How to Make Homemade Fabric Softener

by Michael Nolan on 28 March 2012 · 19 comments

in DIY, Health & Home

I never expected my post on homemade laundry detergent to become one of the most visited pages on this site, but even a year and a half after I wrote it I am still getting feedback and questions.  That confirmed once and for all that I am not the only one looking for more natural solutions to things like laundry and household cleaners.

My Earth Garden: Laundry DayWhile we know how to clean laundry with a homemade and natural solution, and line drying our clothes is obviously more natural and less wasteful than using a clothes dryer, I had yet to tackle the realm of homemade fabric softeners. That changes today when we take a look at homemade fabric softener options.

There are two ways in which we use fabric softeners these days: in the washer and in the dryer. We’re going to take a look at homemade solutions for both.

Homemade Fabric Softener

Hair Conditioner

One of the frugal options I’ve seen for homemade fabric softener isn’t exactly homemade, but it will save you some money. Hair conditioner. Not the salon stuff, either. The big bottles are cheap and they work just as well as the more expensive fabric softeners.

Vinegar

Of course if you’re wanting to go more natural (like I do), you might try good ol’ white vinegar. A 1/4 cup in the rinse cycle will help to remove detergent residue and soften clothes at the same time.

Mix it Up

If you’re looking for something a bit more hands-on, give this a try:

  • 6 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 3 cups White Vinegar
  • Essential Oil (optional)
  1. Add water and baking soda to a large container and stir to mix.
  2. Slowly add the vinegar and allow the chemical reaction to do its thing.
  3. If you like, add a few drops of a favorite essential oil, but this isn’t necessary.

use 1/2 cup per wash load

Homemade Fabric Softener Sheets

My main complaints about dryer sheets are:

  1. They are made of polyester fibers or polyurethane foam, and that’s bad for the My Earth Garden: Laundry Dayenvironment.
  2. They are wasteful and though considered to be disposable, will remain unchanged in a landfill. And that’s bad for the environment.
  3. The ones that work aren’t cheap, and that’s bad for the wallet.

There are several options for homemade dryer sheets, including these:

Aluminum Foil

A ball of aluminum foil will eliminate static in the dryer as well as (and sometimes better than) commercial dryer sheets. What’s more, they are the ultimate thrifty, environmentally-friendly choice because not only do they last forever, when you do get rid of them, they can be recycled unlike dryer sheets.

Make Your Own Dryer Sheets

Instead of those plastic-infused dryer sheets, why not make your own? All you need is a washcloth or similar piece of soft cotton fabric and you’re on your way. Fill a spray bottle halfway with fabric softener or hair conditioner and then fill the rest of the way with water.  Spray this on your clean dryer cloth and toss it in the dryer with your next load.

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