Fabric softeners are designed to soften pieces of fabric and impact them with a fresh feel and fragrance. They help reduce wrinkle and static in fabrics. While it certainly has its advantages, it can be harmful to the skin and some fabrics. If you are considering waterproofing for fabrics, you should think twice about using fabric softeners, as they can leave residues that may affect the fabric’s breathability.
Fabric softeners are a no-no for some fabrics. Below are some materials you should never use fabric softener on.
Waterproof or Water repellent Fabrics
Fabric softeners should never be used on waterproof or water repellent fabrics. It reduces the effectiveness of these fabrics by leaving behind a coating that makes the fabrics more penetrable to water.
Microfiber and Fleece
Fabric softener should never be used on fabrics made from microfibers. It absorbs the residue of the fabric softener and clogs up its surface. In essence, the microfibers lose their effectiveness to lock in moisture. Fleece might lose its ability to keep you warm if a fabric softener is used. Just like in microfibers, it might clog up the surface blocking the air pockets.
Infant and Children Clothes
Resist the temptation to use fabric softener on children’s clothing, no matter how small. Children’s clothes contain fire-resistant chemicals that can be clogged by fabric softeners. Also, infants and children have sensitive skin that might be irritated by the chemicals in fabric softener.
Yes, we all want our towels to feel soft and fluffy. Fiber softeners can make your towels soft for a while, but their residue traps the moisture in the fabric, keeping it from drying completely. The towels soon lose their ability to absorb effectively and might even begin to have a moldy smell.
Athletic wears are often made of polyester, nylon, and other synthetics. These fabrics are designed for comfort, pull moisture from the body, and absorb little water (in the case of swimwear). The residue of fabric softener compromises the effectiveness of these fabrics to wick, leading to skin irritation, and a musty smell.
Finally, there are alternatives to fabric softeners. Rather than compromise waterproofing for fabrics or watch your fabrics lose their absorbency, you can try home-made and inexpensive options. Try wool dryer balls, baking soda, vinegar, and other alternatives to soften your clothes and get rid of static.