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Why You Should Use Fabric Softener on Your Dishes

Man scrubbing a pan with dish soap
Dmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock.com

Most people add a capful of fabric softener in with their laundry for soft, fluffy towels and sweaters. But, it actually has several uses around the home. It can help with a smelly garbage disposal, freshen up carpets and rugs, and even remove pet hair. But, you should also consider using it on your dishes if you have hard water.

While fabric softener isn’t a replacement for dish soap, it can be used in addition to your favorite soap to get rid of hard water stains.

If you’re tired of dealing with chalky white messes every time you remove your glassware from the dishwasher, let’s dig a little deeper into how fabric softener can help.

It’s not uncommon to have a hard water problem. It can lead to constant battles with stains around your toilets, showers, and sinks. But, it can also cause chalky stains to build up on your dishes, especially if you use a dishwasher.

Instead of sticking to strenuous scrubbing, pull out your fabric softener to help with those hard water stains.

Downy Ultra Laundry Fabric Softener Liquid, Cool Cotton Scent

A trusted brand that will help with more than just laundry!

It only takes a drop or two of fabric softener to cut through the mineral deposits of hard water, clearing away the chalky stains and breathing new life into your dishes. You can even use softener sheets as a sponge by adding a drop or two of dish soap to them.

Even if you have hard water stains that have been there for a while, you can put fabric softener to work on them by coating the dishes in a thin layer of softener and letting them sit for 10 minutes. This gives the softener time to break down the mineral deposits further, and you should be able to wipe and rinse the stains away.

The reason fabric softener is so effective on hard water stains is the same reason why it works so well to make blankets, towels, and clothes so soft. It contains lipids, which soften the mineral deposits on the outside of dishes. The hard water stains suddenly become “soft,” and they can be wiped away easily with minimal effort.

No matter how much regular dish soap can cut through grease and grime, it doesn’t work as well on hard water stains because it can’t wear down the hard mineral deposits enough to wipe them away. So, if you struggle with chalky stains every time you open the dishwasher and you’re tired of scrubbing to no available, head to the laundry room and let your trusty fabric softener go to work on your dishes.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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