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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


By Lelia Jo Cordell 51 1,936 03/24/2011 Flag

Hmm... I never thought to add essential oils. Vinegar also works in the wash cycle as an odor eliminator, and part of what vinegar does is help pull all soap residue out of the clothes. I think that may contribute to the softening.

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By Marg 3 142 03/24/2011 Flag

I love your idea of using water softener Amanda. My water is so hard I'm sure it adds to the stiffness. I'm sure I will need less detergent too. Thank you.

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By MT 11 8 11/06/2011 Flag

I too use white vinegar to help soften our very hard water. Although I have to admit I'd like to find something that works as good as Calgon. An affordable place to buy white vinegar is Sam's Club. I have found the drier balls aggravating in that they do come apart.

So I started using tennis balls. They work great as an aid to faster drying, and cut down on wrinkling significantly. They also stay together, and last forever. Yes, they are noisy, but here in Florida we can have our washer and drier in the garage, which is a help in the noise department. Still haven't found the best solution for static electricity in the winters, but it's nothing like the electric shocks I used to get regularly when we lived up north!

Please keep posting, I'd really like to find a better solution for hard water; next to installing a softener!

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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 comments that were provided then.

Archive: Inexpensive Fabric Softener Tip

If you want soft clothes out of the dryer, but hate the expense of a softener, just use a dash of vinegar. Just a quarter cup or a little more for a large load in the washer, does the trick. I have also added about a tablespoon of fabric softener along with the vinegar, and this has worked very well also. I might add that on occasion (the clothes have sat in the washer too long, so I know they will emerge wrinkled from the dryer) I have obtained similar softness, merely by running the clothes through the rinse cycle again! This might not work with harder water, though.

Patti- Oklahoma City, OK

Archive: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

This is more of a comment rather than a tip because I got the tip here in the first place!

I finally got around to trying white vinegar as a replacement for fabric softener. IT WORKS! In some cases I added it to a little liquid softener that I like but when I was totally out of softener a couple days ago I washed towels with just the vinegar in the softener dispenser and wow, they came out really soft and didn't smell like vinegar either!

Give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Vinegar is natural and is pretty cheap too! I just bought a huge jug of it yesterday for $2.08 and sometimes it goes on sale.

Oh and I also washed some tops of mine with the vinegar for softener. I let them drip dry and they came out very soft and smooth!

I am so glad I read thriftyfun because I would never have known to use vinegar in the wash otherwise!

By Debbie from Illinois


RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

This really works! I love the way my clothes smell and feel. (09/05/2006)

By AnnMel

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

Hey. This sounds like a great idea and I'm going to try it tomorrow. Talk about pinching pennies. Vinegar is so inexpensive. Thanks. (09/05/2006)

By maggie3956

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I have used vinegar, not to add softness, but to get rid of the musty smell in the towels and it works great! (09/05/2006)

By Persnickety Paula

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I have been using vinegar as my fabric softner for a few years and love it. If you have someone who is scent sensitive then you may want to use vinegar instead of fabric softner.

Zig (09/06/2006)

By Ziggee

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I tried this the other day and I love the results! Fresh smell, softness, and cheap. Also great for my front loader that has a tendency to collect water. Wonder why I never knew about it!?! (03/18/2008)

By sc from indy

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I not only use vinegar as a softener, but I use 2 cups of water with 1/4 cup of white vinegar to clean all of my windows, mirrors and glass. It is much better than Windex and other cleaners which have a wax base. The first time you clean everything, add 1/4 tsp. of dish washing detergent to the mixture to remove the wax buildup. From that time on, just
use the vinegar and water mix. Saves so much money and works so much better. (08/22/2008)

By Janice

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I've heard that using vinegar will destroy the elastic in things so you might want to just use it in your towels and bedsheets. I don't think I would use it ith your stretch jeans or blouses. (03/31/2010)

By eveh

RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I have an HE front loader and I am unsure how much vinegar to add to the fabric softener spot. Do I mix it with water? Thanks! (09/09/2010)


RE: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I did this the other day when washing towels and I was pleased to see it works as well as this site said it would. Yay cheap vinegar, more money in our pockets! (11/24/2010)

By SuzyQ82

Archive: Tips For Soft Fluffy Towels

I'm really sick of having hard scratchy towels. I have never used softener on them as that's supposed to stop them from absorbing water.

Archive: Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

Don't waste money on fabric softener! Use white vinegar instead. White vinegar is the best fabric softener you can buy and it's so cheap.