Downy vs. Gain fabric softener efficacy

johnmkMarch 2, 2013

Has anyone noticed any appreciable differences between current formulations of Downy and Gain?

I use Downy Free & Clear, and Gain Original Scent. In some contexts, I require softening with no aroma, and in others, I very much enjoy Gain O.S. It could very well be my imagination, but is it possible that I notice Downy Free & Clear seems to be either more concentrated or just plain more effective? Please take my initial observations as quite possibly erroneous, as my sample size is low and my post here is oriented more towards others' comparative anecdotes.

Thank you for any on-topic wisdom you can share. I'm sympathetic to opinions that fabric softeners encourage immorality in algal blooms on Neptune but would greatly appreciate if such discussions take place elsewhere, lest this thread derail like so many others.

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I always dilute the softeners about 50% with water. When they are full strength I have issues with itchiness. That may also have something to do with the small amount of water that a front loader uses to rinse. I have been doing this for decades.

I like the smell of some of the Downy infusions, just too cheap to spend the money. I actually have been buying the Kirkland brand, which (to me) smells like Downy. It also seems to have the same consistency that you describe. I don't know about the Gain as I have never purchased that brand.

But as far as smell I would probably be more of a Gain user opposed to the Downy free/clear if it has no scent. I want the softener to have scent.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:52AM
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First thread I have ever read on the Home forum... Funny I noticed this (of all things) first!

I use regular scented (old blue) Downy and OS Gain. Not at the same time, mind you, but for different scents and purposes. I have been wondering about your question myself lately. Downy is thicker and stays on the articles much heavier than Gain. I wouldn't say Gain is less efficacious just thinner. It still keeps the clothes soft and without any "shocking" issues :). Smells awesome too!

I think the thickness of Downy can actually be one cause of stinky washer problems, since it doesn't seem to rinse easily. I use the Downy for heavy duty items like towels and jeans, etc... Or something I want to have that "old" smell. Rag loads can't take anything but vinegar for softener and I only use that so I don't get shocked in the winter. Used Downy by mistake, and they don't soak up anything!

Thanks for asking! Glad to see another curious soul :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:50PM
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I've used Downy ever since I was old enough to do laundry. I used to use the April Fresh until they changed the formulation and it became a sickeningly sweet softener. Now, I use the Free and Sensitive. I use it as directed. I don't dilute it with water or anything. I've never had any issues with mold, smelly washer or anything. No residue buildup in the dispenser, washer or on the clothes and yes, I even use it on towels and it has not affected the absorbency.

I think the Downy might be thicker and something has changed in their formulation as it now says to shake the bottle before use, whereas it didn't use to say that. That being said, when you shake the bottle, you end up with a mess when you try to pour it out, so I usually shake it a couple times and let it sit while I check the clothes for stains and load the washer.

Anyway, just a little fyi from my experience. Actually, I take that back, I did use the Gain once but the scent was a bit strong for me, so I think that's when I went to the Downy F&S.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:07PM
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