Using Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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


Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

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

Comment Was this helpful? 26


Read More Comments

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

Comment Was this helpful? 10
Read More Comments


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 18, 2012

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


January 19, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've used it for years without a problem, but then again about the only fabrics I use are cottons (most clothing and towels), polyester and cotton blends (bed linens), and acrylics (jumpers, sweaters, jerseys).

Your results may vary due to different fabrics.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 20, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi Stephanie, Susan from Queensland Australia here.
We have a cleaning guru here that recommends that when doing your washing you need to use 1/8 of the recommended powder (or liquid) suggested on the box, 2 tablespoons of bi-carbonate of soda ( I think you call it baking soda) broadcast over the load and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in the cup on top of the agitator. This produces the best wash and is also the method to use when washing new sheets, towel etc to get rid of the 'dressing' from the manufacturer (which is toxic).


Most Americans probably won't agree, but she hates and discourages the use of fabric softeners.That's what ruins your wash over time. Hope this helps and Cheers.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 23, 2011

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 Lois from Queensland, Australia


Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)


By OliveOyl

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By Judy = Oklahoma

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By OliveOyl

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)


By Linda

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By marion davidson

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By Lelia Jo Cordell

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By KS Granny

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By cettina

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By 1stborn

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By Pixiedust7

Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

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)

By Lelia Jo Cordell

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

February 3, 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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

January 6, 2011

Using Vinegar as a Fabric Softener. I finally got around to trying white vinegar as a replacement for fabric softener. IT WORKS!

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 5, 2006

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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

In This Page
Home and Garden Cleaning LaundryJune 20, 2016
Pest Control
Back to School Ideas!
Coronavirus Tips
Summer Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2020-07-23 15:36:34 in 2 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2020 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Add to PageAsk a Question