The two main reasons why you might want to make your own fabric softener is either because you want to save money, or you want to decrease the amount of chemicals being used around the house. My reasoning is the latter so a few months ago I went in search of a homemade fabric softener recipe. I was pleasantly surprised by how many resources exist for this, so I decided to turn this post into a brief link roundup and offer some personal reviews on what I’ve been trying.
The recipe I most like is simply vinegar and essential oil. I use about 1/4 cup of vinegar and 4 drops of essential oil per load. This leaves the clothes softer and with fewer wrinkles, plus I’ve been using eucalyptus essential oil which leaves the clothes smelling like a spa! I began using this recipe in mid-February so I can even say I’ve put it to the test of dry winter air. Oh and no worries about your clothes smelling like vinegar because when dry, vinegar doesn’t have a scent and on the occasion when I did without the essential oil, I couldn’t smell the vinegar while the clothes were even still wet.
The other recipe I tried was a vinegar-water-conditioner recipe. This is definitely cheaper than any other fabric softener I’ve found in the store, however the price point can change quickly depending on which conditioner you use, so I went out and bought a bottle of Suave with a nice scent. Again no static cling and decreased wrinkling/stiffness, but something to keep in mind here is that this recipe doesn’t decrease the amount of chemicals you’re using. Although you’re mixing this recipe yourself and it calls for just vinegar, water and conditioner, keep in mind that conditioner has at least 20 ingredients.
Also something to keep in mind when washing towels and athletic apparel: fabric softener works by coating the fibers in your fabric, thus decreasing the absorbency of the material.
All of that being said, I highly recommend the vinegar-essential oil recipe for the most chemically-simple, cost-effective mode of liquid fabric softener.
Now for getting your laundry dry!
I hang most of the clothes on a drying rack all throughout the year to save energy and money, but I do throw bath towels and bed sheets into the dryer simply because it’s a bit difficult to hang such large items inside the apartment. So since I’ve ruled out the use of fabric softener sheets, I now use laundry dryer balls to help fluff the load and keep things from getting stiff. I’ve also heard that tennis balls work just as well, though this is not something I’ve tried myself.
These are the recipes I followed – the ones detailed above are from options one and two.
Now while we’re on the topic of laundry, I can’t help but bring up Seinfeld’s advice as well…