DIY Fabric Softener

Fabric softener is meant to make your laundry soft, and it usually smells good too. This is usually done at the cost of putting chemicals on your clothes, not to mention the actual money out of pocket for a pre-packaged item. Fortunately, making your own fabric softener is not only dirt cheap, it's also easy, safe, and completely green. You will need:

3 c. distilled white vinegar
15-20 drops essential oil
¼ c. rubbing alcohol
2 TBS. dried herbs (optional)


Pour the vinegar in a quart-size mason jar, followed by the essential oil, and then the rubbing alcohol to emulsify. I use lavender essential oil, because it's calming and soothing and I love the scent. Lavender oil is antibacterial - so is orange, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree. I also add a few dried lavender buds, but this is just to infuse a little more goodness, so it's completely unnecessary! It also looks pretty if you're giving it as a gift.
 
Did you know vinegar not only softens laundry, it removes soap residue from your clothes, eliminates static cling, and makes towels more absorbant? Vinegar is also perfect to use if you have hard water (85% of America does) because it will soften it.
 
Just throw in half a capful (mason jar lid) in the fabric softener or rinse compartment, and fill it up the rest of the way with water. It cost about $1.50 to make the entire jar - for me that averages out to about 5¢ per load! You probably already have all the ingredients on hand, so make your next go green step this fabric softener!
 
 

32 comments:

  1. Where you're measuring in 'capfuls' is that 3 of the caps on the essential oils?? (do you have a tsp/Tbl measurement as mine has a dropper in it, so don't know how accurate that would make it. And putting in a 1/2 capful of the softener into each load, is that the mason jar capful??

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  2. Jeannette, I just updated my post to clarify. I hope that helps.

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  3. I use vinegar as a fabric softener too! I love the idea of adding essential oils to make it smell better. Can you smell the essential oils on the clothes after they are dry? Or do you put them in there to have a nice smell while the laundry is being washed?

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  4. I think my clean laundry smells good. Any antibacterial essential oils also serve to kill bacteria.

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  5. I've been using vinegar for quite a while now, but never heard of adding rubbing alcohol. What does the alcohol add for benefit?

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  6. The alcohol is an emulsifier, otherwise the essential oil and vinegar will separate.

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  7. has anyone used this in a HE washer? any problems?

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  8. Great post Christina. Do you have a DIY detergent at all, or do you have any plans to make a post on this?

    Keep up the great work!

    Ben.

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  9. Hi Ben,

    I don't have a DIY detergent - I use soap nuts. They are very economical, green, and they work, so I excused myself from making my own detergent. :)

    This is where I buy my soap nuts from: http://www.naturoli.com/soapnuts/
    They have lots of great information if you've never heard of soap nuts before!

    Cristina

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  10. Oh brilliant, thankyou :) I was just about to go and Google soap nuts.
    Thanks for the link.
    I'm in the UK, do you know if they mail order out here?

    Ben.

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  11. Ben,

    It looks like NaturOli does ship to the UK, if I'm reading it right. Shipping might be more expensive. You might Google to see if there are any other companies based in the UK that you could order from. Good luck!

    Cristina

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  12. I should think there are. I'll have a look.

    Thanks for the info :)

    Ben.

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  13. This is a great DIY fabric softener! I'd love it if you linked up your post at my new sustainable living link-up, Small Footprint Fridays!

    http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/small-footprint-friday-sustainable-living-linkup-100512

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  14. Great Post! I am going to try this! New follower from Frugal Days. I would love for you to come share at my Farm Girl Blog Fest: http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/2012/10/farm-girl-blog-fest-6.html

    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily

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  15. Hello! I’m stopping in to invite you to join us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/11/clever-chicks-blog-hop-7-country-craft.html

    I hope to see you there!
    Cheers!
    Kathy
    The Chicken Chick

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  16. I love DIY items that I will no longer have to purchase! Please share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions http://myculturedpalate.com/

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  17. Any suggestions for hard water users? Vinegar in our well water is the absolute worst! I will definitely share this with my normal watered friends!

    http://loveletters710.com

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  18. Thank you for linking up with the Clever Chicks this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  19. Is it possible for you to measure out what 'half a mason jar capful' would be in tablespoons?

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  20. So did anyone try this in a HE washer yet?

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  21. I did this yesterday and my clothes have a nice pleasant smell, but there was lots of static. Should I put more of the solution in the washer?

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  22. @Holli, Yes, try adding a little more to the washer. I've not ever had a problem with static since I started using this.

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  23. i don't have a fabric softener compartment, is it safe to pour into the drum?

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  24. @JessieMc, Yes, you can pour it into the washing machine, preferably before you put the clothes in.

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  25. I've seen a couple recipes online for DIY detergent, and the one from "My healthy green family" showed that the DIY borax-free laundry cleaner washed better than soap nuts. And it's cheaper - just food for thought.

    In regards to this recipe - I am going to make this ASAP since I am almost out of fabric softener. I was wondering if you had any recommendations of other essential oils that are safe to use besides lavender, since my hubby doesn't like that smell? Thanks in advance!

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  26. @The future Dr. Chris, Soap nuts are still incredibly cheap. Plus, it's one less thing I have to make.
    All essential oils are safe for topical use (which includes the washing machine), it just depends on what scents you like. Tea tree oil, orange, and peppermint are all popular.

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  27. Sandalwood, Bergamot and Ylang ylang essential oils smell delicious in laundry, too- Rose and Jasmine are great as well. The fun thing with using essential oils is you get to create whatever smell/ energy you want!
    (Shake up your alcohol and EO vigorously until they are fully blended before you add it to the vinegar- I have an easier time mixing the vinegar effectively that way!)

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  28. Does the vinegar produce corrosion of seals and hoses in washing machines?
    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/laundry/msg021742369440.html

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  29. Is it suppose to be cloudy, before the lavender buds, after mixing it all together? Mine is clear as can be?

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  30. Can I put this in a Downy fabric softener ball? I don't have a compartment in my washer.

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  31. i just came across this.. sounds wonderful as i have never been able to use fabric softener, i have sensitive skin and whatever is in it makes me itch like crazy, i was wondering though if i could substitute witchhazel for the rubbing alcohol.

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