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How Does Fabric Softener Affect the Washing Machine?

How Does Fabric Softener Affect the Washing Machine?

Is fabric softener bad for your washer? Find out more here.

Fabric softener is one of the items that make our clothing feel luxurious. It makes clean laundry feel soft and fresh to the touch. Without it, your clothing could feel stiff and coarse. However, there is much dissent over the benefits of fabric softener, especially pertaining to your washing machine’s health. How does fabric softener affect the washing machine? See more below.

What Is Fabric Softener? 

Fabric softener uses a chemical derived from animal fat to help make clothes feel softer. Rather than changing the molecular makeup of your laundry to make it softer, it coats your clothing in a lubricant that makes it seem softer. Your clothes might be smoother to the touch and smell nicer, but they may not work exactly the way you thought.

How Does Fabric Softener Affect the Washing Machine?

Fabric softener is fatty and clumpy by nature, which could eventually clog your washing machine’s pipes and collect in the fabric softener dispenser. If you do not remove the residual softener, you could begin to see or smell mold in your washing machine. Neither clogging nor mold growth are desirable for your washer.

What You Can Do

Even if you do use fabric softener, you will not necessarily see your washer break down. However, you might begin to see minor problems, in which case it is better to consider these actions.

Use an Alternative

It is possible to make a DIY fabric softener using household ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar. You could also stick with dryer sheets or dryer balls. If you use dryer sheets instead, keep in mind that you will likely need to wipe dryer sheet residue off the barrel periodically. 

Clean the Washing Machine

Even if you do not use fabric softener at all, it is wise to deep clean your washing machine from time to time, if not once a month. You can clean it out by tossing in a couple of towels and a quart of vinegar and baking soda. You will then want to run the machine on its hottest, longest, and largest cycle. 

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