Can I Put Detergent and Softener Together?

Can I put detergent and softener together? You are just being a curious laundry person. But come on, does this combo cause some strange solution or just another washing myth? Let us find out.

You do not put detergent and softener together. Detergent cleans your clothing while fabric softener softens and protects your clothing fiber, it does not contain cleaning agents. Thus, a detergent and fabric softener are two separate washing solutions.

That said, ensure to add the appropriate amount of fabric softener and detergent into their respective compartments. Refer to your washer’s guide to perfectly set it up to work.

Can I Use Detergent and Fabric Conditioner Together?

You can use a detergent and fabric conditioner together. Just make sure you add each of them at the right time for effectiveness.

Meanwhile, fabric conditioner and fabric softener are different phrases that mean the same thing – a solution that protects your clothing fiber. It also gives it a fantastic smell, look and feel.

The function of laundry detergent as opposed to the function of fabric softener. For instance, softener contains cationic, a surfactant giving it a positive electric charge.

On the other hand, laundry detergent contains anionic, a surfactant that holds a negative electrical charge.

The anionics in a detergent provides sound particulate soil separation and suspension for cleaning. The softener cationics helps to earth out static attraction that neutralizes two functions.

Some fabric softeners may use the Tallow fat which lubricates the fabric weave yarns to make the softness. The softening is achieved by getting rid of the emulsifying action of detergent.

It makes it seem as if the use of detergent is needless, which is why it comes during the rinsing cycle. Nonetheless, we have detergents that contain softeners which means you may not need a softener after using them.

What Happens if You Mix Detergent and Fabric Softener?

If you mix detergent and fabric softener, it can reduce the effectiveness of both washing solutions, especially the detergent.

Fabric softener works by coating the fibers with wax or oil, and sometimes both which subdues the strength of the detergent.

Although this combination will clean your clothes, they cannot be as clean as if you washed them separately.

Again, you add the detergent at the beginning of your washing expedition while the fabric softener comes in during the rinse. The idea now is that if you add detergent to the dispenser of your softener, it will be used during the rinse cycle, making your clothes soapy.

You could always get your clothes to clean again by rinsing again with ordinary water or with a fabric softener.

Best Laundry Detergent with Softener

In this section, we will consider the detergents that contain softeners. This means that you do not have to buy or use fabric softener separately.

Below are the best laundry detergents with softener:

Tide with Downy Liquid Laundry Detergent Soap ‎PG-6500

Get the Tide with Downy liquid detergent to resolve your fabric softener problems. With this detergent, you do not need a separate fabric softening solution for your wash.

Of course, this detergent performs exactly what a detergent and softener would do to your clothes—fiber and color protection, and more.

Below are the reasons the Tide with Downy is a powerful detergent-fabric softener cleaning solution:


This detergent is a fully concentrated formula. It is unique for providing more cleaning agents and lesser water for every drop.

Fabric softener

The bone of contention in this guide is combining the detergent and fabric softener. Well, this detergent is an all-in-one package. It contains softening ingredients that smoothen the fabric layers of your fabrics.


This is a trusted detergent and many laundry people’s ‘number one’ cleaning detergent with softening properties.


You can use this detergent-softener solution for non-HE and HE washing machines. It works perfectly too when you hand wash. See on Amazon

Gain Laundry Detergent Eco-Box

You can address the Gain Eco-Box as a detergent and also a fabric softener. It is basically a combo of detergent and fabric softening agents.

Reasons to buy the Gain Eco-Box detergent include the following:

  • Washing and softening solution. It renders your fabric in freshness and protects the fiber from the harshness of typical detergents. You can also expect the scent on your clothes to be nostril-pleasing.
  • Concentrated cleaning. Apart from the softening experience, the Gain Eco-Box detergent brings to your fabric, it also ensures concentrated cleanness.


Although it protects the fabric fiber and adds a great smell to it, the packaging is a turnoff compared to the product objective. The boxes are wrapped in thick plastic which is against the idea of saving plastic. Otherwise, it is every laundry person’s cleaning solution. See on Amazon

Arm & Hammer Plus Softener Orchard Bloom

Arm & Hammer Plus is another detergent with a fabric softening solution. It is your natural choice for protecting the fabric fiber while keeping it as clean as possible.

This detergent contains the ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda which produces desirable quality. Below are solutions Arm & Hammer Plus detergent + softener brings:

Fabric softening

This detergent is your fabric softening solution, so you no longer need a separate softener. After taking tough stains apart, it also works to soften it and add a smell of freshness that pleases every nostril.

The softening element is perfectly measured, so you do not also have to worry about the quantity to add.

Built for your machine

This formulated detergent works in any standard washer, including your energy-conscious HE washing machines. It also brings your fabric to shining white and other bright colors.


Speaking of scent, the Arm & Hammer Plus Softener Orchard Bloom detergent brings you a fresh and light clean scent. It is available in floral Orchard Bloom Scent.

Stain removal

Its components can easily and readily expel the toughest stains from your clothes, including unpleasant odors. It cleans the way you want and saves you the cost of buying a fabric softener. See on Amazon

Detergent and Softener

Again, the detergent and softener function differently when it comes to your fabric cleaning expedition. You need both in your laundry room, but you could always invest in detergents that contain softening agents.

While the detergent cleans your clothing, rips out hard stains and unpleasant odor, the fabric conditioner softens and protects the fiber.

When Do You Put Softener in the Washer?

You want to know when to add the softener to your washer, fortunately, this is no rocket science. The fabric softener is used during the rinse cycle so that the washer does not clean it away.

You may have to pour the fabric softener into water pockets and keep it from contact with your clothes. It can badly stain your clothes, so avoid any contact.

Simply add your softener into the detergent compartment. If you have an older washer, you may have to add it in the same compartment as the detergent.

In this case, you will only add the fabric conditioner when you are rinsing the clothes.

When Do You Put Detergent in the Laundry?

You put the detergent before commencing the washing. If you use a top-loading machine, add water to your washer, then add the detergent. Get your clothes inside and start washing.

This will evenly distribute and mix the detergent and water to be used for washing your clothes. Do not put the detergent during the rinsing cycle. Otherwise, you have to rinse your clothes again.

Can I Put Detergent in Softener Compartment?

You do not put detergent in the softener compartment. Otherwise, the detergent will be dispensed during the rinse cycle even after the first wash.

A detergent is meant to clean your clothes, so adding it to the softener compartment will cause the clothes to be soapy. No doubt your clothes will come out clean but not as clean as they should be.

You have to rewash the clothes to get rid of the detergent, then add the softener to the softener compartment to soften your clothes during the rinse to protect the fiber.

You can also take out and rinse the drawer of the softener before replacing it. If this is not possible, then run a washing cycle with no clothes to rinse out the compartment.

  • Which compartment for detergent?

The detergent goes to the main wash compartment while your fabric conditioner goes to the softener compartment. Ensure not to fill the detergent compartment more than the maximum indicated. Meanwhile, you can also add detergent to the prewash compartment.

How to Use Detergent and Softener

We will look at how you can use detergent and softener with a dispenser, without the dispenser, and with hand wash.

  • With a dispenser. Add your laundry into your washer, making sure you do not exceed the indicated tub level. Add your detergent according to the amount specified by your product manufacturer in the washer. Hit the ‘Start’ button so that water flows into the dispenser, causing the detergent to mix evenly and discharge into the tub. Add the proper amount of fabric conditioner to your dispenser for softener without exceeding the max fill line. During the rinse cycle, the washer will get the softener into the tub to soften and protect your fabric.
  • Without a dispenser. Before you add the detergent into your water, pre-dissolve it with water. Fill the washer and then pour in the appropriate amount of detergent, making sure to dissolve the detergent properly. When you fill the washer halfway, add your fabric and start the washing cycle. When starting your final rinse, manually add the fabric softener. Do not pour it directly on your clothes, you can thoroughly dilute the fabric softener before adding it to the rinse cycle.
  • Hand wash. First, fill two tubs with water, one tub for washing and the other for rinsing. Pour the detergent into the washtub and mix it thoroughly to dissolve. Put your fabric. If your fabric has hard stains, allow it to soak for about 20 minutes. Wash your clothes one after the other and rinse well. Add the fabric conditioner to the softener tub and mix it well. Soak your clothes in it, allow for a few minutes, wring and line them out to dry.

Can You Wash Clothes Without Softener?

You can wash your clothes without a fabric softener. But if you must soften and protect the fibers of your fabric, use a detergent that contains softening agents.

Meanwhile, some experts think washing your fabric in soft water is ‘an effective way‘ to soften them. It all goes down to if you want a temporary fix with dryer balls, vinegar, or baking soda, or a permanent alternative to a fabric conditioner with a water refiner.

Some detergents as mentioned earlier contain softening agents, so you do not even need fabric softener.

If you have no softener, no problem. But if you must soften your clothes for some reason, get a detergent that contains natural softening agents.

What Happens if You Don’t Use Fabric Softener?

Nothing really bad happens if you do not use fabric softener to wash your clothes. Fabric softener will make your fabric soft but with time, the fatty film builds up, making your fabrics less absorbent.

Perhaps, you can take the alternative route of using soft water as experts claim it helps to soften your clothes.

Fabric softeners also leave residue in your washing machine, so older softening residues can get into your clothes on your next wash. This can make your well-washed clothes look dirty.

Final Thoughts on Can I Put Detergent and Softener Together?

Keep in mind that a fabric softener is designed for use during the rinse cycle. Do not mix it with detergent in the same compartment except your washer does not offer a different compartment for fabric conditioning.

Mixing detergent and softener will not be effective. The softening will reduce the strength of the detergent during the wash cycle. And the detergent will render the softener less effective during the rinse cycle.

Another effective way to soften your cloth by mixing detergent and softener is to use a detergent that contains softening agents. Thus, if your washer uses a single compartment, this detergent will serve as your softener as well.

Always follow the instructions of your washer and detergent/softener solution manufacturers.