Fabric Softeners vs Dryer Sheets

Utilizing fabric softeners come with numerous advantages in addition to softening clothes. Dryer sheets, in addition to these liquid laundry materials, can also be used.

You might be wondering what the difference is between the both of them; it’s just that, while both are used to give laundry a soft feel after washing, each has a comparative advantage over the other.

Fabric Softeners Vs Dryer Sheets – What’s the Difference?

While fabric softeners and dryer sheets are used for the same function; to soften clothing, they are quite different in terms of preference by many people.

Fabric softeners are liquid and may lead to stains on clothing compared to dryer sheets which pose lesser risks of stains. Some people may prefer dryer sheets because they are reusable for up to 5 times, unlike the fabric softeners which are not. You just keep on adding to your laundry per cycle until it is exhausted.

Also, dryer sheets are much more affordable and ecologically friendlier than fabric softeners. Next is cost. Fabric softeners are quite expensive compared to dryer sheets which are both affordable and reusable. Dryer sheets are also handy and convenient to move around unlike the liquid fabric softener.

Let’s analyze each of these laundry additives further. 

What is a Fabric Softener and What does it do?

Fabric softeners are very popular, but many people still do not know what it is or what it does.

Fabric softeners are liquid additives you can use when doing laundry for softening your clothing. They are formulated with many chemicals and artificial materials that add a thin, waxy coat to the outer surface of clothing.

This helps to reduce clothing abrasion and removes the static that is caused by brushing clothing fibers when they’re being washed.

Fabric softeners also remove creases, improve the material for ironing, and give your laundry nice fragrances. 

They are used in the laundry by adding to the washing machine softener compartment simultaneously with laundry detergents or you can do it by hand in the rinse cycle if your washing machine does not have a dispenser or probably if your laundry requires a handwash. 

What Are Dryer Sheets 

Dryer sheets are a type of fabric softener, if you like, an alternative. From its name, you might have guessed what it is and its function. 

Dryer sheets are pieces of square-sized cloth made from different fabrics like cellulose, cotton, or polyester coated with layers of lubricants, fragrances, and stearic acids that give clothing a soft feel. 

They are not as popular as the liquid fabric softener but are a good alternative if you want a laundry softener that’s less expensive and gives your clothing good scents. 

They are used in dryers after a machine or hand wash. All it takes is a throw into the dryer with your laundry and your clothing gets softened in no time. They’re environmentally friendly too. 

Using Fabric softeners 

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are useful tools for quickly making your laundry feel nice.

You don’t have to be an expert to use fabric softeners; in fact, you can make your own at home. It’s great for laundry, but it has some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at a few of them.


  • Fabric softeners are great tools for keeping your clothing feeling nice and soft. They do this by covering the outer surface of clothing with lubricants that remove the friction that lies in clothing due to constant contact with other clothing. 
  • They also give your clothing nice fragrances after wash. Fabric softeners are input with fragrances at their production and they keep clothing smelling good for a long time in between washes.
  • Fabric softeners remove creases from clothing, ensures smooth-textured fibers, and enable them to be easily ironed. 
  • Fabric softeners protect your clothing from fading. Due to frequent washing, the fabric of your clothing may shrink and the colors laundered away which will result in fading. But the addition of fabric softeners maintains its color and ensures its fibers do not wane. 
  • Fabric softeners remove static from clothing which causes them to wear out. The fabric softener contains chemicals that reduce the abrasion and keeps them soft.


  • Since fabric softeners are quite popular, you might just find different types at a grocery store, but they are quite expensive when compared to other types of softeners. If you are searching for more pocket-friendly choices, you might find this not suitable for your budget. 
  • Fabric softeners are not suitable for all types of clothing like athletic and microfiber clothing because they reduce the absorbing ability of these types of clothing by covering the areas of water flow in the fabric. They will most likely cause you distress. 
  • Fabric softeners are manufactured with silicone oils to give a smooth feel to laundry. But these oils are often associated with stains. So, you might want to consider this when using this. 
  • Fabric softeners build up on clothing after some time, they cause stains on clothing and even clog washing machines causing their breakdown. 
  • Some fabric softeners produced are not ecologically sustainable and cause environmental issues. 

Making Use of Dryer Sheets

If you want an alternative to fabric softeners, you can use dryer sheets for your laundry. However, they, like fabric softeners, have cons too. 


  • Dryer sheets are a viable substitute for fabric softeners because they are less costly. They’re less expensive than their liquid counterparts, making them an excellent choice for those on a tight budget. They’re also a good choice when it comes to environmental benefits.
  • They are quite easy to use even if you’re a first-timer. Just throw the sheets in your dryer and that’s it. You can also check the package of the sheets to get information on how to use them.
  • They also remove static from clothing like fabric softeners. They’re covered with different additives that are released on your laundry inside the dryer. These additives soften the clothing, removes wrinkles from them, and add nice scents to them. 


  • Like fabric softeners, their chemical coatings can accumulate on your clothing and result in damage to your clothing and your dryer because the build-up blocks the lint filter partitions of the dryer.
  • You don’t want to put them near your skin because dryer sheets can also cause skin irritation and allergies because of the harsh chemicals used to cover them.
  • When you use dryer sheets, you ought to be careful because they sometimes stick to clothing and can be stressful to ply them away. 
  • Dryer sheets also cannot be used for flame-resistant materials and clothing that absorbs moisture. They clog the moisture-absorbing areas and reduce their usefulness. 

Can I Use Fabric Softener or Dryer Sheets on All My Clothing?

While it’s great to use fabric softeners or dryer sheets during laundry, not all clothing is suitable for use of fabric softeners or dryer sheets. 

Clothing like sportswear, microfiber clothing, and flame-resistant clothing are not so good for these laundry additives because the softeners and sheets clog the pores that function as routes for moisture to the exterior of clothing.

You do not want to use these laundry materials on these fabrics, especially the flame-resistant kind. 

You could instead add a cup of distilled vinegar to them during laundry or try out a few homemade fabric softeners with baking soda, hair conditioner, or salt if you want to get creative. That’s probably a better option for them. 

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