Since joing this forum I've started to take better care of my clothes, and have started laundering my shirts and knitwear instead of dropping them off at the cleaners. I use cold water, light detergent, hang dry, and iron while damp if necessary. I've had mixed results with this technique. For instance, I've definitely noticed less shrinkage on newly purchased items, but my shirts and polos would dry and remain really stiff. Darker colored knitwear had blotches of gray gunky stuff which made them look faded. I did some research and this morning used a liquid water softener. What a difference that made. Everything actually looks and feels clean. Anyone know if using a water softener on a regular basis can damage your clothes, or is it perfectly safe to use every time?