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Trib Tested

Ultra Downy with SilkTouch and Downy Unstopables

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 2:51 p.m.
Ultra Downy April Fresh fabric softener and  Downy Unstopables Spring in-wash scent booster
Downy
Ultra Downy April Fresh fabric softener and  Downy Unstopables Spring in-wash scent booster

The claim: Detergent isn't the only thing your clothes need to stay looking and feeling great — fabric softeners and scent boosters can upgrade your fabrics with their softness, freshness and protection benefits. Think of them as the conditioner to your shampoo. Ultra Downy with SilkTouch fabric softener and Downy Unstopables in-wash scent booster help preserve fabric over detergent alone to help your clothes to stay newer longer, provide long-lasting scent that offers extra bursts of freshness throughout the day, make clothes more soft, touchable and wearable, and prevent static cling.

Cost: $8.99 for a 103-ounce bottle of Ultra Downy with SilkTouch; $6.99 for a 13.2-ounce bottle of Downy Unstopables

Where: Supermarkets and discount stores

Because having a family of six provides an endless pile of laundry and need for detergent, it is rare that I would splurge on any sort of special products. Recently, though, I noticed that the bath towels that have been serving extra duty during baseball season have smelled, well, less than great. It's not that they smelled in a bad way, but they just didn't seem fresh anymore. I thought about buying new towels; I thought about trying a different fabric softener.

At this point, I was more than thrilled to be offered a chance to test the Downy products, especially the Unstopables. I admittedly use “whatever is cheap or on sale,” and I'm sure that's most of my problem. While my laundry choices are name brand, they didn't seem to be getting the job done anymore.

I immediately washed a load of towels. The Ultra Downy fabric softener worked just as it should. I was neither impressed nor disappointed. Fortunately, I am not plagued with bad static during warm months, so I didn't have much to review here. I was pleased, though, with the fresh scent the Unstopables brought to my towels. Maybe the scent was a combination of the fabric softener and Unstopables, but I can't imagine fabric softener alone would provide as prominent an aroma. The test, though, would be whether the scent stuck around after I tossed them in the closet until their next use.

As I planned to wait a couple of days to go back and sniff my towels, I also washed a load of clothes to test the “extra bursts of freshness” Downy claimed its products would provide. Again, I was pleased with the fresh scent. I was careful not to use as much of the Unstopables as I did on my towels — I didn't want to risk competing smells all day (from my clothes and perfume). I'm pretty sure I didn't use enough beads, because the scent was barely detectable the next day.

I checked in on my towels two days later (my usual fabric softener would have failed by this point). I was pleasantly surprised that my towels still smelled fresh. The scent was not overpowering but did make me consider how my son would feel if his baseball uniform smelled so springy at the field and how my husband may get razzed by his buddies for smelling girly (their words, not mine). I think it will take some experimenting to find just the right amount to use, depending on the contents of each load.

The verdict: Downy's Unstopables are a keeper for the endless cycle of bath and beach towels my family uses. The jury is still out, though, on whether I will use them on everyone's clothes.

— Melanie Wass

I'm a firm advocate of tossing a dryer sheet in with my wash to soften my clothes and leave them smelling “clean.” I've always thought pouring fabric softener into the washing machine took just a little too much time and effort. My other gripe is that another bottle just takes up too much room on the shelf.

Even so, I'm the kind of clothes horse who likes to treat her favorites well. So, I was happy to revisit the notion of liquid fabric softener with the addition of Downy's Unstopables Spring in-wash scent booster.

I still hate juggling the bottle, but Downy's liquid fabric softener, coupled with in-wash scent booster left my laundry soft and mildly scented. And the in-wash scent beads are light and easy to handle.

I'm not sure whether it will help preserve the shape and look of my clothing or whether it will keep my winter turtleneck sweaters smelling sweet while they languish in storage this summer. Ask me next fall.

— Deb Erdley

I'm not big into fancy detergents and perfume smells. I just like my laundry clean.

So, I can't say I was disappointed by the Downy Unstoppables Spring-In wash scent booster, because my clothing didn't have a perfume smell to them when I took them out of the dryer. In fact, they really didn't have any smell at all.

It's possible I didn't use enough of the booster in the loads of clothing, because the directions aren't specific as to how much is needed for a small or large load of clothing.

I'm a regular Downy fabric softner user, so there was nothing new there for me. The clothing was as soft as it usually is.

But I don't think the booster was necessary. It didn't leave any lingering smell which, at least for me, is a good thing, and it didn't make the clothing any softer.

Save the few bucks the booster costs.

— Bill Vidonic

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