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Can You Really Make Homemade Fabric Softener?

Updated on August 1, 2016
Three Simple Ingredients Are Needed To Make Homemade Fabric Softener!
Three Simple Ingredients Are Needed To Make Homemade Fabric Softener! | Source

Homemade Fabric Softener is Safer, Makes for Amazing Savings, and it is a Clothes Conditioner that does a Great Job


Homemade dryer sheets can be made by wetting a washcloth with a bit of liquid fabric softener and hanging to dry. They can even be stored several at a time for later use. There are many web sites with advice on various ways of doing so.

This hub, however, is about making homemade fabric softener for conditioning clothes, rather than about using store bought fabric softener to make your own dryer sheets.


Once you think it through, and take a close look at the cost comparison, it doesn't take long to see that the benefits of making fabric softener at home are significant.


So, if you've ever wondered if its truly possible or actually worth it, answer the question of whether you can really make homemade fabric softener and learn how to make a recipe in this hub!


Why Make Homemade Fabric Softener?

One main reason is that many of the fragrances used in products that we buy (perfumes, air fresheners, household cleaners, and soaps) can be quite toxic. You might like to check into info about this topic beginning with this site from the government, then at Global Campaign for Recognition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, along with a list of harmful ingredients that our personal care products can contain at this site.

After some research it made sense that using brand name dryer sheets to repel mosquitoes, wasps, and gnats really works. It also explained why some of my friends suffer so much when they go out in public. This is serious-for-health stuff and it is much more important than the savings I maintain from using a home made fabric softener. We all need to pay attention to these concerns and do what we can to avoid the risks.

All that aside, the savings can be tremendous. I don’t have an exact cost run down per load but I paid approximately $4.25 to make 3 gallons of this fabric softener. Nor do I have an estimate of how long a single batch of this lasts because laundry loads vary, but it will last me a very long time the way I use it. It is so inexpensive and long-lasting that it would be a waste of time to try to perfectly pin down those details.


No More Running Down To The Riverside To Do Laundry!
No More Running Down To The Riverside To Do Laundry! | Source

Fabric Softener in the News


Since posting my Homemade Laundry Detergent hub a news article about the EU fining major laundry detergent companies for price fixing caused me to expand my thinking about homemade household products.

The name brand companies charge an extreme price for their products. Think about it, everyone uses laundry detergent so why do they pay so much for advertising and then pass those costs on to us? Hmmm...

Another issue is that they use the money they make from my purchases to support causes that I do not personally want to support. The details about those causes are a completely different hub topic, but if for no other reason, this one would compel me to use my own laundry products rather than pay for theirs.

There are a lot of concerns about some of the objectives these companies have, but I’m in no mood nor do I have the time to search out the details and think them through well enough to do a report on them. The point of this hub is that there is a healthy recipe for homemade fabric softener that can be used in the manner that is most convenient for you, so here you go!


❃ You Will Need:

1 32-ounce bottle of white distilled vinegar

1 18 to 24-ounce bottle of inexpensive, clear or white (color/fragrance free) hair conditioner

2 gallons of distilled water, preferably with screw caps (reserve the empty containers)

1 squeaky clean 5-gallon bucket

1 squeaky clean 1-gallon container (for a total of 3 1-gallon containers after you use the distilled water)

A small-medium sized funnel

Can Laundry Product Scents Really be Toxic?

❃ Make Homemade Fabric Softener this Way:

Combine 1 gallon of water, the hair conditioner, and the distilled vinegar ingredients in the 5-gallon bucket and stir the daylights out of it for about 1 minute, then add the second gallon of water and stir again.

Stir that bucket until you’ve no doubt that the ingredients are amalgamated.

Let mixture sit for about 1/2 hour, or until you get back to it.

Give the mixture another good stirring and immediately pour it into the 3 1-gallon containers using the funnel, filling to about 3/4 full to leave room for shaking before each use.

Making homemade fabric softener is as easy as that!


❃ How to Use this Homemade Fabric Softener:

For regular use in the washer, start with 1/4 cup in your washer’s fabric softener dispenser for a large load, increasing amount if desired.

You could also soak dry wash cloths in the mixture, squeeze them out, then hang to dry for use as “dryer sheets.”

Keeping all of it in the 5-gallon bucket and dipping a dry wash cloth, squeezing it out, then tossing in the dryer with each dryer full of wet clothes is another way to use it, but you would have to stir it well each time.

As well, one half of a sponge (well rinsed when new) can be soaked in the mixture, squeezed out, then used in place of a dryer sheet. I'm not confident about this method and have not experimented with it, though others have used it.

However, I store it in the 3 1-gallon containers and dampen a dry wash cloth with this homemade fabric softener for each dryer load. I can keep the wash cloth from getting too wet for my lighter weight clothes and soak it more so it works well with my towels.


A Bit of Laundry History:

Working out how to use it for your laundry needs will settle the matter for you. Please note that my first batch of this fabric softener was strangely sudsy but because I use it on a wash cloth in the dryer like a dryer sheet I did not need to be concerned about my HE washer. You may have to experiment with different hair conditioners to get the recipe you want.

There are several recipes for making fabric softener that include essential oils. I have found this unnecessary because the vinegar leaves everything smelling fresh, but if I were to try essential oils in the dryer I would only use them on cottons as I would be hesitant to use them on silks or man-made fabrics.

If you try this recipe for homemade fabric softener I would love to know how you like it. If you write about using it let me know so I can have the chance to link your hub to this one. And remember, now you can smile when you do your laundry for you are not stuck with the brand name products!



Early Fabric Conditioners:

Home Laundry Beginnings:

❃ Join the Dialogue on Homemade Fabric Softener:

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    • RTalloni profile image
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      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      frogyfish:

      Thanks for this clarification. You are absolutely right about testing fine fabrics before using this or any product, home made or store bought!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      Clarification: I used nearly full-strength of an essential oil on that blouse. Your softener might not be damaging to silk, but perhaps should be tested cautiously prior to its use that way. It does sound enticing and certainly thrifty too.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      frogyfish:

      So sorry your blouse was ruined, but thanks for sharing that here to help people think through whether they want to risk adding the essential oils. Thanks kindly for your visit and feedback on this hub!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      I do not use any softeners because of chemical sensitivities you mentioned. Your tip about not using essential oils in the softener was a good one on the cautious side - because I ruined a silk blouse once with essential oils. Thank you very much for your recipe and tips shared! Enjoyed the first video too and appreciated recognition of the chemical toxins around. Will have to go visit her online. Great hub!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      rajan jolly:

      Thanks much for checking out this hub on making fabric softener and for all of your input on it!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Good to know the recipe for a fabric softener, though we don't use one at home. We air dry clothes.

      voted up, useful and interesting.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Victoria Lynn

      Thanks for letting me know you found this hub useful. Hanging clothes outdoors to dry is good green living!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Useful hub, voted up! I sometimes use fabric softener but sometimes don't. :-) I like hanging clothes outside, too, when the weather is warm. I live in town but have a nice clothesline that the previous owners (an old couple) left. I love it. Great hub. I love saving money and going "green" as much as possible.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      MargaritaEden:

      So glad this on homemade fabric softener was helpful to you. Thanks very much for letting me know!

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 5 years ago from Oregon

      Great recipe, looks simple, will definately try it, I am already making my own detergent, but was not making a softner. Thanks!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      angeladale2:

      Thanks kindly. I'm glad you were able to learn about making fabric softener here!

    • angeladale2 profile image

      Angela Dale 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Great Hub thanks for the info. I didn't know that you could do that.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      theresa22:

      So glad this was interesting to you. I hope it will be helpful as you attempt to make your own fabric softener. It would be great to hear how it works for you--thanks!

    • theresa22 profile image

      theresa22 5 years ago from Derby, uk

      As somebody with a high regard for self sufficiency and knowing what I am using, I found your article for homemade Fabric Softner very interesting. I will be attempting to make my own very soon and will let you know of the results.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      TheRightWord:

      Thanks for letting me know this homemade fabric softener will be helpful to you! You can carefully choose ingredients so that you know the finished product will not aggravate your allergies. How good is that?! :)

    • TheRightWord profile image

      TheRightWord 5 years ago from Sunny California

      So happy to see this recipe. Dryer sheets set off my allergies and I've been looking for an alternative.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      jpcmc:

      The programs to help people go into business making laundry products to sell must be a huge help to citizens there! I'm glad you are able to get the supplies at good prices.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      It's cheaper to buy stuff in bulk. There are some organizations in the Philippines who help out people who would like to go into business making and selling laundry products. We can get some supplies from them at a cheaper cost.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      creativelycc:

      So glad you found this helpful, thanks for letting me hear from you! Have you written about your hair products?

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 5 years ago from Maine

      Very good and interesting hub. I like making my own hair products, I'm sure I would love to make my own laundry products. I never thought about it before. Thank you for enlightening me on this subject!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      alocsin:

      Thanks kindly for your visit and vote.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What an interesting thing to try. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      justmesuzanne:

      I've been experimenting with how much vinegar I like in each kind of wash and hope to do an update hub on homemade products before too long. Life is full of interruptions or it would be done by now...

      Thanks so much for helpful input and the note on using it to knock wrinkles out of clothes!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Interesting info! Actually, the vinegar alone will act as a softener, but yours is fancier. You don't really have to hang the washcloths to dry to use them as dryer sheets, you can just dip a washcloth in a small basin of water and vinegar or water and fabric softener, wring it out and toss it in with your drying. It will just dry along with everything else. It's good to get a color you will remember so you don't fold it up and put it away; although, it probably wouldn't be the end of the world if you did. You can also do this with a washcloth if you have a garment that's wrinkly and you want to wear it. Just toss a washcloth soaked and wrung out as described into the dryer with it. It will come out wrinkleless and static free! :) Voted up and useful!

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      billips:

      So glad you found this helpful.

      Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed it! :)

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Wonderful idea - this is a really useful hub, the kind I enjoy - B.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Your vist and input are very much appreciated, Cloverleaf! Solutions to the cost and contents of fabric softener are available. I'm still planning to tweak my recipe, but time gets in the way of life sometimes. :)

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi rtalloni,

      This could be quite a money saver! I seem to spend an absolute fortune on fabric softener. I probably put too much in the dispenser, too, but the truth is that I love the way my clothes feel afterwards. I like the idea of making my own and saving some money. Dampening a washcloth with the solution is such a good suggestion.

      Voted up and oh so useful!

      Cloverleaf.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      I'm planning to tweak my laundry detergent recipe by the end of summer and post the new info on it, and am also hoping to research info on making homemade dish detergent. I believe there are some recipes for the dish detergent out there, but I want to explore options before I post a hub on it.

      Thanks bunches for stopping by and joining this conversation. :)

    • mkvealsh profile image

      mkvealsh 6 years ago

      I already do my own laundry detergent, so I am very happy to see these instructions for softener! Thanks so much. Now, if only I could find directions for homemade dish washing detergent.....

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      I'm glad you found this helpful, Bud Gallant. I'm continuing to research the best recipes for laundry care so you might like to check back by the end of the summer.

      Thanks kindly for stopping in and adding your comment.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      This is useful information! A big part of my life is a focus on health and wellness, so I really understand the value of avoiding harmful chemicals. This is a great, inexpensive way to replace a toxic product. Thank you.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad you enjoyed this info. I am planning to finish some new experiments soon. Stay tuned.... :)

      Appreciate your visit!

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      Very cool research here...I will have to give it a try and let you know. I am really impressed with this evergreen hub! :-)

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Yeah--it's not good news.

      I failed to answer your question regarding using my leftover dryer sheets in the attic. The kind I bought really do repel bugs--should have been a clue!

      Making your own fabric softener really isn't that time consuming. The recipe makes quite a bit more than you buy at the store so you don't make it as often as you buy it.

      Thanks much for being a part of this dialogue!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      Ewwww, I searched on "toxic dryer sheets" and I am done using these. Wow. Ewwww...I am so glad I found your Hub. I guess I will "suffer" and have stiff clothes until I figure out what to do.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      The box for the brand you are using should have a contact number and/or website on it. You could use that to ask for the names of the ingredients that they put in their dryer sheets. Then you could look up those names on the www. You might also try searching for article by typing in phrases such as "toxic dryer sheets" or "do dryer sheets cause health problems." You could check at a major health food store to see if they have any info on the topic.

      You are most welcome for feedback. I appreciate your visiting the hub.

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      How can I research the ingredients and how can dryer sheets help in the attic? Thanks for your feedback.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      I felt the same way about the ones I had in my laundry room when I first learned this news! I decided not to throw mine out, but to use them up in the attic where bugs and even squirrels have been known to spend their summers. (These Southern Appalachians are known for their unwelcome visitors.)

      I would definitely switch to unscented if I were going to continue using the store-bought dryer sheets, but I would also do some research about their ingredients before deciding on which brand of unscented I would use.

      Thanks much for stopping by and joining this dialogue!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      I used some scented dryer sheets this weekend and I am nervous now after reading your comment "One main reason is that many of the fragrances used in products that we buy (perfumes, air fresheners, household cleaners, and soaps) can be quite toxic" so I was wondering if I should throw them out, or switch to scent-free dryer sheets. I do not have time to make them at home, and like the convenience of buying them on sale.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks kindly, MBD. Appreciate that you stopped by with your comment.

      I imagine that the scent-free dryer sheets would be better than the ones with scent, but I have not researched every aspect of using them. I have only been studying the issues related to scented products and the cost of buying products verses making them at home--something I had not considered the possibilities of doing until recently. Good question for me to try to find info on, though. Thanks!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      Nice Hub - do you think scent-free dryer sheets are okay?

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      You are welcome! So glad it was helpful to you. I'm researching a new idea... :)

      Thanks much for coming by and for your comments.

    • anidae profile image

      Anita Adams 6 years ago from Tennessee

      I cannot wait to buy the ingredients and make this fabric softner. Thanks for the formula. I voted up and gave you an awesome.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoy reading others work and working to refine mine.

      Am so glad that you found the hub helpful. I'm continue to research and work out my favorite recipe for products. Will hopefully be hubbing about the topic again soon.

      So appreciate that you stopped by with your input. Hope you can let us know how it goes for you. If you write a hub about your experience with homemade products, please let me know so I can link it to this one.

    • profile image

      kims3003 6 years ago

      This is a fabulous hub!! A few weeks ago my daughter and I firmly decided that we are going to begin replacing our laundry soap, clothes softener, shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products, etc. with natural ones that do not have all of these perfumes, dangerous ingredients, and so forth.

      We also talked about how it would be really nice if we could replace many of these items with one's we make ourselves. Since then we have both been researching material and doing quite a bit of reading to try and figure out how to make some of them. Your hub was just what we were looking for. You have such a pleasant writing style. I don't believe I have come across anyone with such a wonderful style of writing as you have - in a very long time.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      I wish I could claim it as "my" idea, but I'm sure glad I came across it. Still working on "my" perfect recipe, though, so stay tuned. :)

      Thanks bunches for stopping in!

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      What a brilliant idea - my goodness and the savings must be great! Cheers.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks kindly for stopping by!

      I do not have any experience with the downy ball and this fabric softener. While other websites say that you can use the downy ball, my best recommendation is to dampen a clean washcloth with this fabric softener and use it in your dryer.

      If you use it in the downy ball I would love to hear from you again. Let us know how it works out.

      Appreciate your comments very much!

    • Str8up Hookups profile image

      Str8up Hookups 6 years ago

      Great hub,full of info!

      Question~Do you think I can use this recipe in my downy ball,it opens and release the fabric softner in spin cycle in washer?

      I'm want to try this.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      This making home made products is all new to me, too, but I'm having fun researching and experimenting. Eventually I'll be able to post which are my favorite recipes, but it is taking time to "get there." This recipe make 3 gallons so it will be a while before I can try my next fabric softener recipe, even with giving some to friends as part of my experimentation!

      Thanks much for stopping in and for commenting. Always nice to hear from you!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I had never considered making homemade fabric softener but it doesn't sound too difficult and you could make a good supply so it would last. This is a very useful hub.

    • RTalloni profile image
      Author

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks, H.

      It's wonderful that you are in a place where you can hang clothes in fresh air!!! Got any property for sale near you?

      I'm still working on recipes for homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener, and I hope to post more yet. It just takes a while to develop them, test them, and use it up so I can start over. Anyway, stay tuned. :)

      Thanks much for stopping by!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is a great and informative Hub. I have gotten past the need for fabric softenenr myself. If my child were tiny, I might use one but after smelling fresh clothing that dried in the sun and wind, I just want natural. Thanks for the instructions. I will pass them along to anyone interested.