fabric softener bottles

What Happens If You Use Too Much Fabric Softener?

Adding lashings of fabric softener to your washer to make your laundry extra, extra soft and scented may seem like a harmless idea.

But this great idea isn’t as good as you might think. In fact, it can cause a considerable amount of trouble for your washing!


Issues with Using Too Much Fabric Softener

What are the side effects of using too much fabric softener? The main problems with using too much softener include the following.

1. Waxy coating on clothes

pants inside washing machine

If you use too much fabric softener, your laundry will end up covered in a waxy, film-like coating if you use an excessive amount of fabric softener on them. And instead of feeling soft, the items will feel slimy and uncomfortable to touch and wear.

This, in turn, may result in you having to re-wash the laundry so you can remove the excess fabric softener.

Of course, this then means that your items are subjected to more wear and tear-related issues.

Plus, the residue left behind by the softener can usually be seen on clothes, and it’s super obvious! But luckily, fabric softener residue can be removed!


2. Over-scented clothes

woman with smelly laundry

In addition to feeling waxy, if your clothes are treated with too much fabric softener, they might be over-scented and will not smell very nice to you.

Consequently, you may have to re-clean or hang the laundry on the line to get rid of the stench.


3. Towels and clothes lose their absorbency

fabric softener and towels

Further to this, excess fabric softener can make items, like towels and gym wear, lose their absorbency. For example, if a bath towel is covered in too much softener, it will not effectively remove the liquid from your person as you dry yourself.

In turn, you may find that it takes you longer to dry yourself after having a shower, or you might have to use more than one towel!

Similarly, if you’re working hard at the gym, you might notice that your sportswear isn’t catching any of your sweat.

Of course, the more often you expose such items to fabric softener, the worse this effect gets, and your items will lose most of their absorbent nature.


4. Could clog up your washing machine

dirty detergent drawer

And the trouble doesn’t end there! If you use too much fabric softener in your washing machine, you could clog up the machine, including the softener compartment, drum and drain hose. In some cases, mould might even start to grow inside the appliance.

As a consequence of this, your laundry might end up getting stained by the built-up softener that’s in the machine, and garments might not be cleaned effectively in the unhygienic environment.

You should also be mindful that if your washer is clogged with waste fabric softener, this residue may get onto clothes that it shouldn’t really come into contact with.

Items like delicate materials (wool) and sportswear can lose their absorbency or become damaged if they’re treated with softeners.

Not to mention that using way too much fabric softener can aggravate your skin and any allergies you or someone else may have, usually resulting in spots or itchy patches. And it’s extremely problematic for those suffering from pre-existing skin conditions.


5. Makes laundry detergent less effective

detergent drawer

On a final note, if you overdo it with the fabric softener, you might find it hard to wash your garments effectively afterwards.

You see, when fabric softener is added to the drum, it coats the washing inside with scents and different chemicals, but in doing so, it makes it harder for any detergent to penetrate deep into the material’s fibres to draw out the dirt that’s within.

Under normal circumstances (correct dose of softener), this would be fine because the detergent would’ve cleaned the clothes, and then the fabric softener would be added to the drum.

However, if you continuously use too much fabric softener, a build-up of the product will be on your clothes, so when it comes to cleaning your outfit, the detergent may not be able to effectively remove the grime for you because it can’t get down into the fibres properly.

As a result, although your garments have been washed, they may not feel, look, or smell clean to you.


Tips for Using Fabric Softener

tips for using fabric softener

Here are a handful of tips you should keep in mind when using fabric softener:

See our guide on how to use fabric softener for some more advice.