The Meeting Place

How we’re wasting money in the laundry and hurting the planet

Consumer advocate CHOICE has slammed laundry aids as expensive, unnecessary and bad for the planet.

It recently tested 31 fabric softeners and found two to be less effective than water.

Aldi’s Sensitive Fabric Softener ($2.79 for 2 litres) was second last with a score of just 47 per cent – worse than plain water, which scored 48 per cent.

A second Aldi fabric softener also performed badly, with Anco Soft Lavender Fabric Softener Concentrate scoring just 59 per cent.

In last place was Cuddly Concentrate Soft & Sensitive Fabric Conditioner, which scored 46 per cent, despite being one of the most expensive products tested.

CHOICE warns that most fabric softeners contain a variety of silicone and petrochemical ingredients that coat your clothes and can end up in our waterways, poisoning marine life.

“Fabric softeners are really only good if you like smelling like your nanna’s house,” said CHOICE expert Ashley Iredale.

“[They] aren’t great for your washing machine either and are big contributors to a gunky build-up known as ‘scrud’, which can also be redeposited on to your clothes.”

A further concern was that fabric softeners reduced the effectiveness of flame-retardant treatments on clothing, with all products tested by Choice carrying warnings on the labels.

“If you’re looking to save on household expenses, this is one cleaning product you just don’t need,” said CHOICE household expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro.

For consumers who feel they must use a fabric softener, CHOICE recommended Huggie’s Easy Iron Fabric Conditioner, which top scored with 82 per cent.


“Fabric softeners are really only good if you like smelling like your nanna’s house,”  LOL, priceless! 
I have never used fabric softeners and consider them totally unnecessary. My mother in law used to use them every wash and I thought her clothes smelt like toilet deodorant. Ghastly stuff! Her washing machine kept kicking on though, lasted about 40 years and probably still going because it was passed on to other people.

Clothes are soft when the remaining detergent/soap is removed in the last rinse.  Softeners just cover the residue up.  White vinegar in the final rinse - same amount as softener - removes the residue.  Have been using for at least 14 years - cheaper, more effective, and it removes the "scrud" also, keeping all hoses etc. clean and clear. 

So you can go from smelling like your Nanna's house to smelling like the local chippie! Lol

Thanks, I'll have to try the vinegar.  I'm never confident that the rinse cycle actually gets all the residue out of the clothes.  I used to use fabric softener years ago, but stopped that when my wash  started to show bits of the scrud  you mentioned.  Back in the days before I had a washing machine, clothes always had at least two rinses with clear water.

I think washing machine manufactorers have shares in softener companies, the main reason machines pack it in, especially if you don't regularly clean the machine.


Never used fabric softener, I just use Bosisto laundry powder apparently better for the environment and our health.

I also use Vinegar in my final rince and have been for years.  Works a treat. and so much cheaper than fabric softner.

Use Bicarb and vinegar - cleans machine as well as rinsing/softening clothes.  

KSS, vinegar does not smell after washing is dry.

I don't use fabric softener either. Thanks for the tip about the vinegar!

I only use liquid detergents as well.  Instructions came with machine say to clean with vinegar after so many washes.

Vinegar is the by product of fermented ethanol. Becaue vinegar is an acid, it can slowly cause some synthetic rubber seals in washing machines to deteriorate. Worth checking if your seal is synthetic.

And people drink the stuff!


@ musicveg

I use Bosito eucalyptus washing powder too. Love it!

I never use fabric softeners.

A long term Australian company, that I love to support, they have great products and if you sign up online often you get to hear about the sales they have. I have bought the big 10kg laundry tub of washing powder on sale worked out cheaper in the long run and don't have to shop for laundry powder for months.