Using a fabric softener has a lot of advantages. Your clothing and towels feel softer and smell beautiful. Also, any static electricity within the fabric is gone.
However, you notice an oil stain on an item you have washed. You’re sure it wasn’t there before you did the laundry. What happened?
The offender is your beloved fabric softener. Yep, it has the potential to leave a stain on your laundry.
Let’s find out why and how you can feel with fabric softener stains. Then we will let you know how to prevent them from happening.
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Why does fabric softener stain?
Fabric softener can be finicky if you don’t use it right. That’s due to the oil content within the softener and it’s this that creates those stains on your washing.
If you don’t dilute the softener properly or use water that isn’t the right temperature, then there is a chance you will get stains. Another reason is that you added the softener at the wrong time in the wash cycle.
So, a moment of inattention when you are doing the laundry can lead to fabric softener marks.
How can I get fabric softener stains out of my clothing?
Removing the fabric softener stain doesn’t require many products. You can use soap, laundry detergent, or white vinegar.
Even though the methods are the same for washable and non-washable fabrics, the difference lies in the final step:
For washable fabrics, you can finish off the process by placing your clothing in the washing machine. Non-washable fabrics simply allow to air-dry.
Removing fabric softener stains with laundry detergent
This is a quick solution that is effective at eliminating fabric softener stains. As an option, you can swap out the laundry detergent for non-scented soap.
- Moisten the stained area with water.
- Pour several drops of your laundry detergent onto the stain (If you are using soap instead, gently rub it over the area).
- Lightly massage the detergent/soap into the stain with your fingers.
- Rinse the clothing thoroughly under cold water to remove all the detergent/soap.
- Use a cloth or paper towel to absorb the excess water.
- Launder or hang up to dry.
Wash your clothing in a vinegar cycle.
For this method, you will add some vinegar into your washing machine and then launder your clothing.
Place your soiled clothes into the washing machine and use no laundry detergent or softener. Add a cup of white vinegar to the water and then run a wash cycle.
Using baking soda to remove fabric softener stains
Baking soda is always a handy cleanser thanks to its bleaching power and ability to loosen the bonds of stains.
- Use a damp cloth to moisten the stained area.
- Sprinkle a good amount of baking soda over the stain and let it sit for several minutes.
- Carefully brush away the baking soda, then rinse the clothing under cold water.
- Launder as normal.
As an alternative, you can use a baking soda/vinegar paste in Step 2.
Removing fabric softener stains with bleach
The following method is better suited for those soiled pieces of clothing that have gone through the dryer. Stains can set for good due to the heat of the clothes dryer. However, bleach can come to the rescue in such cases.
Whenever you use bleach with clothing, you have to be careful. Check the care instructions for your garment. Even then, it pays to be safe.
Test an inconspicuous part of the stained clothing to ensure that the bleach isn’t going to ruin it.
- In a bucket or basin mix oxygen-based bleach with warm water according to the bleach’s instructions.
- Place your stained items in the bleach solution and let them soak overnight.
- Give the clothing a cycle in your washing machine without any detergent or fabric softener.
Taking care of fabric softener stains with lemon juice
Lemon juice contains citric acid which acts as a degreasing agent. Exactly what you need for that oily fabric softener stain.
How many lemons you need for this depends on the number of stains you have to take care of.
- Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the stain.
- Leave your clothing until the lemon juice has dried.
- Launder the clothes as normal.
How can to prevent fabric softener stains
You don’t want those awful stains from the fabric softener coming back once you have removed them.
There are several things you can do to prevent fabric softener stains.
Don’t use old softener
If your fabric softener is at least a year old, replace it. As the softener gets older, it becomes less effective.
That can lead to stains on your washing and the softener clogging up your washing machine.
Don’t overload your washing machine
You may be tempted to get through the laundry quickly, so want to put as many clothes as you can into your washing machine. Kudos to your for wanting to be efficient.
The only issue is that there will be an uneven distribution of clothing in your washing machine. Some items can end up having a higher concentration of fabric softener. That opens up the possibility of fabric softener stains.
Shake and dilute
In between uses, the contents within your fabric softener can separate and this can increase the risk of stains. Before adding the softener to your wash load, give the bottle a healthy shake to combine the liquids inside.
Also, reduce the oil concentration level of the fabric softener by adding water to the dispenser.
Keep the dispenser cleaner
A clogged dispenser can cause the fabric softener to be released at the wrong time in the wash cycle.
Make it a habit to clean out the dispenser regularly. A simple wash with hot water and soap will do the trick. Another option is to fill the dispenser with water which will be released during the washing.
Don’t use too much softener
Using an excessive amount of softener when doing your washing can cause stains and spots. That’s because the water within your washing machine can’t properly dilute the oil from the fabric softener.
How much is too much? Read the directions that came with your fabric softener. If you go over the recommended amount of fabric softener per load of washing, then that’s too much softener.
An alternative to fabric softener
Fabric softener is good, but maybe you don’t want to have the risk of causing oil splotches on your washing. You can easily swap out your fabric softener with white vinegar.
This works as an effective softener so that your clothes feel gorgeous and your towels are fluffy. Add ½ a cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle (wait until your washing machine is full of water to avoid bleaching the clothes).
It’s a simple and natural substitute for fabric softener.
Adding fabric softener to your washing is a great way to minimize wrinkles in your clothing and have everything feeling soft. However, the oil within the softener can stain your washing.
It’s not a major issue and can easily be remedied with household items such as laundry detergent, soap, or vinegar.
To avoid stains, follow the directions that came with the fabric softener. Also, don’t try to wash too many items at once.
By taking the proper precautions when using fabric softener, you can kiss fabric softener stains goodbye.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.