FOR true cleaning fans, fabric softener is a key part of our washing routines – after all, how else would we get snuggly soft and fragrant clothes?
But laundry expert and CEO of Laundryheap Deyan Dimitrov reckons it should never be used on baby clothes, and reveals what to use instead.
According to the laundry expert, there are some fabrics that you should never apply fabric softener to as doing so will drastically reduce the flame resistance of the clothing you’re washing.
This means increasing the risk of your clothing catching fire, which should always be avoided.
The Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953 says that fabric softener can reduce the flame resistance of textiles due to the build-up of chemicals present.
This is because fabric softeners contain emulsifiers and alcohol ethoxylates, Deyan explained,both of which are flammable.
Baby clothes in particular are usually treated with flame-resistant chemicals for safety reasons, this means that using fabric softener on flame-resistant clothes can reduce their effectiveness.
So, if the clothes in question ever came into contact with high levels of heat or flame, the clothing could be more susceptible to catching fire.
For this reason, Deyan said to avoid using fabric softener on your baby and children’s clothing and sleepwear, or fabrics such as velour, chenille, terry cloth, fleece.
What's more, fabric softener can sometimes irritate your baby’s sensitive skin – so it's best to avoid it altogether.
But don't be alarmed as you can still get super soft clothes without the use of fabric softener.
How to care for flame-resistant clothes
Deyan Dimitrov said you can tell if your clothes have been treated with flame-resistant chemicals by checking the label, so try and do this prior to your first wash. To properly care for flame-resistant clothing:
- Never wash your flame resistant clothing at high temperatures, 50 degrees or more is too hot.
- Avoid soaking garments as this can cause flame-resistant chemicals to break down.
- Never use bleach on flame-resistant clothing as this will also cause the flame-resistant chemicals to break down.
If you’re washing clothes that have been treated with flame-resistant chemicals, but you want to retain softness,there are a few simple steps you can follow.
Firstly, Deyan said it’s best to use a delicate or wool setting on the washing machine as the spin setting is less vigorous and it won’t completely dry out your clothes.
This means you won’t end up with scratchy materials.
Secondly, wash the garments at a cool temperature with a mild non-bio detergent.
Deyan said non-bio works well at temperatures as low as 20C so this is ideal for a cooler wash.
And finally, dry your garments naturally and avoid using a tumble dryer – this will result in lovely soft clothes without the need for extra products.
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