Fabric Softener vs. Scent Booster

Fabric Softener vs. Scent Booster – What’s the Difference?

Everyone loves it when their clothes come out of the wash feeling luxuriously soft. When they smell great as well, it’s even better! Two products that produce these desirable results are fabric softeners and scent boosters.

Fabric softeners have been around for as long as people can remember. They are a vital part of many peoples washing routines and are well-known for making your clothes feel and smell great.

Comparatively, scent boosters are a more recent addition to the variety of laundry products out there., primarily used for making your clothes smell extra fresh!

Unfortunately, the role of these boosters is often confused with that of fabric softeners, and many people don’t achieve their desired results when substituting one product for the other.

This article will clean up this confusion by comparing fabric softeners vs scent boosters.

Read on to find out the difference between these two products and whether or not they can be used together.


Are Scent Boosters the Same as Fabric Softeners?

It’s a common misconception that fabric softeners and scent boosters are practically the same thing.

Both products may be an add-on to your washing routine, but their primary jobs are entirely different. Below is a detailed overview of each product so that you can clearly see the differences for yourself.

What is fabric softener?

clothes and fabric softener

The main role of fabric softener, also known as fabric conditioner, is to leave your clothes feeling soft and wrinkle-free after they have been through the wash.

It does this by coating the fabric in a lubricating mixture that reduces friction and static cling in the material. Although it can be scented, the main function of fabric softener is to soften fabric rather than make it smell nice.

Fabric softeners can be brought in three forms: liquid, powder, and dryer sheets. The first two must be added to your laundry during the rinse cycle, whereas the latter must be added to the tumble dryer.

In addition, not all fabric softeners are suitable for all fabrics, e.g., towels and athleticwear. Therefore, you can also find fabric softeners for many fabric types on the market.

As with most washing products, fabric softeners typically contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can irritate those with sensitive skin.

However, there are products designed for those with sensitive skin, as well as several natural alternatives that can be used instead.

Fabric softener summary:

  • Added to your laundry during the rinse cycle or when tumble drying
  • Placed in the fabric softener dispenser or tumble dryer
  • Aim to leave your laundry feeling soft and wrinkle-free
  • Can’t be used on certain materials
  • Options available for sensitive skin

What are scent boosters?

scent boosters

Scent boosters (or laundry beads) are a relatively new product compared to fabric softeners. Their purpose is to infuse your laundry with a pleasant smell meant to last for weeks.

Although most laundry detergents also give your clothing a fresh scent, this does tend to wear off fairly quickly.

Scent boosters are used alongside laundry detergent in your laundry’s wash cycle. The beads are placed underneath your laundry in the machine drum and then dissolve during washing. There are a wide variety of different scents available to suit everyone’s taste.

Like fabric softeners, scent boosters contain chemicals and fragrances known to cause skin irritation.

However, there are products that are kind to sensitive skin and free from stronger chemicals. One example that regularly receives good reviews and can be purchased from most major retailers is the Fairy Fresh Non-Bio Scent Booster.

Scent boosters summary:

  • Used alongside laundry detergent during the wash cycle
  • Placed in the drum of your washing machine
  • Aim to leave your laundry with a lasting fragrance
  • Is safe to use on all materials
  • Options available for sensitive skin


Can You Use Scent Boosters and Fabric Softener Together?

Scent Boosters and Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners and scent boosters may not be the same thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them together and make use of the benefits of each.

This being said, you may want to carefully consider the scent of both products to prevent your clothes from coming out of the wash with an unusual smell.

Although fabric softeners won’t leave as strong a scent on your laundry as scent boosters do, they will still leave behind a faint smell if the product is scented.

Therefore, we recommend trying to match the scent of your fabric softener and scent boosters so that they are the same or nicely complement each other.

Your other alternative is to stick to scent-free fabric softener when doing your washing.