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Last updated: 19 November 2018

Are your towels too scratchy, or are you seeking softer sleepwear? See below for our results on the fabric softeners in the market.

Did you know CHOICE tests much more than just fabric softeners? Check out our top 50 reviews.

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We lab test and review the latest fabric softeners to help you find the best one for you. Read more about how fabric softeners work, why we test treated fabrics for absorbency, and what the alternatives to fabric softener are in our fabric softener buying guide.

We've tested most of the fabric softeners on the market to tell you which one:

  • makes fabric softest while maintaining absorbency, and
  • is good value for money.

Keep in mind that these are only an additive – they don't make your clothes any cleaner, and using them essentially adds a layer of chemicals to your fabrics after putting them through the washing machine. They may also reduce both the water absorbency of your towels and nappies, and more worryingly, the flame retardant properties of children's sleepwear and other fabrics.

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Test results

Absorption score

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Water absorbency is also measured because fabric softeners tend to reduce the water absorbency of towels as a side effect of the softness. We use a dyed solution in a beaker and a swatch of the treated nappy. By placing it in the dyed solution you can see the solution travel up the swatch and the further it travels the better the water absorbency.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 20 and 90

Softness score

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Based on International Standard ASTM D5070 – 90, cloth nappies (100% cotton) are conditioned with 5 cycles of a regular wash with just laundry powder. Then we run the top loader machine on a rinse and spin cycle with the fabric softener product, nappies and ballast (sheets and pillow cases). The nappies are then dried. The softness is evaluated with a panel of 10 people. We use the paired method where the panelist is given two swatches and asked which is softer. Each product in the set is paired with every other product in the set in this process. A product scores one point each time it is deemed softer than the paired product. The products are then ranked by their total score.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 22 and 90

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  • Overall score
  • Softness score
  • Absorption score
  • Recommended
  • Cost per wash
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Measure used
  • Bottle size (ml)
  • Price
  • Cost per 100mL
  • Fragrance
  • Ingredients
  • Dosing instructions
  • Range of fragrances available
  • Type
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