Dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener?
January 12, 2007 2:35am CST
I use both but prefer the liquid more. I always felt it's smell and wrinkle prevention lasted longer on curtains, sheers and permanent press clothing. However on uniforms, dryer sheets seem to be better. The liquid sodtener seems to destroy some of the sturdier fabric fibers and the creases and darts end to droop.
• United Arab Emirates
12 Jan 07
Fabric softener (also called Fabric Conditioner) is used to prevent static cling and makes the fabric softer. Popular brand names include Lenor, Lenor/Downy, Snuggle, and Comfort. Most newer washing machines have a dispenser to add liquid fabric softener to the load of laundry automatically on the final rinse; in launderettes it may need to be added manually. Some brands of washing powder have fabric conditioning built-in which is claimed to save money when compared to buying ordinary washing powder and fabric softener separately. There are some fabric softeners that besides softening clothes also claim to make ironing easier whereas some claim to make clothes dry faster. The use of fabric softener may however reduce the water absorption capabilities of the fabric, and is contra-indicated in some articles like microfibre textiles. For best results, un-diluted fabric softener should not be poured directly onto clothes. Another form of fabric softener is in the form of dryer sheets which are added to clothing in the tumble dryer to soften the fabrics and prevent static. Dryer sheets, or dryer anticling strips, can also be used to keep clothes smelling good while being stored. Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feeling smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling. Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralizing their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricity. Vinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers. The disadvantage of coating fibers by hydrophobic layer is in decreasing the water absorption properties of the fabric, which may be an issue with eg. towels and diapers. Therefore the cationic softeners are often combined with other chemicals with lower affinity to the fibers.