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Does Your Fabric Softener Give You the Loads Promised?

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If you didn’t see it, President Biden released a video on Super Bowl Sunday warning viewers to check their snack foods because many of them have gotten smaller, costing you more money. He called on manufacturers to voluntarily stop the practice of shrinkflation.

Snuggle 120 loadsA common ploy used by detergent and fabric softener manufacturers is to exaggerate the number of wash loads you get out of each bottle.

Now a Missouri consumer is suing the maker of Snuggle fabric softener for misleading practices (see complaint).


In the 120-load, 96-ounce bottle, there is a hard-to-see diamond-shaped asterisk-like symbol that leads shoppers to a disclosure on the back of the bottle.

Snuggle asterisk
Snuggle back of bottle

It says “120 loads” refers to “regular” loads. However, you have to use double the amount of softener for “large” loads which according to the consumer’s lawyer is the laundry load size that most users do.

19. Because consumers … expect full loads of laundry when seeing the term “load” (instead of half-loads) – consumers are being cheated out of at least 50% of what they expect, based on Defendant’s own measurements.

20. For the vast majority of consumers doing full loads of laundry, the most loads the Product provides softener for is approximately 60 or less, not 120.

The complaint points out that some fabric softener manufacturers play it straight(er) now by saying that the load size shown on the front refers only to a small wash load.


That is certainly better but it is still misleading since the average user does not do small loads according to the complaint.

Why can’t manufacturers just play it straight and tell purchasers the actual number of loads they will get from a bottle based on the way most consumers actually use the product?

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13 thoughts on “Does Your Fabric Softener Give You the Loads Promised?”

  1. when will shrinkflation end ? when charmin is 1 sheet per roll and 1=12?

    ice cream used to be ice cream and 64oz half gallons.. now some brands like Bryers are frozen dairy desert because they do not have the proper quantity of ingredients to be legally called ice cream and how many containers are 64oz anymore.

    we can blame ourselves for complaining but still buying the products.

    also there needs to be legal conformity on shelf tags for price comparison.. not oz on one and per piece on other..

    our elected leaders, both parties, have done nothing for us by letting this continue. somehow some way they need to figure out they got elected to serve the people not fight each other..

    • I agree with you on both fronts. Don’t by product that put mis-leading labels on their products and don’t vote for politicians who don’t do things to stop companies from taking advantage of the consumer. So many annoyances could easily be fixed if our representatives would just represent us.

    • It’s also very hard to follow most recipes, nowadays. Products shrink but recipes (often printed by the same product makers) don’t reflect new sizes making customers to buy two products and waste unused portion.

  2. aargh. ^ HOW soft does your fabric have to be? How many years of having family and friends complain, whine, that their t-shirts, towels, sheets, tablecloths, are HARD do you have to endure? Just add these useless chemicals to your laundry and your house will smell in an artificial scent, your family and friends will all now love you, value you, praise you for being a good person, now that you are not violating their sensibilities… ^ PLEASE, it’s 6:40 A here in Niles MI. I have not used liquid softeners nor sheets.. they are not necessary, even for static buildup. As to the scent- wth do we want to live with those (Have you ever endured lavender scented TP?? OMG!!)

  3. I would love an article on whether these products are even necessary. I have never used softeners, either the liquid or the sheets and my laundry seems fine. My understanding is that the sheets can cause a buildup on towels that prevents them from being absorbent, so they smell good? (I personally hate scents) but don’t do their primary job.

  4. This issue is threefold complicated because there’s no real definition of a load either. Much like the oft cited issues with toilet paper measurements and their lack of standardized definition of what a “roll” is, as long as there is no standard for a default load of laundry, then a load is whatever I think I can get away with labeling a load on my package.

  5. I have been buying Scott toilet paper for many years. No more. They have found a novel way to shrink a product by making their toilet paper 1ply instead of the 2 ply it has been for years. It is impossible to use and is so thin that you can’t even see the perforation where you can rip it off. make sure that you buy 2 ply toilet paper by reading the label.

    • David… Scott 1000 sheet rolls have always been a one-ply product… and that one-ply has gotten thinner over time, as well as having had its dimensions shortened. Other varieties of Scott toilet paper are two-ply. And if one of those has recently changed from 2-ply to 1-ply, please give me details.

  6. Never understood the laundry math….Lemon Detergent, Lavender Fabric softener, and linen fresh static sheets….What’s the final scent of your clothes? Not often you can get the exact scent from detergent, softener, and static sheets. The majority of my clothes labels state do not use fabric softener.

  7. Except for my husband’s underclothes and jammies, I don’t use softener. Vinegar rinses soften AND remove laundry detergent build-up. Wool dryer balls fluff and eliminate static cling, and last for years. Much cheaper than bottles of fabric softener.

  8. The CEO’s of these multi billion dollar companies are tasked with increasing share holder value, increasing revenues and profit margins. At all cost.
    We are looked at as the stupid consumer who’s not smart enough to notice the product is tiny now as compared to years ago. 1 out of 5,000 consumers even notice a change. We just accept the triple price increase. 1. Shrink it. 2. Raise the price. 3. Change the formula. Wonderful for margins/revenue/costs. And a 4th, with inflation, throw an extra stupid high price increase for good measure. With no basis for such increase. 5th, pull this silly, arbitrary measure garbage. Give the consumer a massive cup to use. Put in a drop of detergent for that “regular” load. Pull all the above, get rewarded with stock options and a huge performance bonus. Rinse and repeat.

    How do we get the other 4,999 customers to notice? We get enough to notice and boycott the item, then we hit the companies on the bottom line. Some grocery stores were boycotting Pepsi products due to insane price increases.