Fabric softeners are essentially a conditioner for textiles. This means they leave a silky film on the material that protects and maintains, but it also means the fabric is less able to absorb moisture. That’s why it’s always good to think about which fabrics to wash with a softener and when to skip this step. For towels, microfibers and cleaning cloths, a good rule of thumb is to alternate washing with and without a fabric softener for maximum fluffiness and absorbency. And remember, always follow the directions on the care label of your item!