In addition to water, fragrance and coloring, the ingredients in Ultra Downy liquid fabric softener include diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride, a softening agent; calcium chloride; a process aid such as water; and formic acid, which works to control the solution's acid/alkaline balance. Liquid Downy also contains an anti-foam agent, polydimethylsiloxane and a preservative, benzisothiazolinone. Ammonium chloride acts as a chlorine scavenger in liquid Downy, diethylenetriamine pentaacetate and sodium work to bond metals in the product, and starch provides structure.
The free and sensitive variety of Downy liquid fabric softener contains these same ingredients with the exception of fragrance and color tinting. Other Downy fabric softeners containing the same ingredients as Ultra Downy are Downy Infusions, Downy Simple Pleasures and Ultra Downy Pure Essentials. Downy fabric softener dryer sheets contain fewer and different ingredients. In addition to fragrance, dryer sheets contain clay, which acts as a rheology modifier; polyester substrate, which serves as a carrier; and two softening agents, fatty acid and dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate, which also serves as an anti-static agent.
Downy evaluates the composition of all perfumes used to fragrance its fabric softener products according to its internal safety standards and the International Fragrance Association's code of practice and standards. Proctor and Gamble, the company that produces Downy products, reports using a total of 2,280 different natural and chemical ingredients to create the various fragrances used in Downy products.