFifty fabric-softening products are reviewed by owners on Amazon.com at the time of our visit. Many have received just a few owner-written reviews, but there are several products earning at least a dozen reviews. Among them, the highest-rated products include Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Fabric Softener and Ecover Fabric Softener Liquid, but neither gets more than two dozen reviews. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Fabric Softener Sheets beat out the competition among dryer sheets, with an average rating of 4 stars out of 5, based on over 65 owner-written reviews.
by Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Our AssessmentApproximately 30 liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets are reviewed by consumers on Viewpoints.com. Most of the products had just a handful of reviews at the time of our visit; however, there are several products receiving enough reviews to provide a good consensus of consumer opinion. The Bounce Dryer Bar receives more than 1,700 reviews on this site, with an average rating of approximately 3.9 stars out of 5. The high number of reviews for this product is attributed to the fact that Viewpoints.com gave 2,500 Viewpoints members a free Bounce Dryer Bar in order to accumulate feedback for the item.
by Contributors to ExpoTV.com
Our AssessmentExpoTV.com pays consumers to post video reviews of products. While many fabric softeners are reviewed, most products don't receive more than a handful of reviews. Many fabric softeners have received only one or two reviews at the time of our visit, but a few have more than 10 reviews. Among them, Downy Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener is the highest-rated liquid fabric softener, with a perfect 5-star average rating based on more than 20 reviews. Gain Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener in Original Fresh also does well, with an average rating of 4.5 stars, based on nearly 35 video reviews. Among dryer sheets, Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets in Fresh Linen Scent wins out with an average rating of 4.5 stars, based on nearly 30 reviews.
Mountain Green - Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
by Editors of GreenCupboards.com
Our AssessmentEditors of GreenCupboards.com test the Mountain Green Free & Clear Liquid Fabric Softener and Mountain Green Free & Clear Fabric Softening Dryer Sheets by laundering multiple loads of laundry using each product to compare. Since this website is focused on eco-friendly, natural and organic products, their review is geared towards the environmental impacts of the products, but performance and ease of use is also discussed. Editors say both the liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets do a good job of softening clothes. The liquid version offers refills, so the packaging is more environmentally friendly, but the dryer sheets are easier to use.
"Greener" Laundry by the Load: Fabric Softener versus Dryer Sheets
by Editors of Scientific American magazine
Our AssessmentThis article was posted in response to a reader's question regarding whether liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets are better. Editors discuss concerns about toxic chemicals, saying liquid fabric softeners are preferable to dryer sheets because dryer sheets can also release chemicals into the air. Products recommended in this article include Seventh Generation Natural Lavender Scent Fabric Softener, Ecover Natural Fabric Softener and the Maddocks Static Eliminator, which rely on natural ingredients as opposed to chemicals.
by Annie B. Bond
Our AssessmentIn response to a reader's question asking for advice on alternatives for fabric softeners that make her sick, Annie B. Bond responds with recommendations for green fabric softeners, including Seventh Generation and Ecover. She also provides a basic recipe for all-natural fabric softener. A handful of readers respond with their comments and suggestions.
Ecover Fabric Softener Product Review
Our AssessmentThis blogger reviews Ecover Fabric Softener Liquid on this site dedicated to environmental news, information and product reviews. "Adam" says the advantage to using fabric softener is not only the softer feel of clothing, but the smell. Without using fabric softener, he felt that his sport clothes didn't have a clean smell after laundering. He reports that Ecover provides a "fresh" smell that isn't as strong as some other brands, although he doesn't compare Ecover to other products in head-to-head testing.
Natural Elements Ultra Purex Fabric Softener
by Mary Marlowe Leverette
Our AssessmentMary Marlowe Leverette, About.com's guide to laundry, reviews Natural Elements Ultra Purex Fabric Softener. Leverette gives Natural Elements Ultra Purex a perfect 5-star rating. However, because she says that fabric softeners can increase the flammability of certain types of fabric and can cause spotting on laundry, she prefers using baking soda or white vinegar to soften fabrics. Ultra Purex Fabric Softener, however, does earn points for using biodegradable ingredients and being hypoallergenic and dye-free. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Arm & Hammer Total 2-in-1 Dryer Cloths
by Mary Marlowe Leverette
Our AssessmentMary Marlowe Leverette, About.com's guide to laundry, reviews Arm & Hammer's Total 2-in-1 Dryer Cloths, which she rates 4.5 stars out of 5. Leverette says the 2-in-1 Dryer Cloths are convenient, soften clothes and prevent static. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: New Downy Simple Pleasures Spice Blossom Dare Liquid Fabric Softener
by Melanie Dee
Our AssessmentThis individual product review covers Downy Simple Pleasures Spice Blossom Dare Liquid Fabric Softener, which the author chose specifically for its scent. In addition to infusing her clothes and her laundry room with the scent of apple-cinnamon and clean linen, Melanie Dee notes that her clothes feel soft and clean.
Method Brand Fabric Softener: To Buy or Not to Buy?
by Audrey Brown
Our AssessmentThis review of Method Fabric Softener discusses product ingredients and effectiveness. The pear scent is quite strong, reviewer Audrey Brown says, so much so that she uses only half a capful in even large loads of laundry. Brown also says Method leaves her clothes feeling very soft.
Purex Natural Elements Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener: Win This!
Our AssessmentThis blog provides information and reviews of products that are eco-friendly and affordable. The anonymous reviewer says Purex Natural softens clothes well, but notes that the two fragrances available are rather strong.
Nellie's Dryerballs: Product Review
Our AssessmentThe anonymous author of this review tests Nellie's Dryerballs by drying a regular-sized load of mixed-colored laundry with just one dryer ball, as well as drying a load of towels using just one dryer ball and then with two dryer balls. While one dryer ball is sufficient to prevent static cling with a load of regular clothing, two balls are required to produce satisfactory results with towels. However, the author does note that the instructions say to use two balls with every load. This review briefly compares Nellie's Dryerballs to Method Dryer Sheets, which the author says also work well, but Nellie's Dryerballs are more budget-friendly, because they are reusable.
Dryer Max Dryer Balls: Product Review
by Erin Huffstetler
Our AssessmentAbout.com's guide to frugal living, Erin Huffstetler, reviews Dryer Max Dryer Balls, giving this product a rating of 4 stars out of 5. Huffstetler says Dryer Max Dryer Balls live up to the hype; they soften clothes without chemicals, reduce drying time and are environmentally friendly. On the downside, they don't do a great job of preventing static cling, they cause extra noise in the dryer and they tend to get stuck in the arms and legs of clothing. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
New Bounce Dryer Bar Fabric Softener for Your Laundry: A Thorough Review
by Rachel Ellis
Our AssessmentRachel Ellis reviews the Bounce Dryer Bar, expressing mixed feelings for the product. Positives include cost savings over traditional dryer sheets, time savings and convenience. On the downside, she says the Bounce Dryer Bar does a poor job of reducing static cling, and the scent isn't as noticeable after only 10 loads of laundry.
Bounce Dryer Bar: Does It Work?
by Lauren Keith
Our AssessmentA viewer tests the Bounce Dryer Bar, complaining that it sticks to the side of the dryer drum. This brief article does mention other viewer opinions, which are mixed: Some say it broke into pieces inside the dryer, while others say it worked for up to four months.