Homemade Fabric Softener Recipes

Fabric softener is great for keeping your clothes soft and fresh when the come out of the laundry. However, it can get expensive to purchase on a regular basis. Making it at home is a great way to save some money. This page contains homemade fabric softener recipes.

June 3, 2015 Flag

I might be on to something, here.

An article in Wikipedia states that ethanoic acid (or acetic acid, the 'active' ingredient in vinegar), has a pungent smell. It doesn't say whether this 'smell' is the same as vinegar. I would like to know, and here's why:

I've read many accounts at ThriftyFun of vinegar being a cheaper and safer alternative to fabric softeners. Most also state that the vinegar leaves the clothes nice and fresh smelling. Against my better judgement, I gave it a try.


I found that vinegar 'softens' fabrics as well as any commercial fabric softener I've ever used. It goes further and gives fabrics a 'hand' or finish you won't usually find on a garment after it's first laundering.

So now, I use vinegar, instead. Right? In a word, No! As it turns out, that nice, fresh smell, smells just like the vinegar it is. I refuse to 'go around' with my clothes smelling like a jar of Del Monte gherkins. I tried diluting the vinegar with the same amount of my regular fabric softener. My duds still smelled like a kosher deli. My closet and drawers took on a 'pickle power' pungency. This 'fresh' smell hangs around for a while. It does not readily dissipate.

You can buy a quart of food grade ethanoic acid online for ten dollars. When diluted to the 'table strength' of vinegar, it should go a long way. There's just one hitch. Is that 'smell' the Wikipedia article describes as 'pungent', the same as vinegar? If not, food grade ethanoic acid may just be the perfect fabric softener. If 'yes', then I've wasted ten dollars plus shipping.


I just may take a chance and order a bottle of the 'E' acid. The scent can't be much worse than my own clothes after the 'perfume' in my fabric softener fades. In the meantime, I'm sitting here wondering, 'How many of those people who think the lingering scent of vinegar is 'nice and fresh', have been tempted to gussy up and go 'round sporting a sprig of dill weed in their hair' ?

February 23, 20160 found this helpful

Praise be, I am not alone!

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June 17, 20160 found this helpful

Hello there! I have been using white vinegar based dryer sheets, that are soaked in a jar, for a few weeks now, and the smell of the vinegar is not on the clothes when they come out, or anywhere for that matter. I was sure the first time I used them, that My family, and I too would smell like pickles. I have not made a liquid fabric softener, for the washer though. Maybe that is the difference? I am wondering if the heat of the dryer has something to do with it? If you look around you will find recipes for liquid softener, that also has hair conditioner added it to it for scent. Also I put essential oils in my dryer sheets. I think this kind of softener really does work our clothes are softer than ever!!

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September 8, 20160 found this helpful

August 19, 2005 Flag
11 found this helpful

I save an old fabric softener or detergent bottled (rinsed well). Using a funnel I carefully pour the following into the bottle:

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April 2, 2013 Flag
13 found this helpful

You can make your own fabric softener out of your favorite conditioner for your hair. Put all this together in a container you can easily stir, but do not shake.

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January 7, 2012 Flag
12 found this helpful

If you are out of fabric softener, add 1 Tbsp. of Epsom salts to your rinse cycle to make your towels fluffy.

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June 20, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about using vinegar as a fabric softener. Vinegar is a good alternative to fabric softener products when doing your laundry.

Vinegar being poured into fabric softener compartment on a top load washer

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June 25, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone have any new ideas on making your own fabric softeners? I am tired of spending a fortune on the products available in the store. Also, I would like to have a very good recipe for laundry detergent and something to remove spots from clothes (those that appear after you wash them in regular detergent or from other things fading on them). Thanks for any suggestions.

August 13, 20090 found this helpful

When clothes in the dryer are almost dry, throw in a wet sock to guard against static cling.

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August 13, 20090 found this helpful

I like the convenience of using the dryer sheets and they eliminate static cling in synthetics. I cut each sheet into 4 pieces and I buy store brand dryer sheets. I buy them when a box of 40 sheets sells for around $1. I get 160 uses out of one box.

If you find cutting the sheets into quarters doesn't give you enough softening, try cutting a sheet into thirds. Using a half sheet is ultra-softening to me and is still cheap. I think the liquid softeners are more costly and I don't like lifting those heavy bottles.

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October 29, 20092 found this helpful

September 27, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone know if there are any household products that can be used to make "Fabric Softener"? I am on a very low fixed income and I try to make anything I can that will save me money.
Thanks for any suggestions one might have.

Diane from Miami, FL

October 5, 20070 found this helpful

I make my own laundry det.(Fels Naptha soap,Washing Soda and Borax). I no longer need to use fabric softner or dryer sheets. My cloths are cleaner and softer.

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February 1, 20100 found this helpful

Use 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of Vinegar in the rinse cycle. Your clothes will come out just as soft of not better than if you had used fabric softener with perfumey dyes eww..

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June 11, 20160 found this helpful

April 6, 2014 Flag
0 found this helpful

Where can I find the oil (such as lavender) to add to the fabric softener?

By Lana

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December 13, 20140 found this helpful

You can find this at any health food store, candle/incense section at your supercenters. At times you can even find it at a dollar store. The best is online... Amazon, etc.

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October 17, 20150 found this helpful

Jade Bloom has good oils and are affordable.

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August 11, 20160 found this helpful

September 23, 2009 Flag
3 found this helpful

Use it in the laundry wash cycle to take the place of clothes softener. I used it once to get the white socks cleaner and noticed that when I took the clothes from the dryer, they were softer and no clinging was present.

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August 10, 2006 Flag

I need to know about substitutes for fabric softener. I've heard that vinegar may be used, but what about ammonia? I also need information on the amounts.

Thank you!

August 11, 20060 found this helpful

Ammonia is rather dangerous. Even though it's a common houselhold item. Or used to be. I would avoid it if possible. I never keep it in my house any more.

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August 12, 20060 found this helpful

Can't really attest to any of these but here goes ...

If you've run out of liquid fabric softener, what can

you use instead to get you through the rest of the

wash day? Here's a quick alternative: Go to your bathroom and get your hair conditioner

(creme rinse) and add 2 capfuls of it to the rinse

cycle. This will do the trick until you can get to

the store for a new supply of softener.

Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

1 cup glycerin

1 gallon water

essential oil for fragrance, optional

Laundry Softener

Recipe #1

2 Cups White Vinegar

2 Cups Baking Soda

4 Cups Water

Combine slowly and carefully over sink. The baking soda and vinegar will fizz.

Pour into plastic bottle, cover, and shake.

*Hint - Reuse your "Downy" bottle.

Use 1/4 cup in the final rinse or in a "Downy Ball".

Recipe #2

2-3 Cups Water

1 Cup Liquid Fabric Softener

Large Sponge

Combine water and liquid softener. Cut sponge in 1/2 and keep in liquid. When drying clothes, remove sponge, squeeze out excess liquid and place in dryer with clothes. When dry, just place sponge back in liquid to be used for next load.

Homemade fabric softener

You can also use these products alone to soften:

Plain White Vinegar - Add 1/2 cup to final rinse.

Baking Soda - Add 1/4 cup to final rinse.

Regular Fabric Softener - Dilute and use normally.

Hair Conditioner or Cream Rinse - Pour 1 tablespoon into damp washcloth and toss in with clothes.

Also some here:



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August 12, 20060 found this helpful

August 29, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

I was using the commercial liquid softener or dryer sheets and decided I wanted something more ecologically friendly. So I researched what would work in the dryer.

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January 6, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have seen many people post about the Dugger's fabric softener and say they love it. Can someone post the recipe please? I would love to try it.

By Kevin from Kansas City, MO

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful


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