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A guide to fabric softeners

A guide to fabric softeners intro

Fabric softeners don’t just leave your clothes beautifully soft, they also decrease static, reduce wrinkling and even reduce drying time.

How fabric softeners work

When they’re in the wash, fabrics have a negative electrical charge on their surface, while fabric conditioners are positively charged. During the final rinse stage, the fabric conditioner bonds to the fabric surface to create that soft touch.

How fabric conditioner dispensers work


  • You add fabric softener at the start of your wash. It stays in the compartment until…
  • The final rinse. This is when water flushes into the compartment and triggers the siphon drawing the softener in. Some water also overflows from the back of the compartment.
  • The siphon continues until the compartment is dry at the end of the wash cycle and ready for the next wash. 
How fabric softeners work

Why use fabric softener

A common misunderstanding is that fabric softeners, like Lenor, simply make clothes feel soft and smell nice. In fact they do a lot more:

Decrease static, especially with synthetic fibres – no more of that clinging feeling
Reduce wrinkling – less ironing!
Reduce drying time – so you use the dryer less, helping you to save energy

If you’d like to know more, then you can see how fabric softeners work in our guide.

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What to do if your fabric softener isn’t working

Sometimes your washing machine doesn’t dispense the fabric conditioner simply because the siphon may be blocked. To prevent this happening, just clean the dispenser with warm water. Check your manual to see if you can remove it completely from your machine. If so, run it under the hot tap and, if needed, scrub with an old toothbrush.

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