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6 DIY Fabric Softener Recipes

  • 10 min read


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Why spend extra money on store-bought fabric softeners filled with chemicals and artificial fragrances? There’s a better way to achieve soft, fresh-smelling laundry without breaking the bank or harming the environment. Introducing DIY fabric softener: simple, cost-effective, non-toxic and eco-friendly alternatives that are gentle on your clothes and your family’s skin. Here are six easy recipes to help you make your own DIY fabric softener at home, so you can enjoy the benefits of soft and fragrant clothes without the drawbacks of commercial products.

Key Takeaways

  • DIY fabric softener is a healthier, more cost-effective way to soften clothes and reduce static cling.

  • Make your own DIY dryer sheets for an eco-friendly solution with amazing scent!

  • Wool dryer balls are luxurious and chemical free, add essential oils for a natural fresh smell.

Why Make Your Own Fabric Softener?

A woman pouring homemade fabric softener into her washer

There are compelling reasons to consider making your own diy fabric softener. With their eco-friendly, cost-effective nature and lack of harmful chemicals, homemade fabric softeners represent a healthier choice for both your family and the environment when compared to store bought fabric softeners.

The cost-effectiveness of homemade liquid fabric softeners is undeniable, ringing in at only about $0.03-$0.05 per load, a figure substantially lower than store-bought alternatives. Adding to the appeal, our homemade fabric softener recipe garners an impressive 8 on the softness scale, guaranteeing soft, comfortable-to-wear clothes.

Rest assured, our homemade fabric softener exudes a light, yet discernible aroma that nicely complements your homemade laundry detergent.

Environmental Benefits

The positive environmental impact is a significant advantage of using homemade fabric softeners. Crafting your own fabric softener substantially reduces plastic waste from disposable commercial fabric softener bottles.

Additionally, the use of natural ingredients in homemade fabric softeners helps you avoid artificial fragrances and chemicals potentially harmful to both the environment and your health.

Health Benefits

Beyond their eco-friendly credentials, DIY fabric softeners present numerous health benefits, positioning them as a safer option for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies. Commercial fabric softeners contain cationic surfactants and emollients, which may cause allergies or skin irritations in some individuals.

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In contrast, homemade fabric softeners, devoid of toxic chemicals, ensure soft, comfortable clothes without potential side effects. Thus, if you or a family member has sensitive skin, creating your own fabric softener is an effective strategy to maintain comfort and avoid irritation.

Vinegar-Based Fabric Softener

A woman adding essential oils to a container of vinegar-based fabric softener

Vinegar-based fabric softeners are a simple and effective option that uses white vinegar to remove detergent residue and soften clothes. The mild acetic acid in vinegar helps break down the detergent and soil residue left in fabrics after the wash cycle, giving your clothes a softer feel.

Creating this homemade fabric softener is as simple as mixing white vinegar with hot water and, for a pleasant fragrance, adding some optional essential oils. This recipe can also help reduce static cling in your laundry, making it a great addition to your laundry routine.

Adding Essential Oils

Adding essential oils to your vinegar-based fabric softener not only provides a pleasant scent, but also does so without the use of artificial fragrances. Some excellent options for fabric softeners are:

  • Lavender

  • Lemon

  • Orange

  • Lemongrass

  • Eucalyptus

These essential oils offer various aromas to suit your preferences.

Bear in mind, though, that essential oils remain optional in this recipe, and the vinegar-based fabric softener’s softening effects can still be enjoyed without them.

Hair Conditioner Fabric Softener

A woman pouring hair conditioner into her hand

Another easy and affordable way to make your own fabric softener is by using hair conditioner, water, and vinegar. Hair conditioner fabric softeners work by combining the softening properties of hair conditioner with the residue-removing power of vinegar, resulting in a cost-effective and fragrant solution for softening your clothes.

Crafting this homemade fabric softener involves a straightforward mix of 6 parts water, 3 parts white vinegar, and 2 parts inexpensive hair conditioner. You can then add this mixture to the final rinse cycle or fill the softener dispenser in your washing machine.

Choosing the Right Conditioner

Selecting the appropriate conditioner is vital when creating a hair conditioner fabric softener to attain optimal results. Opt for a low-priced, dye-free conditioner that won’t break the bank or cause any unwanted reactions on your clothes or skin.

Suitable conditioners are readily available at local dollar stores or discount retailers, facilitating the creation of a cost-effective and efficient homemade fabric softener without resorting to expensive conditioners.

DIY Dryer Sheets

A woman using DIY dryer sheets

DIY dryer sheets are another fantastic alternative to commercial fabric softeners, offering a reusable and eco-friendly solution for soft and fragrant laundry. Made from old cotton fabric, vinegar, and essential oils, these homemade dryer sheets can be used multiple times, reducing waste and saving you money in the long run.

Creating DIY dryer sheets is as easy as cutting old cotton fabric into rectangles, immersing them in a vinegar and essential oils mixture, and allowing them to dry before use.

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Usage Instructions

Utilizing DIY dryer sheets is straightforward.

  1. Position one in the dryer alongside your clothes.

  2. Set the dryer to medium heat.

  3. The dryer sheet will release a gentle coating on the fibers of your clothes as they tumble, leaving them soft and lightly fragranced without the need for any harsh chemicals or artificial scents.

DIY dryer sheets enable you to reap the benefits of commercial fabric softeners without the drawbacks, making them an ideal choice for eco-conscious households.

Wool Dryer Balls for Softening Clothes

A picture of wool dryer balls made at home, a natural alternative to diy fabric softener for softening clothes

Wool dryer balls are an innovative and eco-friendly option for softening your clothes and reducing drying time without the use of chemicals. Made from old wool sweaters or yarn, these dryer balls work by tumbling with your laundry in the dryer, softening the fabric and reducing wrinkles and static.

Not only are wool dryer balls an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fabric softeners, but they are also made from 100% premium New Zealand wool, adding a touch of luxury to your laundry routine.

Making Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

The process of crafting your own wool dryer balls is both straightforward and gratifying. All you need is some wool yarn or roving, scissors, and either pants or socks. Wind the yarn into a ball shape, cut and tuck the loose end, and repeat this process for multiple balls.

Once you have your wool balls formed, follow these steps to prepare them for use:

  1. Place them in a pair of pantyhose or a sock.

  2. Secure the ends of the pantyhose or sock to keep the wool balls in place.

  3. Wash and dry them with your regular laundry to felt and shrink the wool.

  4. Once they are dry, your homemade wool dryer balls are now ready to use!

Using Essential Oils with Wool Dryer Balls

A dryer after adding essential oils to wool dryer balls

For a dash of natural fragrance, consider adding a few drops of essential oil to your wool dryer balls prior to use. Essential oils such as:

  • rosemary

  • pine

  • cedarwood

  • jasmine

  • lemongrass

  • lavender

Work well with wool dryer balls, allowing you to customize the scent of your laundry without resorting to artificial fragrances.

Just infuse the dryer balls with your preferred oils and relish the fresh, natural aroma they imbue to your clothes.

Epsom Salt Fabric Softener Crystals

Epsom salt fabric softener crystals are another homemade solution for softening your clothes and providing a subtle scent during the washing process. Made from a combination of Epsom salt and essential oil, these crystals can be added to the washer drum before you toss in your clothes, providing a gentle softening effect without the need for liquid fabric softener.

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Plus, Epsom salt is not only an effective softening agent, but it’s also beneficial for plants and vegetation, making it an eco-friendly choice for your laundry routine.

How to Use

Epsom salt fabric softener crystals into a bowl

The use of Epsom salt fabric softener crystals is both straightforward and hassle-free. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Mix together 2 cups of Epsom salts and 40 drops of your favorite essential oils in a jar.

  2. Add the desired amount of crystals to the washer drum before adding your clothes.

  3. Run the wash cycle as usual.

  4. The crystals will work their magic during the wash cycle, leaving your clothes feeling softer and smelling fresher without the need for additional fabric softeners or dryer sheets.

Epsom salt fabric softener crystals allow you to indulge in soft, fragrant laundry without additional chemicals or dealing with excess liquid.

Final Thoughts

Homemade fabric softeners offer a wide range of benefits, from cost savings and eco-friendliness to health advantages for those with sensitive skin or allergies. With six easy recipes to choose from – including vinegar-based fabric softeners, hair conditioner fabric softeners, DIY dryer sheets, wool dryer balls, and Epsom salt fabric softener crystals – there’s a DIY solution to suit every household’s needs and preferences. By making the switch to homemade fabric softeners, you’ll not only save money and reduce your environmental impact, but also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you’re making a healthier choice for your family and the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make homemade fabric softener?

To make homemade fabric softener, mix 2 cups of epsom salts, 1/2 cup of baking soda, and 40 drops of your favorite essential oils (eg. 20 drops of rosemary and 20 of lemon) in a mason jar.

Then add 2-3 tablespoons to the rinse cycle.

What is a homemade substitute for fabric softener?

For a natural, homemade fabric softener, try vinegar or baking soda. Vinegar can be added to your washer’s fabric softener dispenser or directly to the final rinse cycle, while baking soda works by regulating the pH level and should be added half a cup to a cup to the wash cycle.

Adding vinegar or baking soda to your laundry routine can help keep your clothes soft and smelling fresh. It’s an easy and affordable way to make sure your clothes stay in the right place.

Do homemade fabric softeners work?

Yes, homemade fabric softeners do work; while the results might not be as soft as with commercial conditioners, they are better than nothing.

Is fabric softener better than vinegar?

Vinegar can be just as effective at softening fabrics as fabric softener, and it does so without the use of harsh chemicals.

It also helps reduce static buildup, making it an ideal alternative to fabric softener.

Can I use any type of vinegar for my homemade fabric softener?

White vinegar is the best option for making homemade fabric softener, so it’s recommended to use that for optimal results.


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