Getting your clothes clean again is the main goal. Yet if they’re clean but uncomfortable to wear, you’ve only won half the battle. That’s where fabric softeners come in. In a nutshell, fabric softeners are either liquids used in the wash cycle or sheets used in the dryer. Both help eliminate static cling and wrinkles while making clothes feel softer and smell better. Liquid fabric softener is added to the wash cycle and permeates into fabric fibers. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, fabric softener also keeps clothing from stretching, fading, and accumulating fuzz. Dryer sheets, on the other hand, are coated with stearic acid, which melts in the dryer and coats clothes to make them have less static and feel softer and more comfortable. While useful for many clothing items, most experts suggest you not use fabric softeners on some items, including towels. That’s because even though softeners can make towels feel and smell better, since they coat the fabric, they sometimes reduce a towel’s ability to absorb water.