How to Use Softener

by Gail Logan

Adding a softener to your laundry is an easy step that can make a big difference in the smell and feel of your clothing. It will add a fresh, pleasant odor and make them feel softer than they normally would. While many choose to use commercially manufactured softeners, vinegar can also be added to laundry for those who want to save money or stear clear of the chemical additives often added to manufactured softeners.

Items you will need

  • Softener or white vinegar
  • Laundry
  • Water
  • Washing machine

Adding Softener to Laundry

Step 1

Pour the desired amount of softener into the cap from the bottle. This is most often a full cap for normal loads. You may add up to 1/2 extra capful of softener for additional softness or for large loads. For those wanting to use vinegar, measure out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

Step 2

Start the washing machine's wash cycle after adding clothes, and launder normally. When the machine reaches the rinse cycle, pour in the softener or the vinegar.

Step 3

Add the softener or vinegar in the compartment labeled "softener" for preloading machines before washing. The softener should not be added in with the detergent, as they are released at different times.

Step 4

Allow the clothes to cycle through the washing and rinsing process. Dry normally.


  • For additional softness, add dryer sheets during the drying process if using an automatic dryer. It is best not to use commerically produced fabric softeners with towels, as the softener will coat the fibers and prevent them from absorbing well. Vinegar, however, softens the fibers but does not add an artificial coating.


  • Softener, like detergents, contains chemicals that can cause an allergic reaction in individuals with sensitive skin. Using vinegar or products that are hypoallergenic may reduce the chance of an allergic reaction among some, but not all, individuals. Do not add too much softener to the wash, as it may not fully rinse from the laundry.

About the Author

Gail Logan is a magazine editor and freelance writer based in Atlanta, AL. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Patrick Henry College. For the past four years, she has written home design, travel and food features for national magazines, including "Coastal Living," "Texas Home and Living," "Log Home Design," and "Country's Best Log Homes." When not writing, she mentors inner-city children.