Can You Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener? Which First?
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Can You Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener? Which First?

I’ll go into more detail about why it’s not a good idea to combine fabric softener and laundry detergent in this article.

The majority of people detest doing laundry. If you fall into this category, you might wonder whether you can mix fabric softener and laundry detergent to save time.

So can you mix laundry detergent and fabric softener? You cannot add fabric softener and laundry detergent to your washing machine at the same time. Fabric softeners will lose their effectiveness due to the cleaning agents in the laundry detergent being washed away during the wash cycle.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know.

Can You Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener?

Even though they are both used to make clothing feel softer, detergent and softener are not meant to be combined.

Detergents work by removing dirt and stains from fabric to clean clothing. Washing machines’ rinse cycles are supplemented with softeners to lower static electricity and soften clothes by reducing friction between fibers.

One of them would become useless due to their chemical reaction. It must be able to dissolve entirely in water for your laundry product to function properly. Your clothes will smell bad or fade more quickly than expected if your detergent is not completely dissolved, which will leave residue on them.

The best course of action is to keep your detergent and softener apart and use each one separately during each wash cycle. After adding your detergent, before starting the machine’s spin cycle (if it has one), you can add a packet or teaspoonful of softener during the rinse cycle.

Can You Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener? Which First?

What Happens When You Mix Laundry Detergent With Fabric Softener?

Fabric softener and laundry detergent do not mix, much like water and oil do not. One of them would be rendered useless by their chemical reaction. Please don’t combine them and use them together.

Laundry detergent will always wash the fabric softener away when you combine it with fabric softener during the wash cycle. As a result, the wash water will become “sticky” and your clothes won’t become as clean as you would like them to be.

Modern washing machines have separate compartments for detergent and softeners because of this. The detergent and softener are intended to be released into the drum at various times from these compartments.

What Happens If I Mix Fabric Detergent and Softener?

Your clothes might feel scratchy or stiff if you combine fabric softener and detergent. They might also develop an unpleasant odor and leave a residue.

Stains on clothing can be eliminated with laundry detergent. To stop the fabric from absorbing grime, sweat, and dirt, fabric softeners coat the fabric’s fibers. When you combine these two products, their effects cancel one another out, resulting in dirtier laundry.

What to Do If I Mix Fabric Detergent and Softener?

Be at ease if you unintentionally combine these two products. This issue is simple to resolve without damaging your clothing or spending extra money on new detergent or fabric softener.

Here’s how:

Can You Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener? Which First?

After using both products together, run an empty cycle in your washing machine without any laundry inside to thoroughly rinse it out. This will remove any residue that the detergent and softener mixture might have left behind. After that, run a fresh load of clean water—only hot water—in your washing machine.

Use your washing machine’s additional rinse cycle if it has one after running through hot water. This will make sure that there is no detergent left in your machine, preventing you from accidentally adding more during subsequent loads of laundry.

The combination of detergent and softener can leave your clothes stained or discolored if you don’t follow these instructions. Additionally, it might leave a residue on your washing machine that gets transferred to your clothing when you wash your clothes again.

Extreme situations may even result in your washing machine being harmed by this residue. Therefore, it’s crucial to take a few extra minutes to ensure that everything is thoroughly rinsed away after doing laundry with both products.

What Goes First: Detergent Or Fabric Softener?

Laundry detergent should always be followed by fabric softener. If added before the final rinse cycle, the cleaning agents in laundry detergent are potent enough to remove the fabric softener from your clothes.

Think of fabric softener and laundry detergent as shampoo and conditioner. Like detergent, shampoo is a cleansing product that aids in clearing your hair of oil, sweat, dirt, and environmental toxins.

Similar to how fabric softener keeps your clothes smooth and wrinkle-free, conditioners contain natural oils, proteins, and botanical extracts that help keep hair soft, shiny, and smooth.

Alternatives to Fabric Detergent and Softener

2-in-1 Laundry Detergent & Fabric Softener

2-in-1 Laundry Detergent & Fabric Softener

Purchasing a 2-in-1 detergent and softener is a simple substitute for separately adding fabric softener and laundry detergent. These products are made to clean and soften your clothing without causing the fabric softener to deactivate when you use laundry detergent.

You can purchase one of these 2-in-1 detergents and softeners, like Tide with Touch of Downy from if you want to keep your laundry routine straightforward. To both clean and soften your clothes, this detergent contains softening agents.

Fabric Softener Ball

Fabric Softener Ball

Fabric softener balls, which are similar to 2-in-1 detergents, eliminate the guesswork and labor-intensive process of adding fabric softener to your loads of laundry.

It is simple to add fabric softener with fabric softener balls, such as the Downy Ball Fabric Softener Dispenser from Simply place the ball into the washing machine drum after adding fabric softener to it.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

How to Soften Fabric? 10 Effective Ways

Among the most useful household items are vinegar and baking soda. They are also affordable and simple to use. They function admirably as a substitute for fabric softener when combined.

Simply combine half a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar in a bowl or bucket full of warm water as you wash your clothes by hand or by machine (it doesn’t matter which) to use this recipe.

Final Thoughts: Don’t Mix Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener

You should now be aware of what happens when you combine fabric softener and laundry detergent, and we hope this article was helpful. It is safe to use both products in the same load of laundry, but you must add the fabric softener after the detergent.

Fabric softeners should never be added to a load of laundry before detergent, as the detergent’s cleaning agents will remove the softener’s effects.


Do I Need to Use Softener for Washing Clothes?

To soften and prolong the life of clothing, a softener is required. No additional washing facilities are provided, though. It serves simply as a backing material for washing material for clothes.

What Should You Not Use Fabric Softener With?

Since fabric softener creates a waxy film that’s designed to soften your laundry, it’s not safe to use on down or feather-filled items, like blankets, jackets, and coats.

What Happens If I Use Too Much Fabric Softener?

Because the coating prevents them from absorbing moisture, towels suffer the most. Excess fabric softener also builds up in your wash machine over time, and may eventually begin leaving stains on clothing which can ruin them.

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