Can I Use Fabric Conditioner As Detergent? [FAQs]

Fabric Conditioner vs. Detergent: Understanding the Difference

When it comes to doing laundry, it’s important to use the right products to ensure your clothes come out clean, fresh, and soft. Fabric conditioner and detergent are two common laundry products, but they serve different purposes. Fabric conditioner, also known as fabric softener, is used to soften and freshen clothes, while detergent is used to clean and remove stains. While they may both be found in the laundry aisle, these two products are not interchangeable.

Fabric conditioners are designed to add a layer of softness to your clothes. They work by coating the fabric fibers, reducing friction, and making the clothes feel smoother. Additionally, they often leave a pleasant scent on your garments. On the other hand, detergents are specifically formulated to remove dirt, oils, stains, and odors from your clothes. They contain surfactants that act as cleaning agents to break down and remove these impurities.

Can Fabric Conditioner be Used as Detergent?

The short answer is no; fabric conditioner should not be used as a substitute for detergent. While fabric conditioner can provide added softness and fragrance to your clothes, it does not have the cleaning power of a detergent. Fabric conditioners do not contain the necessary ingredients to effectively remove dirt and stains from your garments.

Using fabric conditioner as a substitute for detergent may result in clothes that still appear dirty or have lingering odors. The conditioner will only mask the dirt, rather than removing it. Additionally, fabric conditioners can leave behind a residue that may dull the color of your clothes over time.

The Importance of Using the Right Products

Using the appropriate products for each step of your laundry routine is crucial to ensure clean and well-maintained clothes. While fabric conditioner has its benefits in terms of softness and fragrance, it is important to use it in conjunction with an effective detergent.

Detergents are specifically formulated to break down and remove stains, dirt, oils, and odors from your clothes. They contain enzymes and chemicals that target and dissolve different types of stains. Furthermore, using a detergent that is suitable for your specific fabric type will help preserve the integrity of your garments and prevent color fading.

How to Properly Use Fabric Conditioner and Detergent

To ensure optimal results, follow these steps on how to properly use fabric conditioner and detergent:

1. Separate your laundry: Sort your laundry based on colors, fabric types, and levels of dirtiness. This helps prevent color bleeding and allows you to select the appropriate wash cycles.

2. Add detergent to the washing machine: Read the instructions on your detergent bottle and use the recommended amount for the load size and level of soil.

3. Start the wash cycle: Select the appropriate wash cycle for your clothes, such as delicate or heavy-duty. Allow the detergent to work its magic by cleaning and removing impurities from your garments.

4. Add fabric conditioner: Once the wash cycle is complete, add the fabric conditioner to the designated compartment in your washing machine. Be sure to use the appropriate amount recommended on the product label.

5. Final rinse and drying: Let the washing machine go through the final rinse cycle to wash away any excess detergent or conditioner. Afterward, remove your clothes and dry them as per the fabric care instructions.


While fabric conditioners can enhance the softness and fragrance of your clothes, they do not replace the cleaning power of a detergent. It’s essential to use the right products for each step of your laundry routine to ensure clean, fresh, and well-maintained garments. By understanding the difference between fabric conditioner and detergent, and using them appropriately, you can enjoy soft, clean, and beautifully scented clothes every time. Remember, fabric conditioner and detergent are best used together for optimal laundry results.

Was this article helpful?