Make Your Own Fabric Softener


Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem.Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.
-Jerry Seinfeld
It’s really simple to make your own fabric softener.
I’ve been making my own laundry soap for several years now and we LOVE IT!
Doing it myself it’s enabled me to cut our budget of $60+ per month on laundry related items to about $25 PER YEAR plus I can make it custom scented and I know that our clothing is not being washed in unnecessary chemicals!
Yes, you read that right.
That’s doing the wash for 6 people and many animals!
I was so excited about my DIY Laundry Soap, I immediately jumped right into making my own Fabric Softener too.
I totally failed.
I tried another recipe.
It too failed.
It was not at all what I was looking for.
Meg was not pleased. 🙁
I dug further and uncovered a landslide of recipes.
Each a little different, all claiming wonderfulness and I was still woefully not finding anything that fit my bill.
Sadly I schlepped to the store for another year to purchase my Downy Fabric Softener with my pathetic low value coupons that they issue.
The people at Downy know they have us by the nose and don’t need to issue wicked coupons to stoke their customers because we’ll all purchase it anyway. BOO! Habit made me pay too much for too long.
I’ll show Downy!
To the phone!
I called my favorite natural mama friend and asked her to spill the beans on her softener.
She asked me how many recipes I’d tried already.
She confessed to going through 13 before coming across this recipe.
Thanks be to her for the easier way of only 4 attemps before running crying for help.
5 minutes and you’re softener is ready!
Grab an old large pitcher, bowl or pot.
A pitcher just makes it easier to transfer to the container you’ll store it in and dispense it from.
In your pitcher add:
2 Cups of Hair Conditioner
One large bottle should be enough. We’re talking the cheap stuff from the .99 Cent Only Store/Dollar Tree/Dollar General unless you want to bust the budget and bust out the good stuff. I often get my conditioner for free using coupons. This is all about being cheap so don’t let the wheels come off the cart with this step. Say it with me… Suave and White Rain are my friends.
I rather like the Coconut flavor at the moment. 🙂  I avoid the bright and darker colored conditioners. I can’t say that using a red or blue conditioner will effect your clothes as I have no experience with this but what I do works for me so I’m not going to risk it.
3 Cups WHITE Vinegar (Don’t substitute another type of vinegar here)
Last spring I was able to stock up on vinegar using coupons, each bottle was .02 cents. This makes my fabric softener EXTRA cheap to make. Even if you went to the store, a large bottle of white vinegar should not cost you more than $2.50 here in California.
Don’t worry… I PROMISE your clothes will not come out smelling of vinegar.
Vinegar is also a natural whiting agent and odor eliminator as well.
Wow, arn’t you just a smarty using a natural secret weapon to secretly Kung Fu the laundry into the cleanest it’s ever been!
6 Cups of Hot Water
You may also add essential oils if you choose to scent the fabric softener further but so far I’m enjoying the light fresh scent that comes with my conditioner choice.
Mix well.
You, my friend, are ready to do some wash!
I use my handy dandy leftover fabric softener container from way back when I was paying a small fortune to Proctor and Gamble each month.
I grabbed a funnel to make the transfer easy.
Pour the contents of the pitcher into the leftover container.
I like to shake before using. I don’t know that it’s a critical step but that’s just how I roll- if it’s not broke, don’t go trying to mess it up.
Use the same amount as you normally would of the old store bought kind.
It’s ready to be used right away!
It’s contains vinegar. When you mix Vinegar + Bleach= Toxic Chlorine Gas
Well, unless you really want to wage chemical warfare on yourself.
“What did you do today Honey?”
“Oh, I made mustard gas in the washing machine and almost killed us.”
“Good Times!”
(If you mixed them already… open all doors, windows, turn on all available fans and remove yourself, children and pets away from the fumes)
I did this once cleaning a toilet by accident and it was AWFUL!
It’s as simple as that!
That’s all it takes to make your own Fabric Softener.
5 minutes, $2 or less and you have 10+ Cups of Fantastic Fabric Softener!
It’s worth the $2 plunked down in the name of taking freaky leaps into super savings, right?
Once you try it, you’ll break up with Downy too.
This is another Do-It-Yourself Leap that I am thrilled I took!
Now only if I could come up with a way to make the laundry do it’s self.
Until then… an extra 5 minutes now and then will add up to major savings in the end!
Happy Washing!
wishing the laundry fairy would visit,

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    • Lynden on October 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Hello, Dolly! I look forward to trying this after my next $$ Store trip! Also want to try the Laundry Soap – Love your humorous posts! Hugggzzz –

    • Bridget on January 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I wonder…what if you did a load with bleach, then after the full cycle, you run the rinse cycle again, and add the fabric softener at that time? Won’t the bleach from the wash be rinsed out by the previous run?

    • Bridget on January 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I’m trying it with my blanket load right now.. LOL shouldn’t be any problems. (Famous last words?) 😉

    • Bridget on January 3, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Oh one last thing, I added 15-20 (I did 20) drops of Orange essential oil. OMG, smells SOOOO good! Should be an uplifting and rejuvenating scent which is what we need when we get dressed and ready for wherever we are going, right? =) Rinse cycle is in progress, can’t wait to smell the blanket and clothes when they come out of the dryer.

      • Austinmom on January 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

      So, what’s the verdict? Did it work?
      I would love to use this recipe with organic conditioner.
      The Mrs. Meyers’ stuff is super expensive! =P

        • Meg on January 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

        A friend makes it with I believe a citrus conditioner from Trader Joe’s that’s organic and she raves about the scent. I haven’t tried it yet with a natural brand myself but I don’t see why most wouldn’t work exactly the same way. 🙂

    • Patty on February 1, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Just mixed my softener up using this recipe. Very easy and I will write a blog post about it soon. I’ll pop back and let you know how happy I am when the laundry is dry!

      • Meg on February 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

      Great! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

    • Andrea Root on February 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I love making home made things but can you use this in he washers. I want to make sure it will to clog up washer it’s front loader.Andrea

      • Meg on February 14, 2013 at 11:11 am

      I use it in my HE Front Loader and in our pain old standard washer as well. I haven’t had a problem with it in the last 4 years but I do also run a rinse through the washer every so often just to avoid any build up from fabric softeners or laundry soap any way. 🙂

    • Andrea Root on February 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Will this work with front load washers. I do not want it to clog up washer. He washer. .

    • Patty on March 16, 2013 at 3:52 am

    I love this recipe and have just used up batch number one. Onto batch number two! I use it in my front load, HE washer and it is amazing. I am thrilled to not be buying the Bounce dryer bars anymore (supposed to last four months and lasted one in my house of five). I really don’t like the dryer sheets either, don’t like the extra garbage. You are a genius!

    • Amy on June 5, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Question! I made this fabric softener and it works fine on my clothes on the line and my clothes that go through the dryer. But with my towels that go on the line with this they come out like cardboard. I love the concept of making my own. What is the softening agent that I could add to get my towels really soft on the line.

      • Meg on June 5, 2013 at 9:44 am

      I don’t line dry so I’m not 100% how to solve the problem. I sent off an email to a girlfriend that may have the answer… I’ll keep you posted . 🙂

    • Nicole on June 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I don’t normally use fabric softener because of the way it gunks up my machine. I would like to try this, but how much do you add?

    • Jasmine on July 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Love it!! I’ll be re-posting this on my blog and of course giving you credit!

    • Renee Rivas on July 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Worried about the vonegar smell lol but I’m about to dry my towels, so lets see if ths worked 🙂

    • Em on September 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the great post!

    One correction – I’m not sure if anyone else mentioned this or not, so here goes:
    Mixing bleach and vinegar is not toxic.
    Mixing bleach with AMMONIA is toxic.
    The combination will release chlorine gas, not mustard gas 🙂
    Hope this helped!

    • cindy on September 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    how much do you use per load?!

      • Meg on September 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

      I use the cap of my old bottle to measure.
      I suppose I use about 1/4 cup in each load of wash.

    • Tomiekia on January 23, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I tried the recipe added Tangerine Essential oil, I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

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