Is Fabric Conditioner The Same As Detergent? A Detailed Guide!

Last Updated on 9 months by Susan Mayrich

Are you wondering is fabric conditioner the same as detergent? Washing your clothes is part of life. It is essential to wash clothes in the right way.

Is Fabric Conditioner the Same as Detergent

The method of washing clothes and the detergents and fabric conditioners are essential, as they can help improve your clothes’ quality.

Using the wrong method or products can damage your clothes.


What Is Fabric Conditioner?

A fabric conditioner (or fabric softener) is a product used to soften the fabrics of clothes, sheets, and towels. They are typically applied during the final rinse cycle in a washing machine, but sometimes they are put into the fabric softener compartment in the laundry detergent drawer.

Fabric softeners can be added to a clothes dryer or sprayed directly on garments. Most people love them because they reduce static cling and wrinkles, add fragrance and make clothing feel softer. Some also claim that they help repel certain insects like dust mites.

is fabric conditioner the same as detergent

What Is Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergent is a surfactant or foaming agent that removes dirt from fabric when it is mixed with water and agitated. It works by loosening dirt particles so they can be removed by water or other cleaning agents


What Does Fabric Softener Do?

Fabric softener is a laundry liquid added to the wash to help soften clothes, reduce static, fight wrinkles, and add a fresh scent to your clothes. It does this by coating each fabric thread with a thin layer of chemicals designed to smooth out the rough edges and neutralize the electrical charge of fabrics.

Different fabric softeners include liquid fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and pods. Some people prefer liquid fabric softener to penetrate deeper into fabrics and provide longer-lasting effects on clothing. However, others find it more convenient to use dryer sheets because they don’t require any extra; they deliver that fresh scent in every load of laundry.


Is Fabric Conditioner The Same Detergent?

No, fabric conditioner and laundry detergent are not the same products. Detergent is a cleaning agent for removing stains and dirt from your clothes. It contains surfactants to break up and remove grease while suspending particles in the water so they can be rinsed away.

A fabric conditioner, on the other hand, is a softening product that smooths fibers and enhances the look and feels of your clothes after washing. It helps reduce static cling by smoothing out rough edges of the fibers, making clothes soft and fluffy. A fabric conditioner does not remove stains or clean your clothes, but it does make clothes more comfortable to wear and easier to iron.


What Is The Difference Between Fabric Conditioner And Detergent?

A fabric softener or conditioner is designed to add a fresh scent and smooth texture to the fabric. It works by coating fibers with lubricating chemicals that reduce friction between fibers in a load of laundry. This reduces pilling and makes your clothes feel softer.

The result is also fewer wrinkles and static cling. Fabric softeners also contain ingredients that produce a fresh scent in your laundry clothes seem clear fabric conditioner than they are.

Laundry detergent contains water-softening ingredients, surfactants (detergents) that lubricate dirt particles so they can be washed away, enzymes for stain removal, brighteners and whiteners, synthetic fragrances, and other chemical additives that improve shelf life or create a pleasing scent.

what is the difference between fabric conditioner and detergent

Key differences

So, is fabric conditioner the same as detergent? 

#1. Laundry detergent is just soap or a “surfactant” soap that can get dirt out of your clothes.

#2. A fabric conditioner, on the other hand, is something that can coat your clothes in a protective layer to stop them from becoming damaged by friction.

#3. You could say that a laundry detergent is pure cleaning power, whereas a fabric conditioner is more about protecting and caring for fabrics.


Ingredients in fabric softener 

Conditioners: The fabric softener formulation includes a surfactant that helps lubricate the fibers and reduce static cling.

Fragrance. Fabric softeners often have added fragrance, which can mask unpleasant odors from perspiration or cleaning chemicals.

Emulsifier. When oils mix with water, they usually don’t mix well because they are not soluble in water and tend to separate. An emulsifier stabilizes the mixture, so all ingredients remain mixed.


Ingredients in laundry detergents

Sodium chloride: A highly effective cleaning agent. It forms a foamy solution when mixed with water.

Bleach:  A popular ingredient in laundry detergents because it contains brightening and whitening properties.

Enzymes: Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions. They can break down and digest proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. 

Alkalies: Like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, are added to boost cleaning power when washing in hard water with high mineral content.

Sulfates: Sulfates help remove dirt from fabrics by dissolving them in the water so they can be washed away. 


Does Fabric Conditioner Clean Clothes?

The most common mistake is to think that a fabric conditioner cleans your clothes. It doesn’t because it contains no cleaning agents. Laundry detergent is what cleans your clothes. The fabric conditioner is designed to soften fabrics and reduce static cling after washing. It can also help mask the smell of some clothes after being washed.

does fabric conditioner clean clothes

Can Fabric Conditioner Be Used As Detergent?

No. The fabric conditioner can’t work as a laundry detergent. The fabric conditioner works differently from detergent by softening clothes and minimizing the effects of friction. Whereas detergent does the hard work, cleaning your clothes and removing stains.

Using a fabric conditioner as a detergent wouldn’t remove any dirt from your clothes, leaving them unclean and possibly smelly after wearing. So, if you run out of washing powder or detergent in a hurry, fabric conditioner isn’t a suitable substitute.


How To Use Fabric Softener?

For best results, follow the ins laundry instead of our fabric softener bottle for the I, laundry instead, laundry, and laundry instructions adding too much, adding a greasy residue on your clothes or causing them to repel water, meaning future stains won’t wash out as quickly.

#1. Simply add one tablespoon of fabric conditioner to one cup of water.

#2. Add the liquid fabric conditioner to the rinse water after the main wash.

#3. Sir the clothes and let the fabric conditioner soak for a few minutes before wriggling the clothes.

#4. For hand washing, dissolve one tablespoon of fabric softener in 1 cup of water and posing the rinse water.

#5. Stir the garment, letting them ask for a few minutes.


What Happens If I Use Fabric Softener Instead Of Detergent?

You’re not alone. Fabric softener is a common mistake when trying to get your laundry done in a hurry or when you have an unfamiliar. Fabric softeners and detergents look similar, but they’re formulas for the best results for different purposes.

It is not a big deal if you’ve accidentally used fabric softener in place of detergent. It’s not going to damage your clothes. However, using only fabric softener as a detergent substitute, your clothes won’t get very clean. All you have to do is to add detergent and run the washer until the fabric conditioner is removed or if handwashing, wash then until no softener is seen on clothes.


What Can Be Used As A Substitute For Laundry Detergent?

Some common substitutes for detergent include:

  • Baking soda
  • Laundry Borax 
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dish soap 
  • Bleach
  • Borax
  • Body wash or shampoo


Is Fabric Conditioner Necessary?

Don’t feel you must use fabric softener to get clean clothes. Detergent is the most critical factor in laundry cleaning. Fabric softener can be used for specific fabrics, but it’s not a must-have for all laundry.


What Is Not A Big Deal If Use Instead Of Fabric Softener?

If you’re looking for a way to lose fabric softener. As it turns out, many natural solutions can do the trick and leave your laundry smelling amazing. Here are seven simple ways to soften your clothes naturally:

  • Wool dryer balls
  • Borax
  • Baking soda
  • Hair conditioner
  • Vinegar
  • Essential oils
  • Softener crystals

what is not a big deal if use instead of fabric softener

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to your questions:


Does fabric conditioner ruin clothes?

Fabric conditioners can ruin clothes over time if used too much of it. However, no evidence using new fabric conditioners will wear or ruin your clothes. Using a fabric conditioner can do just the opposite. It is specially formulated to protect the fibers in your clothing from the wear and tear of everyday use, so it can help extend the life of your laundry.


Is a downy fabric softener a detergent?

Downy is not a detergent. It is a fabric conditioner added to the wash cycle for softer clothes and can be used with any detergent. Downy does not clean clothes like a detergent. Detergents have surfactants that bind to dirt, oil, and grease so they can be removed from the fabric.


Are conditioners and softeners the same?

Yes. A fabric conditioner is precisely the same thing as a fabric softener. Different brands and manufacturers just use different names for the same thing.


Is a downy fabric conditioner the same as a detergent?

Is downy detergent or softener? No, Downy is not a detergent. Instead, it’s a fabric conditioner, often called a fabric softener. While detergents and fabric conditioners clean your clothes, they have different ingredients and properties.


Can you use softener and bleach?

You can use bleach and clothes fabric softener, but you must follow the correct order safely. You may also be interested to know about fabric softner wont empty.


When should you not use fabric conditioners?

While fabric conditioners can make washing more accessible, some fabrics and items of clothing you shouldn’t use. The following garments should never come into contact with fabric conditioner:

  • Wicking sportswear
  • Wools
  • Flameproof children’s clothes
  • Delicate natural fabrics
  • Water-resistant items
  • Nylon (leggings or skinny jeans)
  • Swimwear


It’s A Wrap!

Now, you’ve known is fabric conditioner the same as detergent! You may also want to read about thread keep bunching underneath the fabric: here is why and  can i use polyester thread on cotton fabric.

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