When putting laundry into the washing machine, of course you add your detergent, which can come in powder, liquid or packet form. And that may not be all. There are other products designed to work in the laundry process to provide additional benefits.
Just like with detergent, read the product label before using. Pay attention to when it gets added and where. For instance, often the washing machine will have a special tray for liquid fabric softener because pouring it directly onto sheets, towels, clothing, etc. may cause blue-gray, greasy-looking stains to appear. And don’t forget to store all laundry products up and out of reach of children.
Let’s go through some of these laundry additive categories and what they are designed to do.
- Fabric softener is designed to make the items that you wash feel soft and fluffy. It also reduces static cling and helps permanent-press fabrics to dry faster and wrinkle less.
- Fabric conditioner is designed to do all this, plus it makes clothes easier to iron. A word of caution: In liquid forms, softeners and conditioners should be added to the wash during the final stages of the rinse cycle.
- Scent boosters help keep your clothes smelling great long after you launder them. They should be added when you start the washing machine.
- Laundry sanitizers can help remove germs from your clothes, towels and bedding. This can be helpful for cleaning sweaty clothes as well as for illness prevention. Our Levels of Laundry chart has more information.
- Bleach can be added as a sanitizer or stain remover, as long as it’s safe for the fabric. Often washing machines will have a separate compartment for adding bleach.
- Dryer sheets reduce static and make laundry feel softer. They also often contain a fragrance. As the name implies, they are added after washing, when the clothes are moved to the dryer.
- Wrinkle spray is used after clothes are removed from the dryer to reduce the need for ironing.
Which should you use? That depends on which benefits matter to you, whether it’s a softer feel, minimal static or germ reduction. Find the best additives for you to take your laundry to the next level.