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Homemade Fabric Softener Recipes

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Generic Fabric Softener Bottles

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.


Solutions: Homemade Fabric Softener Recipes

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Epsom Salts For Fabric Softener

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

Tip: Fabric Softener from Conditioner and Vinegar

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.

  • 2 cups of your favorite scented conditioner
  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 6 cups of hot water

    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!

      By Robyn [369]

    1. Tip: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

      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

      Tip: Add Vinegar to Your Wash for Soft Clothes

      Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your wash. There will be no need to use fabric softener or fabric sheets. It makes your clothes soft. It might take a few washings to get the built up fabric softener out of your cloths. But the money you will save on fabric softener is amazing. I haven't used fabric softener for years.

      By CraLinPres from Corpus Christi, TX

      Tip: I'll Never Buy Commercial Fabric Softener Again!

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

      • 2 cups vinegar
      • 2 cups baking soda
      • 4 cups hot water

      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.


      Tip: Ethanoic Acid as Fabric Softener

      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' ?

        By likekinds [104]

        Tip: Baking Soda as a Clothes Softener

        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

        Tip: Homemade Fabric Softener

        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. [1]

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          Here are questions related to Homemade Fabric Softener Recipes.

          Question: Is there a way to make homemade fabric softener?

          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.


          Most Recent Answer

          By kimsukie [5]10/29/2009

          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.

          Question: What Household Products Can Be Used As Fabric Softener?

          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


          Most Recent Answer

          By Melisaa02/01/2010

          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..

          Question: Fabric Softeners

          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!

          Most Recent Answer

          By Kelly [20]08/12/2006

          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!

          Question: Using Vinegar in the Wash

          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

          Most Recent Answer

          By Ce [4]01/21/2012

          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.

          Question: Buying Essential Oil for Homemade Fabric Softener

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

          By Lana

          Most Recent Answer

          By tap12212/13/2014

          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.

          Question: Recipe for 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

          Most Recent Answer

          By bkvander [2]01/06/2011

          Question: Homemade Laundry Softener Recipes

          How can I make a nice aroma conditioner for a dark clothes?

          By Yolanda A. from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

          Question: Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener

          Does anyone have a recipe for homemade liquid fabric softener?

          By Annette


          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.

          Archive: Recipe for Fabric Softener

          Recently there was a recipe for laundry fabric softener on the site. I lost it. I also wanted to know how much to use per load. Thanks.

          Bonnie from Lawrence, KS

          RE: Recipe for Fabric Softener

          If you look over to the right of your posted request, there are related links. Click on them and you should find what you are looking for. (02/28/2008)

          By luvmygingerkids