I’ve always used fabric softener. It keeps clothes smelling fresh, cuts down drastically on static and removes wrinkles (as long as you get the laundry out as soon as the dryer stops). Through the many years I’ve been an adult I’ve tried all kinds of off brands and finally realized that none could compare with Downy. The economy tanked, food and fuel prices rose and like most people I needed to cut back. The easiest place to start was on cleaning and laundry supplies.
I’m a bargain shopper and regularly shop at closeout stores such as Big Lots and Ollie’s. The problem with the closeout stores is that you may find Downy for $4.50 today but when you go back a few weeks later they don’t have it anymore. Discount stores such as Kmart, Walmart and Target sell Ultra Downy (52 loads) for around $5.99 and many grocery stores charge $6.99 and up. Snuggle Exhilaration’s (60 loads) sells for around $4.99 at the same discount stores. Spending less money is great but how do the 2 products compare in actual use.
For this article I compared Ultra Downy Simple Pleasures Orchid Allure (52 loads) to Snuggle Blue Sparkle Concentrated (60 loads). The Downy listed ingredients are: biodegradable fabric softening agents (cationic) and the Snuggle listed ingredients are: fabric softeners (cationic). Snuggle doesn’t list their product as “biodegradable”, but I’m wondering how biodegradable any fabric softener is. According to Wikipedia, cat ionic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralize their charge. Furthermore, they all use pretty much the same ingredients which include:silicone based compounds, salts, fatty acids and a list of chemicals that can’t be pronounced. To get the lowdown on what’s in fabric softener go to: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabric_softener.
In order to do a fair comparison, I did 4 loads of laundry. I had 6 pairs of jeans that needed washed so I did 3 pairs per load. My next 2 loads consisted of whites (4 tee shirts, 4 pairs of panties, 2 blouses and 2 night gowns) equally divided. The first load of each group was with Downy and the second was with Snuggle.
Without a doubt the Downy Orchid Allure scent was stronger as I transferred the clothes from the washer to dryer but once the clothes were dried the Snuggle Blue Sparkle scent was stronger. Both Downy and Snuggle worked equally well removing static cling. As for softness both products worked equally well with the exception of the tee shirts which were 100% cotton. The tee shirts softened with Downy actually felt softer than the ones softened with Snuggle. Snuggle seemed to work a little better removing wrinkles. After the blouses were hung on hangers it was apparent the the Downy blouse still needed to be ironed and the Snuggle blouse didn’t. Snuggle Blue Sparkle boasts of “14 days of freshness” but I didn’t sniff the clothes 13 days later to see if that was true.
While fabric softener scents are a matter of personal choice, what’s really important is the end result. Both Downy and Snuggle worked equally well. Using Downy costs .11 per load of laundry and Snuggle costs .08. It doesn’t seem like much but over a year those pennies add up. Since cost is the only major difference, Snuggle is the winner hands down.