Using fabric conditioner at ‘incorrect’ time makes it ‘ineffective’

Lynsey Queen of Clean shares her laundry tip

There’s nothing better than fresh-smelling, soft laundry, so it can be disappointing to find that washing products haven’t done what they say on the bottle. While fabric conditioners promise a like-new finish to clothes, towels and bedding, even the most expensive products can be a letdown if used incorrectly. According to laundry experts, timing is just one thing that matters when working through a heap of washing.

Fabric conditioner is the go-to product to make clothes and linens feel as fresh as possible, and for some, is as essential as detergent.

But while many Britons swear by the often fragranced product, experts have urged people to rethink how they use it.

According to one professional at the washing delivery app, Laundry Heap, it should be added to the washing machine at a different time than standard detergent.

They said: “Many people believe that fabric softener should be added to your washing at the same time as detergent. This is incorrect.”

Instead, they recommended adding the liquid product during the rinse cycle stage.

The Laundry Heap expert explained: “Adding softener during a wash cycle will remove the chemical residue that makes your clothing soft, therefore making it ineffective.”

In most wash cycles, there are two rinse cycles – one known as the “pre-wash”, and the other step after the main wash.

When using conditioner, it is best to add it to the washing machines at the rinsing stage after the temperature rises and the detergent has been used in the main wash.

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To do this mid-cycle, hold down the unlock button on the appliance after the detergent has been dispensed.

Then, pour one capful of fabric conditioner into the drum. A cleaning expert at Downy warned against emptying it directly onto the contents of the machine, and to find water pockets in the drum instead.

These are often found towards the front of the washing machine where the water fills up near the door.

Pouring coloured conditioner directly onto clothing can result in stains or thick residue clinging to fabrics.

Once added, resume the wash sequence and allow the conditioning product to get to work in the final stages of the cycle.

While most fabrics will benefit from a boost of extra fragrance, some items will respond better than others when washed with conditioner.

The Laundry Heap expert noted that bed linens will come out “crisp, soft and clean-smelling” after washing with a good quality formula.

Jumpers are another garment worth conditioning with liquid products to reduce static and reduce general wear and tear. This is especially useful for clothes that are “likely to bobble”, according to the laundry expert.

As a general rule, homeowners in hard water areas are more likely to benefit from using fabric conditioners during a rinse cycle.

The Laundry Heap spokesperson explained: “You may notice that your clothing comes out of the washing machine feeling rough.

“This is because the mineral content in hard water is high and attaches to the fibres in your clothing, making the fabric stiffer than in soft water areas.

“Adding fabric softener to your wash can remove some of those harsh minerals, resulting in softer clothing.”

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