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.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
I save an old fabric softener or detergent bottled (rinsed well). Using a funnel I carefully pour the following into the bottle:
Be careful when adding the baking soda, do so very slowly as it will foam up. Cap and shake gently from side to side, opening the cap to allow air to escape (you may need to do this several times). Add about 20 drops of essential oil. I love lavender but you can use cedarwood, rose, eucalyptus, whatever you love.
Shake side to side before each use as the baking soda will settle. Pour just past the line in a Downyball (I find this method works better than the machines fabric softener dispenser). Toss the ball in and that's it.
It costs a mere pennies to make. Buy the huge boxes of baking soda now available and gallons of white vinegar.
There is no static cling whatsoever and it leaves a lovely scent on your clothing. For extra fragrance, put some in a spray bottle and spray your load of laundry as it goes into the dryer.
The serviceman where we bought our Whirlpool washer and dryer combo said NEVER to use any type of dryer sheets in a dryer. They leave a residue on the lint screen. Take your screen and hold it under a running faucet. If the water beads and doesn't run thru freely, it's clogged by use of dryer sheets.
Try this cheap, environmentally friendly version instead. It's safe to use on children's sleepwear and doesn't diminish the absorbency of towels or clothes as it does not coat the fabric.
If you are out of fabric softener, add 1 Tbsp. of Epsom salts to your rinse cycle to make your towels fluffy.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
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.
Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir. Then pour into a container. Use 1/4 cup per load of wash. It works great and smells great too!
I might have gone at this backwards. 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.
I ended up by making some wool dryer balls with my fresh lavender inside them. They worked great when using the dryer and (with the exception of a few polyester items) eliminated the static.
However, we have now put up a clothesline - so things will be drying on the line. Unfortunately, the dryer balls don't work with this method. So I am now going to start making my own fabric softener that can be used in the wash portion.
What this entry is suggesting is that - since the fabric softener works for clothes that are hung out, but not for the dryer, the dryer balls can be added in for that step when needed.
By Lacy B.
Making your own fabric softener is so simple, just take a one gallon jug of white vinegar and add your own preference of essential oils. I add 40 drops of the oils to the vinegar and shake back and forth to mix up. During the washer's rinse cycle, add 1/4 cup and it will leave your wash smelling so nice and fresh. It lasts longer than traditional fabric softeners.
By cassie from Paragould, AR
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. I used about two tablespoons to a large load.
By Ms. Jany from El Cajon, CA
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Here are questions related to Homemade Fabric Softener Recipes.
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.
Purchase a large bottle of your favorite fabric softner; say for maybe 3 dollars. Then pour into a fine mist bottle, mist 3-6 mists inside of the dryer before adding wet clothes. This provides for the best smelling clothes ever, no dryer sheets to look for and so on the cheap. There are six in my family, one bottle will last 3 or 4 months or more or so. Never had any problems with this and have been doing this for 6-9 years.
I have seen on a few other sites that vinegar will break down the fabric if used in every wash load; is this true?
By Stephanie from MO
I have been making my own laundry detergent and have used white vinegar instead of fabric softener for years. The vinegar makes my clothes super soft, there is no vinegar smell and the fabric have not broken down.
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.
Ammonia is toxic! And if you have bleach in the water (or in most common detergents...) watch out! Better to go with vinegar and/or baking soda. But it will not help with the static electricity...I am still trying to find that help, with out the toxins!
Does anyone have a recipe for homemade liquid fabric softener?
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
How can I make a nice aroma conditioner for a dark clothes?
By Yolanda A. from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I do about 3 loads of laundry a day and I go through a 60-load bottle of Snuggle fabric softener in about 8 to 10 days. I always clip coupons to save money, too. And I don't like the cheap fabric softeners... I can't even smell them. Is there a way to save money on this by making your own? It's breaking me!
Softening Dryer sheets. The same dryer sheet will work just fine for two, often three loads of laundry. Or cut a dryer sheet into four pieces, using 1/4 sheet instead of a full sheet, per load.
Extend liquid softener. Mix equal portions of regular (not concentrate) liquid fabric softener with hot water in a spray bottle. When adding clothes to the dryer follow with several spritzes onto a washcloth and toss it in the dryer. Works equally well as dryer sheets but for much less money.
Soften with vinegar. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the last rinse. Clothes will come out softer without liquid or sheet softeners. In future columns I'll be telling you how to make your own laundry detergent and how to keep your dark colors (even blacks) from fading. Stay tuned! (06/07/2005)
By G. Parker
My kids usually dirty their clothes ea day but I look them over to see if they could be worn a 2nd time. I definitely wear my clothes more than once unless obviously soiled. I think it's foolish to put clothes worn once in the dirty clothes, if they are not really dirty. I just have too much work to do! (02/17/2006)
By Susan from Hamilton
Commercial fabric softeners, dryer sheets and hair conditioners (to a lesser extent) contain emulsified wax, usually petroleum based, that coat the fibers of the fabric the create the soft feeling and reduction in wrinkles. This was also smooths then surface of the fibers (much as it does the cuticle on hair shafts) so that there is less surface area to hold moisture. After many washings and dryings, this coating builds up and eventually makes the fiber non-absorbent - hence the "stain resistance" advertised by some softeners. Dryer sheets are the most insidious version of fabric softener since the wax is aerosolized by melting and being spread by the humidity in the dryer. Commercial driers and laundry mats often ban the use of dryer sheets since the wax can build up on the drum surface and coat the exhaust system causing a potential fire hazard, not to mention a form of air pollution. This aerosolized wax can also coat the lungs of animals and humans causing allergic and other health responses. (06/10/2006)
The best part about this is you get rid of any soap in your clothes during the rinse cycle like you are supposed to.
You know those rings that sometimes form on your clothes when you sweat? No the rings AREN'T from your sweat, they are the soap that is STILL in the clothes after they are run through a washer (without the vinegar). This ends those soap / sweat rings!
I also keep the FS in the mix because some people can still smell a little vinegar if you only use vinegar. (09/13/2006)