Dryer Sheets vs Fabric Softener

Are you looking for soft, static-free, fragrant clothes in the morning? You may have heard of dryer sheets and fabric softener but have no idea what the difference is. Both products eliminate static and wrinkles and keep your clothes feeling softer and fresher for longer.

Keep on reading to find the best softener to suit you and your family’s needs.

What Do Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softener Do?

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets keep your clothes feeling cozy, fresh, and static-free. Dryer sheets are convenient, neutralize static, enhance laundry freshness, and are cost-effective. Fabric softeners contain ingredients that coat and soften your laundry to keep them smelling fresh and wrinkle-free.

What are the Benefits of Fabric Softener?

Fabric softener is a family favorite, with its ability to make clothes feel silky smooth and soft as a mother’s love. It is understandable why it has its place in almost any laundry room and is worth every penny.

  • With so many luxurious scents to choose from, you are bound to find the perfect fragrance for your clothes.
  • It extends the lifespan of your clothes.
  • It softens your linen and clothes leaving them smooth and silky.
  • It speeds up drying time.
  • It reduces friction protecting clothes from wear and tear.

Do you Need a Fabric Softener?

No, gone are the days where detergents left your clothes feeling creased and rough. Modern-day detergents do an excellent job cleaning and softening laundry, so using a fabric softener is your personal choice.

When Not to Use Fabric Softener

Using fabric softeners on certain laundry items can have adverse effects. Read the garment label before you use the fabric softener. Don’t use fabric softener on these items:

  • Microfiber garments, known for their unique drying and absorption properties. A fabric softener will reduce durability.
  • Despite the theory that towels need fabric softener to maintain their softness, it does reduce their moisture absorbency.
  • Sports clothing is designed to keep you cool and absorb your sweat while you exercise. Using fabric softener on these garments will leave a film that wears down this unique built-in wicking technology.
  • Most pajamas are fire-resistant. Our advice is not to wash them in fabric softener as this will affect the fibers and their flameproof capability.
  • Steer clear of using fabric softener on waterproof clothing. Like fire-resistant garments, the fibers will be damaged, meaning they may let water in.
  • Skip the fabric softener on any clothing made of synthetic material.

Fabric Softener Pros and Cons

If you’re unsure about fabric softener, here are some of the pros and cons.


  • It keeps your clothes soft and comfy.
  • Irons out pesky wrinkles.
  • Reduces friction and static.
  • Leaves a fantastic scent on your garments.
  • Improves the condition of your clothes.


  • Chemicals in fabric softeners are not always eco-friendly.
  • Not compatible with all fabrics as it may reduce drying and absorbency properties.
  • Can trigger allergies.

What are the Benefits of Dryer Sheets?

This modern-day alternative to fabric softener is placed on top of your garments in the tumble dryer, not used in your washing machine. Dryer sheets reduce static electricity in much the same way as fabric softeners do. By placing the sheets into your dryer at the start of the cycle, friction is quickly neutralized, leaving behind soft fabrics.

Here are a few benefits of dryer sheets:

  • Eliminates static electricity and friction.
  • Dryer sheets are either scented or unscented, dependent on your preference.
  • They soften and deodorize your clothes.
  • It makes ironing easier.
  • Dryer sheets can be added to drawers, car interiors, closets, suitcases, and gym bags for freshness, and are handy for dusting furniture.

When Not to Use Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets, contrary to popular belief, have their disadvantages. Like fabric softeners, dryer sheets leave a coating on garments which reduces the efficiency of the fibers. When it comes to certain fabric types, you should avoid using dryer sheets to protect your garment.

Things to consider:

  • Skip dryer sheets if you have towels or microfiber garments in your tumble dryer as it will impact absorbency.
  • Dryer sheets reduce the effectiveness of sports clothing which is meant to absorb sweat during exercise.
  • Avoid using dryer sheets when washing bath, kitchen or cleaning cloths and rags.
  • Children’s pajamas should not be dried with a dryer sheet as they may become flammable.

Dryer Sheets Pros and Cons

As with any product on the market, there are advantages and disadvantages. Take a look:


  • They add a delicate scent to your garments
  • Eliminate wrinkles and friction
  • User friendly and cost-effective
  • They attract and reduce lint


  • Contain chemicals that are considered harmful
  • Can be an irritant to sensitive skin and cause allergies
  • Reduce wicking and absorption capability
  • Reduces fire retardant properties and can damage your dryer

In summary, which is better?

Both dryer sheets and fabric softener eliminate static, reduce wrinkles, and add a fresh scent to your laundry. Some experts believe fabric softener is better as it doesn’t have as many problems as dryer sheets.

You may feel perplexed about which product is better, with all the pros and cons of fabric softener and dry sheets. It is a matter of personal choice and depends on what you are willing to accept to ensure the right fit for your laundry and family.

If you are prone to allergies and have sensitive skin, it may be best to avoid both dryer sheets and fabric softeners and consider natural alternatives. If you have your heart set on soft, clean laundry, we suggest you rethink your laundry routine to find the best product that works for you.

Fabric Softener Alternatives

If fabric softener doesn’t appeal to you, then why not consider a simple, eco-friendly alternative. It’s never too late to try something new.

Baking soda: By adding º cup of baking soda to your rinse cycle, your clothes will instantly feel softer.

White vinegar: Add º cup to your rinse cycle for brighter, whiter laundry. Do not use in front loaders.

Homemade fabric softener: By mixing warm water, Ω cup of baking soda, Ω cup of vinegar and five drops of your favorite essential oil, you will have fresh laundry in no time.

Some people prefer not to use fabric softener at all and hardly notice a difference.

Dryer Sheet Alternatives

A few great alternatives to fabric softener and dryer sheets do not coat clothes and reduce static.

Wool dryer balls: Pop these into your dryer with your laundry and watch them bounce around while reducing friction and eliminating wrinkles. Easy to use and keeps kids entertained.

Foil balls: Take a piece of aluminum foil, squeeze it into a ball and toss it into your laundry. The ball discharges static and will last for many wash cycles.

So many options

If you are unsure which product you should choose, there is no better alternative than natural sunlight. A dose of fresh air and sunshine never did any laundry any harm. We recommend you select the option that suits you and leaves you and your laundry feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

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