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
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.
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.
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!
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. Just add half a cup to your final rinse and your washing will come out lovely, soft, and free of any soap residue. Your towels will be soft and fluffy and if you use this method on towels from when they're new they don't "mat" up and will remain soft forever.
To avoid the problem of brand new towels not drying you properly, first wash them in plain cold water (do not add washing product) with 1 cup of vinegar added to the water, allow them to soak for a while, then finish the wash cycle adding half a cup of vinegar to the rinse. This method removes the fabric dressing and they will be absorbent straight away. Any vinegar odor disappears once the item is dry. The added bonus in using white vinegar, is that your washing machine will be sparkling clean inside and doesn't get that awful grime build-up. It's also very eco-friendly!
By beadiebug from Queensland, Australia
I use vinegar in the rinse water, too. You could use vinegar in your softener dispenser without fear of it clogging. My dispenser is in the center of the agitator. It doesn't hold much so I usually pour in a little more vinegar into the rinse water if I'm nearby. (01/06/2011)
I don't know why, but this just doesn't work for me! I've tried the vinegar (I'd rather use it than fabric softener) several times, and it does leave my clothes soft, but they are so full of static I can't pull some of them apart! Any ideas on what to do about this? (01/06/2011)
skinnyjinny: I use about 1/2 cup of white vinegar per load. That translates to 1/4 pint. White vinegar is cheap here--1 gallon for under $2 equals roughly 4 liters for a pound. Hope that helps. (01/07/2011)
I use vinegar as a fabric softener! When I read this post, I had to put my two cents in. Yes, it DOES work! I've been using vinegar as a fabric softener ever since I read about it in a ladies' magazine. I was skeptical at first, but after trying it, I was hooked! And it DOES NOT leave a vinegary smell. Love it. (01/07/2011)
568ml of white vinegar costs 90p (cheapest) whereas I can get 1.5l of good quality concentrated fabric conditioner for £2 which covers 42 loads! (01/08/2011)
I not only use vinegar as a fabric softener, but as a laundry deodorizer as well. I measure 2-3 caps of white vinegar into my wash as it's filling, let it agitate a minute or so, and turn it off for 30-60 minutes. I add another 2-3 capfuls to the rinse, but don't stop the cycle then. My clothes are softer than with store-bought fabric softener without the gunk!
I've heard a softball-sized wad of aluminum foil in the dryer also works as a fabric softener, but haven't had the courage to try that. (01/10/2011)
I've been using vinegar as a fabric softener for a year or so. It doesn't work quite as well as the commercial stuff for removing static cling, but it's close, in the winter I occasionally have a load that tends to cling together, generally when there are nylons in it.
I bought a pair of those plastic, knobby "dryer balls" over a year ago, and I love them! They fluff up the laundry nicely without any chemical additives. I was afraid, when the first one came apart, that they only had a year of use in each pair. Now I realize, with both of them split, that I simply have four hemispheres instead of two balls. Works just as well, if not better, and it's a little quieter. (01/13/2011)
Sorry to be a spoilsport, maybe it's because I line dry in the sun and not in a dryer. The one time I used vinegar as a fabric softener, my clothes came out stinking something awful of vinegar and the smell stayed on them for days! Never again! (02/04/2011)
I have been using vinegar for years in my wash. I use vinegar for line drying and dryer drying and it works. I would not use anything else. (02/05/2011)
I'm so glad to hear that this tip works! I have read this before and been skeptical, but now I am going to try it! Also the dryer balls. I was skeptical about them too. I hope more people will try this and stop using commercial fabric softeners, both liquid and sheets, as they contain toxic chemicals. I sent in a post about that in November, people keep trying to find uses for used dryer sheets, when they should just throw them away and not use them at all.
Let's continue to spread the word about white vinegar! I'm willing to put up with a little static cling to have laundry free of toxic chemicals. I think static is more of a problem in dry conditions, and less where it's humid. My house gets dry in the winter, so I plug in a vaporizer from time to time to add a little humidity. If anyone has a tip for cutting down on static in the fresh laundry, though, please pass it along. (02/06/2011)
I add white vinegar to both the wash and rinse cycles. I generally stop the washer after it's agitated a minute and soak the load for up to an hour before continuing the cycle. White vinegar is a great odor-fighter as well as fabric softener. (02/06/2011)
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.
Using Vinegar as a Fabric Softener. I finally got around to trying white vinegar as a replacement for fabric softener. IT WORKS!