Can You Put Detergent and Softener Together?

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you can put detergent and softener together, you’re not alone. It’s a common question that people have, and for good reason. After all, both detergent and softener are designed to clean and soften clothes, so it makes sense that you would want to use them together. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you mix these two products together.

Can I Mix Both Fabric Detergent and Softener Together?

While detergent and softener are both used to make clothes feel softer, the two products are not meant to be mixed.

Detergents are designed to clean clothes by removing stains and dirt from fabric. Softeners are added to the rinse cycle in washing machines to reduce static electricity and make clothes feel softer by reducing friction between fibers.

The chemical reaction between the two would render one of them useless. In order for your laundry product to work properly, it must be able to dissolve completely in water. A detergent that is not fully dissolved will leave residue on your clothes and cause them to smell bad or fade faster than they should.

It’s best to keep your detergent and softener separate and use them both separately during each wash cycle. You can add a packet or teaspoonful of softener during the rinse cycle after you’ve added your detergent but before you turn on the machine’s spin cycle (if it has one).

What Happens if I Mix Fabric Detergent and Softener?

Mixing laundry detergent with fabric softener can cause your clothes to feel rough or stiff. It may also cause them to smell bad and leave behind a residue.

Laundry detergent is designed to remove stains from clothes. Fabric softeners coat the fibers of the fabric, preventing them from absorbing dirt, sweat, and grime. When you mix these two products together, they cancel each other out and you end up with dirtier laundry.

If you accidentally mix these two products together, don’t worry! It’s easy to fix this problem without ruining your clothes or wasting money on new detergent or softener.

Here’s how:

Rinse out your washing machine immediately after using both products together by running an empty cycle without any clothes in it. This will wash away any residue that might be left behind by the mixture of detergent and softener. Then run another load of clean water through your washing machine using only hot water (no clothes).

If your washing machine has an extra rinse option, use it after running through hot water. This will ensure that all remaining detergent is removed from your machine so you don’t accidentally add more during future loads of laundry .

If you don’t follow these steps, the mixture of detergent and softener can cause your clothes to become stained or discolored. It can also leave a residue on your washing machine that will end up transferred to your clothing during future loads of laundry.

In extreme cases, this residue can even damage your washing machine. So it’s important to take a few extra minutes after doing laundry with both products to make sure everything is rinsed away properly.

Which One Should I Put First?

The best thing you can do is put the detergent in first and then add the fabric softener to the wash. The reason for this is because your detergent will disperse throughout the entire wash load. This means the fabric softener will be dispersed throughout the load as well.

When you put the fabric softener in first, it will be in one concentrated area. This means only the clothes in that area will be covered in softener. The rest of the load won’t have any softener in it whatsoever. This is why you should put the detergent in first.

Which Is the Better Cleaner?

This is a bit tricky because they both have their own benefits when it comes to cleaning your clothes. Laundry detergents remove dirt and grime with the help of stain removers. They also help to regulate the pH levels in your wash water and neutralize it. When it comes to fabric softeners, they’re mainly used for adding a scent to your clothes.

They’re what give your jeans that new scent and make your sheets smell like lavender.

When it comes to actually cleaning your clothes, laundry detergents are what do the actual lifting. Fabric softeners mainly just add a nice scent to your clothes and make them feel softer.

Is Fabric Softener Even Necessary?

As we mentioned above, fabric softeners are mainly used for adding a scent to your clothes. Although this is a useful feature, it’s not exactly necessary.

You can easily add scents to your clothes simply by adding your fragrance-infused laundry detergent to the washer.

This will give your clothes the same scent they would receive if they were washed with a fabric softener. If your clothes are already scented and you want to remove the smell, you can simply add a fragrance eliminator to your wash.

Alternatives To Fabric Detergent and Softener

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two of the most versatile products in your home. They’re also both inexpensive and easy to use. When combined, they make a great fabric softener alternative.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that works wonders on odors. It’s also a great stain fighter that can be used for both laundry stains and carpet stains.

Vinegar has antibacterial properties that remove odors from clothes when mixed with water. It can also be used to treat mildew stains in carpets, rugs and upholstery.

To use this recipe, simply mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 cup white vinegar in a bowl or bucket full of warm water as you’re washing your laundry by hand or machine (it doesn’t matter which).


We hope you’ve found this article useful and that you now know what happens when you mix laundry detergent and fabric softener together. It is safe to use both products in the same load of laundry, but you have to put the detergent in first and then add the fabric softener.

While both products do have their benefits, the main thing you want to get out of your laundry is clean clothes. That is why laundry detergents are designed to clean your clothes while fabric softeners are designed to make your clothes smell nicer.


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