Laundry tips: Fabrics you should never use fabric softener on – including baby clothes

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Laundry expert and CEO of Laundryheap, Deyan Dimitrov has revealed which fabrics you should never use conditioner on in the washing machine. The washing expert said using fabric conditioner can make some clothes less flame-resistant and increase the risk of them catching fire. Mr Dimitrov has shared everything you need to know about the dangers of using fabric softener on flame-resistant materials.

Baby clothes

Fabric softeners come in a plethora of scents and can keep your clothes smelling cleaner for longer.

While using fabric softener on baby clothes might sound like a great idea, it can sometimes irritate your baby’s skin and dramatically reduce the flame resistance of baby clothes.

Mr Dimitrov said the Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953 revealed washing conditioner can reduce the flame resistance of textiles due to the build-up of chemicals present.

Fabric conditioners contain emulsifiers and alcohol ethoxylates which are both actually flammable.

For safety reasons, baby clothes are usually treated with flame-resistant chemicals.

The laundry expert said using softener can reduce the effectiveness of fabrics.

If the clothes ever came into contact with high levels of heat or flames, the clothes could be more susceptible to catching fire.

Mr Dimitrov said you therefore shouldn’t use fabric softener on baby or children’s clothing and sleepwear.

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He also said you should check the label to see if fabrics are flame resistant.

Some other fabrics which are usually flame-resistant include velour, chenille, terry cloth or fleece.

What should you use instead of fabric softener?

Not using fabric conditioner can mean clothes sometimes lose their softness.

But fear not, Mr Dimitrov has outlined what steps you can take to make your clothes both soft and pleasant-smelling.

The laundry expert recommends using a delicate or wool setting in the washing machine which won’t completely dry out your clothes.

Fast spin settings or vigorous cycles can make materials more scratchy and uncomfortable.

Another tip is to wash clothes at a cool temperature with a non-bio detergent which works well at cool temperatures as low as 20C.

The laundry expert also recommended drying garments naturally rather than using the tumble dryer.

While it may be tempting to use a dryer when the weather is cooler, your clothes should be softer if they drive naturally.

Tips for caring for flame-resistant clothes

When washing flame-resistant clothes, it’s best to avoid washing them at high temperatures.

Any hotter than 50C is too warm.

The laundry expert also recommended not soaking garments as this can cause flame-resistant chemicals to break down.

He also suggested not bleaching clothing as this can cause flame-resistance to break down.

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