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Full fabric conditioner test results

By Christina Woodger

Put us to the test

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The best fabric conditioners will leave your laundry soft and smelling fresh for days on end. We compare the best and worst to help you find your ideal fabric conditioner.

We've conducted our first ever test of fabric conditioners. We put big brands, such as Lenor and Comfort, head-to-head against supermarket own-brands, discounters Lidl and Aldi, and rival brands Fair and Ecover.

We wanted to find out which conditioners would leave you with huggable, soft laundry that has a long-lasting fragrance. And which would leave your clothes more coarse than cuddly, with none of the fresh scent claimed on the bottle.

Our top scorer got 74%, while the lowest-scoring conditioner only got 48%. As prices vary from 2p per wash to 9p, our fabric conditioner results will tell you which conditioners you should buy, and which you shouldn't bother spending your money on. 

We've also spoken to textile technologists, allergy experts, bed and bathroom linen buyers and a toxicologist to answer common fabric conditioner questions - what shouldn't you use fabric conditioner on and what should you do if you have sensitive skin? 

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Fabric conditioner test results - October 2015

Product Price Washes per bottle Cost per wash Bottle size (ml) Overall softness Strength of smell Long-lasting smell Score
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 74%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 71%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 69%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 66%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 64%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 61%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 60%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 60%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 54%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 53%
Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content Subscriber only content 48%

Table notes
Price: The average price for a bottle. Price per wash: Based on average price divided by the number of washes stated on the bottle.
Overall softness: How soft the conditioner makes washing feel overall, based on a panel judging it separately after one and five washes. We used towels in our tests as they are the most tangible material to test softness and we weren't examining absorbency.
Strength of smell: Combination of how strong the fragrance is (not whether it's pleasant) when the clothes are wet and then when dry. 
Long-lasting smell: Strength of smell left on washing after seven days.
Test score: Ignores price. Based on: softness 60%; strength of smell 25%; long-lasting smell 15%.

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