How does liquid fabric softener work?

The closest thing I have found in the archives is [url=]this.* has a near identical article.

I don’t give a crap about the “Downy BALL”

I just want to know how the liquid product itself works.

FTR: I am not inquiring about how anti-static dryer sheets work either.

dammit, here is the link from above, corrected

Closest answer I’ve got is: liquid fabric softener neutralises the detergent you used to clean the clothes, meaning all the detergent is rinsed out, and the clothes aren’t “hard” when they dry.

There’s a couple of Google cached pages from “Tom’s Basic Resources” on this. (Links won’t behave for me tonight, though :o )

they have two effects

  1. reduce static charges which causes stuff to cling together
  2. have humectants and lubricants to keep the fibres moving freely

They are usually base on “cationic” detergents. These positively charge molecules stick to the slightly negatively charged fabrics, thus are not lost in the final rinse.

for more detail