Downy Fabric Softener Ball Review

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Below are a collection of reviews of the Downy fabric softener ball, as shared by readers.


This page was created after I wrote my own Ultimate Guide to Using The Downy Ball, and then asked people to write in with their own opinions and experiences with the product.

You can find my review of the product at the link, and it includes quite a few troubleshooting tips for how to get the Downy ball to dispense, if you're having trouble with this, since it is a VERY common problem (as can be seen from some of these reviews and comments below).

Ultimate guide to using a Downy ball for fabric softener dispensing


Before we get into the reviews, here's a video created by the manufacturer's of the ball, explaining how it's supposed to work. (Note, I say supposed to work, because the big complaint of many commenters below, is that it doesn't work this way.)



Now, here are the reviews, which have been mixed, with some people loving it, and others, not so much.

Anna's Review

Your review is, if you'll forgive the pun, spot on!

I've used the ball for YEARS and still love it. If I pack the washer full it doesn't open right, but that's my fault.

If used properly, I bet it's worked 99.9% of the time and that .1% was probably my fault somehow too.

The whole reason I was googling the Downy Ball and found your article is that it is so hard to find anymore.

I was afraid there was some massive recall that I didn't hear about. "Downy Ball linked to bee infestations" or some such nonsense.

After reading many articles, I finally found my answer here, the growing popularity of the HE machines. Makes perfect sense.

I've always had older machines, if not coin-ops, so have missed the whole HE revolution.

Maybe when I can afford a nice new washer, I'll say good-bye to my Downy Ball. Until then though, it's the best!

Taylor says:

Thanks so much Anna for your kind words about the site, and also your thoughts and experiences with the Downy fabric softener ball.

You can read even more reviews below, and don't forget to share your own reviews of the product as well in the comments below.

Downy fabric softener ball reviews from readers: both positive and negative {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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I Miss My Rinse Cycle Without The Ball

by Jennifer

Jennifer shared on the site's Facebook page her experience with this laundry supply.

Jennifer says:

My washer and dryer are out in my garage.

I just love the Downy ball because before they came out I missed the rinse cycle many times and had to re-rinse.

I have had times when it doesn't open, but not that often. I hope I never lose them since they seem to be so hard to find.

I will not go with the HE washing machines until I'm dragged kicking and screaming.

My neighbor is an appliance repairman. He does not think they are good and he keeps my machine, which is about 20 years old, running. As long as he is able to keep it going, I'm sticking with my dinosaur.

Taylor says:

Thanks for your review Jennifer.

Remember that you can add any type of fabric softener to the ball, not just Downy.

In addition, along with using it to add traditional oil based softeners, you can use it to dispense vinegar into the rinse!

You can get even more ideas for laundry uses for vinegar here.

Top 7 uses for vinegar for laundry

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The Downey Ball Is . . . Ugh

by David B.
(Horsham, PA)

David has also shared his review of this fabric softener dispenser.

David says:

We have a brand new washing machine and the ball is new as well.

7 out of 10 times it doesn't open and no softener is used.

Basically we then have to waste water, energy and time to rinse again.

I've read that sometimes the ball has residue at the seal but we haven't used it enough for that to happen.

20% of the time it does open, yet it doesn't go into the laundry and about 10% it empties partially leaving softener all over the clothes.

We didn't notice it one time and it stained our new sheets which really made my wife's day.

I wish this new washer had the ability to pour in the compartment but it doesn't. We are at a loss.

Taylor says:

David, sorry to hear about this frustrating experience.

Your experience of the ball not dispensing at all, or not completely, is unfortunately quite common.

So is your experience of the softener getting on the clothes later, and staining them.

Here's my article about how to remove a fabric softener stain, which can hopefully help with this issue.

Fabric softener stain removal guide


I'm wondering if you should just forego fabric softener, and not use it in the wash if it will cause this much trouble for you.

The other option would be to use a product that softens clothes, but can be added at the beginning of the cycle, instead of having to wait until the rinse cycle to add.

Examples of such products currently on the market include Purex crystals and Dropps fabric softener pacs.

If you also have used this product, and love it, hate it, or have other suggestions for how to make it work better in your washer to dispense the softener, make sure to share your comments below.



In addition, you can check out even more laundry supplies reviews here, for a wide range of products used for your laundry, and be sure to share your own as well!

Laundry supplies reviews, plus guides for their use


Downy fabric softener ball reviews from readers, with both positive and negative opinions and experiences {on Stain Removal 101} #DownyBall #FabricSoftener #LaundrySuppliesuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest


Related Pages You May Enjoy

Laundry Tips For Busy Moms

Ultimate Guide To Using Fabric Softener

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There are affiliate links on this page, and if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission. Purchasing through my links costs you nothing extra, but helps support the free information provided on this site and my family. To learn more please see my product review disclosure statement.

Comments for The Downey Ball Is . . . Ugh

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Fabric softener stains with this product
by: Brandii Linville

I have a top-load el grande washer that uses a Downy Ball to dispense fabric softener. I use Downy. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the ball doesn't dispense all the fabric softener and I get blue stains on the clothes that turn to brown/ugly purple when I try to wash them again to get the stain out. Please Help!!

Stains
by: Anonymous

Every time I use the downy ball for Downy fabric softener it leaves huge stains all over my clothes. Very disappointed! I have been using this product since they came out with the ball and only recently have I had this problem. I have to re-wash an entire load of clothes because they have what looks like oil stains all over them. Pretty furious this time. Guess It's my fault; I had to throw away a pair of sweat pants from one of my last loads because I couldn't get the stain out, even with an oxy fabric spray. Will not be using downy in the future.

Does not work
by: Ann

I mistakenly purchased a washer without the softener feature. I tried the Downy ball over and over. It opens but over half the liquid does not dispense.

If it does it is all on one article which leaves a huge mess.

For those of you who have trouble finding them I know many people who would give you theirs for free.

I love mine!
by: Meryl

I love the Downy fabric softener ball and never had any problems with it opening at the right time. My clothes always smell so good!

works most of the time
by: Anonymous

For the past two washes the ball did not open up until the machine stopped. Fabric softener in the bottom of the machine. What a mess. Scared to use it again....

Cracked ball
by: Anonymous

I have used the downy ball for years and lioved it.. The. last 2 have cracked. I have only used my last one 4 times and it cracked. Very disappointed.

Downey Ball
by: Anonymous

I absolutely love the Downey Ball! It's convenient and I don't have to mess with any measuring lids.

No good for HE machines
by: OG Mike

My Maytag Centennial HE does not have a softener dispenser and was sold by Maytag with the Downey Ball and it doesn't work. It opens and the softener stays in the ball. I have an alarm clock net to the washer. I set it for 20-25 minutes and go add softener.

Doesn't Open
by: Ginny

I too have the same problem in that it does not open 50% of the time and it was brand new.

used to work great but...
by: steph

unfortunately, i have to go to a laundry-mat b/c my tiny apt. doesn't have a washer/dryer hookup. they used to have older washers there & my downey balls worked great, always opened & really helped soften my clothes. a few months ago, the machines were changed to newer ones (not HE) & for some reason, the balls don't work as well - i usually end up with stained clothes. i'm going to try a softener that doesn't contain any dye & see if that helps (if the softener ends up on clothes, at least i won't see it). i also like the idea of diluting it in the ball, i am going to try that idea as well. i hate not using fabric softener as i really can tell the difference in how soft my clothes & towels are. the dryer sheets help with static cling but i don't think they really soften clothes. thanks everyone for your thoughts here!

sometimes won't open, and this is happening more and more
by: Linda

I have had my Downy ball for many years and sometimes it just won't open and this is happening more and more. I have read your problem solving ideas and will try them.

When my ball does not work like it should, I pour some Downy directly on a clean cloth and put it in the dryer with the wet laundry. This works pretty good.

Thanks you for your helpful hints.

must use in my new HE machine
by: Juanita

This is not so much a review as information about some HE machines. My NEW HE requires a Downy Ball as the only way to use fabric softener. Since I am determined to stop using fabric softener sheets (they are an ecological disaster) I am happy to learn I can order them online. (On the other hand, I hate my HE washing machine.)

can be annoying
by: Anonymous

Great when it works. Annoying when it doesn't open or when opening the machine to find it upside down on my favorite blouse.

it does not work
by: Christina White

I love the original scent of Downy (April Fresh) and although there are other types, I still recommend the original one. I decided to try the Downy ball since I live in an apt. and machines do not have a fabric softener dispenser in them. As much as I loved the idea of using it in order to make sure my clothes would come out smelling "april fresh" I was so disappointed to see/smell that my clothes did not receive the softener because it would still be inside the ball itself. I tried buying another one, but sadly the results are the same. Why continue to make this product if it does not work? It might help if you were to solve this problem first, and then make a model that does work!! Consumers like myself do not appreciate wasting our hard earned money on a product. Well, I have decided to not buy it anymore because it simply DOES NOT WORK!!!

stains my stuff
by: Anonymous

My Downy ball opens but the softener doesn't come out. SO when I pick it up to lift it out of the machine, it spills all over everything and stains all of my stuff.

didn't open
by: Anonymous

I just used it for the first time and it didn't open.

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Taylor

Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.