Homemade Fabric Softener!

Homemade Fabric Softener from TheFrugalGirls.com

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You may already be making Homemade Laundry Detergent and other DIY Cleaners… but if you’ve been wanting to cut costs on Fabric Softener… you’re going to love this Homemade Fabric Softener!

What You’ll Need:

What You’ll Do:

  • Mix conditioner & hot water well, until conditioner is dissolved completely.
  • Add the vinegar, and mix well.
  • Store in a large container {empty fabric softener container, empty large vinegar bottle, etc}
  • Pour into a downy ball… or use approx. 2 tbsp. in the fabric softener spot in your laundry machine… then wash!

Thanks to frugal friend Holly for sharing this great recipe on The Frugal Girls Facebook page!  Thanks for supporting The Frugal Girls!

I’ve been using it for awhile now, and absolutely love it!!

Got a Thrifty Tip or Favorite Homemade Cleaner Recipe??

Leave a comment & share!

See Also:
Homemade Cleaners

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  1. Julie says

    Wow, a whole new way to use those free bottles of shampoo! It’s relatively easy to match up great coupons and drug store deals to get them for free, I’ll have to start watching for more now. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joan Gilland says

      I am so glad I found this site. As a senior who is a new widow,my finances can’t get much worse,so thanks so much!!!

      • Jen says

        Hi Joan, isn’t it a blessing to find resources such as these? So thankful for people who share knowledge such as this to others. Have a great Sunday :)

  2. Crystal D says

    Hmm. This doesn’t have any issues with the dye from the conditioner? Does the laundry retain the scent? How is it on controlling the static? What a fabulous idea! I’m tired of spending almost $7 on a bottle of fabric softener every 2 weeks.

    • Cristie Van Gorden says

      It works great, no dye issues at all. I think it smells less strong than the store brand, but it also makes me wonder what chemical they put int theirs to retain the smell…and it’s great to eliminate static. Overall, I love this stuff and I used to spend a ton on Snuggle fabric softener but no more! 😀

      • Nichole says

        I absolutely love the fabric softener. I am not sure what it is with my water that gives my clothes a dingy smell, but the vinegar takes the smell out and the conditioner gives it a nice, light scent.

        • Sharen Lyttle says

          I recently used AFFRESH tabs in my washing machine. It removes all of the mold build up in the machine and it makes your machine smell wonderful! I bought mine at Menard’s, similar to Home Depot or Lowes. If you google AFFRESH it will give you a list of the stores in your zip code that sell it. Hope this helps!

          • Alleen says

            I HATE my front-loading washer! I will never buy another one. It’s hard to clean, gets white spots on my dark clothes, and spots on my white ones, and I don’t think the clothes are as clean as they were in my old washer.

        • Barbara says

          Nichole, could the smell be coming from your washer itself? I would do an empty wash with vinegar.. to freshen up the insides of your washing machine…

        • Kim Ridgway says

          On the washer smell. We have a HE one and we had to take the back off and clean it out. Washed a stuffed animal…yeah, not pretty. When we took the hose out of the back and the a plug..OMYWORD the plug and hose..ACHACH was so full of stuff, hair, lint, dog hair. We decided we need to clean that out about 1 every year or maybe 6 months. We have indoor dogs too so their hair was a big part of it. Just an idea if your clothes smell dingy.

        • Susan says

          I have an he washer and I found that I was using way too much detergent. That caused my clothes to smell funny. Because the washer doesn’t use a lot of water so if you use too much detergent it builds up in the clothes. And also I read in the instructions that you have to run a cleaning cycle on it, on a regular basis. Some people use just vinegar, some use cleaning tabs from the store, but if you don’t do it, your clothes will smell bad after a while.

      • ~Julie says

        A more expensive brand of conditioner may retain scent longer??? And it still wouldn’t be as expensive as having to buy actual softener. I can’t wait to try this!

        • Yvonne says

          I use Herbal Essence the Featherweight (it’s clearenced @Rite Aid all time & get it for $1.39 after q)& it smells amazing plus lasts a long time. Also, you can use this is HE washers. My receipe before said you can wet a soft rag with this & put in for a dryer sheet, then just reuse. I didn’t like that as well. Also, VO5 works ok & any expensive brand works even better! (I’d some that I didn’t like for my hair & used it up this way! :)

          • jennifer says

            i heard you spray a piece of flannel until its almost ready to drip and put it in the dryer for a dryer sheet

    • Maddie says

      I actually buy a bottle of Purex laundry crystals. It’s about $6 a large bottle. I make my own laundry detergent, but I use it as powder, not liquid. I add one cup per recipe (I will often triple the recipe). Using the Purex does increase the cost of the laundry detergent a bit, but I like that even using just 1.5 tablespoons of detergent per wash that my clothes retain that “laundry” smell we have come to love and adore. I’m considering dissolving some crystals into the hot water when I finally get around to making the softener and hoping that it will boost the smell up some.

      Also, I don’t know how much laundry you do, but I buy a four month Bounce bar for my dryer and it lasts closer to six months. Last year I had to buy just two of them. I find that using the bar really controls the static and my clothes get a small boost of fragrance from the bar.

          • Michelle says

            Multiple tennis balls in the dryer with a down comforter works great!! Fluffs it up very nicely!!!

        • amanda says

          Putting a tennis ball in a dryer with pillows will make them not bunch up! Having 6 kids and 4 pets, you can assume I have to wash pillows frequently! Tennis balls are a money saver in my house!

      • Heather says

        The only issue with a bounce bar (although totally effective) leaves a white residue on darker clothes for many washes and is hard to get out.

      • Leane Hix says

        I would LOVE to have the recipe you are referring to using the purex crystals. Do you think you can use it in the HE washers as well?

        • Stacey says

          Hi Leane, I use a homemade laundry soap that is a powder recipe. I use it in my HE machines and I LOVE it! I found a bottle of those purex crystals on clearance at Walmart and used a coupon so I got it for super cheap. I added it to my homemade soap and it smells even better. Ohhh, and the smell that an HE machine gets is gone since using my detergent. I found my recipe on Pintrest. Best thing I found to do though, is I put the powder in my machine with my clothes not in the dispensers–just in case any clogging might happen.

    • Lissa says

      The vinegar controls the static, and the conditioner smells amazing. If it is not strong enough, you can use the same recipe and add essential oils instead, although that will not be as cost effective. :)

      • Tammy says

        I have to disagree. Vinegar does not control static, neither does aluminum foil balls when you’re drying polyester or fleece. Trust me. I speak from experience! I love it in final rinse for all other loads though.

  3. says

    Great post! A more natural option would be to just use the white vinegar and forgo the conditioner. About a half a cup in the rinse cycle is all you need and it won’t leave a vinegar smell on your clothes.

    Take care!
    Frugally Natural

    • Shelly Kidd says

      Another natural option.

      Warm 2 cups vinegar and 1/2 cup water in microwave for 45 seconds.

      Slowly add 1/2 cup baking soda, mix well

      If you want a scent add 8 drops of your favorite essential oil, I like peppermint.

      • Angel says

        Do you use this for one load? It seems like it would be a lot. About how much does this make and how much do you use per load? can you use this in the Downy balls or will it not work?

        • Heather says

          I made this “recipe” and it filled my large downy bottle. You use the same amount of this softener as you did the Downy

    • Heather T. says

      I only use vinegar as well, and just buy it a canning time so its always on sale, it works great and leaves no smell. After reading about softener leaving so much residue, I prefer not to use it.

      • Sue H says

        I started using only 1/4 cup vinegar per washload for rinsing my clothes. I have found I need less detergent also than the manufacturer recommends. My clothes are brighter because the vinegar helps remove soap any residue. Sometimes I will add a dryer sheet when drying clothes, but I continue to use them until there is no scent left. This helps eliminate static on anything with nylon in it. I don’t do this on towels etc., because they come out of the dryer nice and soft since the soap is all rinsed out. Vinegar at warehouse clubs is cheap! And reusing dryer sheets cuts the cost significantly! Vinegar is also good for hardwood floors and windows!

        • Clean Floor says

          When using vinegar to clean floors you only want to put a few capsful into the gallon of warm water. If you use more than that…you will find your polyurthene protective finish on your wood floors will break down and you will need to refinish your floors. I cleaned homes for a living and found the homes that insisted I use vinegar had floors that wore the finish off quicker. Plain water is best. I prefer myself to wash them with vinegar sparingly.

    • Patti says

      I also use the homemade laundry detergent in the dry form and use just plain white vinegar as a softener. I was amazed at how well the vinegar worked to soften my clothes … with no vinegar smell.

    • Andrea Sayers says

      Don’t want to mess with any good ideas but if you are sensitive, dryer sheets cling to elastic of undies etc and will possibly cause rash and discomfort. Great if it works for you.

    • Michelle Vaughan says

      I have found that when you forget a load of laundry, and it gets that mildewy smell you can start a rinse cycle, add one cup white vinegar, and run the cycle. Afterwards rewash the cloths as usual. This one is from my grandma.

  4. Jennifer Gann says

    I buy the fabric softener refills in the cardboard milk-style cartons, when I bring it home I pour half into my empty bottle and fill with water. I close up the remainder until needed then repeat the process.

  5. carrie says

    I dilute regular fabric softener 2x so end up with 3x the amount and use that as a liquid or leave it all in a bucket and throw sponges in. wring out the sponge and throw 1 or 2 in the dryer as dryer sheets

  6. says

    Sounds GREAT! I’m a little leery of the home-made stuff though because I own a high efficiency machine and the instructions were very particular about what I could use. This doesn’t sound harmful – do you think I could use it in my front load HE machine? I would LOVE to cut out the cost of fab softener that stuff is $$$

    • Terra says

      HE machine can not handle soap suds. Normal detergent has additives that make it bubble up. The HE detergent have very little. If you make your own laundry soap you can use that in your HE machine. I don’t think there would be a problem with conditioner since it is does not bubble like shampoo.

    • kim says

      I have an HE washer and dryer. I have been using this homemade fabric softener for about 6 months now and I could not be happier. It works great. Sometimes my laundry used to smell after washing and drying it but not anymore. I also starting leaving my washer machine door open a little. Again, this homemade fabric softener is great and I have definitely saved money. I use Suave or V05 and try to keep the scent something like a breeze or fruity scent.

      • says

        When I wash in evening I leave my washer door open over night just a crack, it helps keep the washer dry & from smelling!!!!!!!!

    • jodi says

      Yes you can . I have a frontloader as well. I have been using frontload machines for 14 yrs now. The vinegar is great as an additive for the frontload machines as it cleans the machine as well. Run the mixture through the dispenser :). i also use 3 cups white vinegar & hot water through my machine regularly as a cleaner. use the tray dispenser to dispere 1 cup & dump the other 2 cups on the inside add a white towel & hot water cycle it all the way through . It keep it fresh & clean isnde no midlew or build up :)

    • BeBe says

      I have been usingmy home made laundry powder in my HE machine for years and it actually works better than the stuff the mfg recommended! I have not had to use the drum cleaner since I started using the powder I make…it just does not build up that funky smell anymore!

      My powder is:
      2 bars IVORY soap (microwaved and cooled to room temp)
      1 box 20 Mule Team Borax
      1 box Washing Soda
      1 bottle Puryex Crystals
      1 large container Oxi-clean OR Biz
      1 large box Baking Soda

      I put everything into a 13gallon trash bag(doubled in case it tears!)
      Tie up the top and work it all together until all the Ivor
      y has flaked and there are no soap lumps. I store it in old Oxi-Clean tubs (makes about 5 large tubs full!!) I only use about a tablespoonn per normal load 2 if the clothes are really very dirty.Works great, smells good

  7. Becky Tormohlen says

    I have an high efficiency washer… does this work?…. One is suppose to use special kind of soap and softner…

  8. Lisa says

    I have a high efficiency washing machine and I do not use the “specially formulated” HE products. I simply use considerably less detergent, and Oxi-Clean. I use the homemade detergent and haven’t had any issues with washer performance or clothes not getting clean. I have soft water so that is another reason that I use any laundry products sparingly. PS I love this site, thanks!!

  9. April says

    I dilute my fabric softner with vinegar 1/2 and 1/2. I buy the large bottles when on sale and have a coupon to get better savings. I usually get 3-4 bottles out of it.

  10. Suzanne says

    For those of you who use straight vinegar, you say you add it to the rinse cycle. I have a machine that has a place to add fabric softener. Can I add the vinegar there, or do I have to try and catch the rinse cycle?

    • Ann says

      I just put the straight vinegar in my softener dispenser of my HE machine. But I am going to try this softener for the scent.

  11. Tonda says

    Tip: which I am sure u all know. I use equal parts dish detergent and combine with equal parts ++ of borax. Actually I add a bunch more borax. I was told to use 2 Tablespoons, but one is perfect for a full load (for me anyhow) Saves a ton of money and lasts a very long time. Store in airtight container. :-)

    • says

      I’m assuming that this recipe with the dish soap is for laundry detergent not fabric softener, right? (since the post is for fabric softener). So, do you mean powdered dish soap? I had never heard of that before. Has anyone else tried this? What kind do you use?

  12. tish says

    To the women who has a HE washer I just had a repairman here to fixa problem I had with my washer he seen my bottle
    of oxi clean and told me to stop using it it damages the motor.Just thought I let you know

    • Nancy says

      How does it damage the motor? Think about that for just a minute. The water from the washer can’t touch the motor.
      The motor runs a belt or chain that agitates the drum that holds the water, clothing and soap. Some people like to make us think they know what they are talking about. Do a little research on your personal machine and see if I am right.

    • tish says

      Well a friend of mine had the same problem and her repairman told her the same thing. I prefer to listen to the repair people who sees these problems everyday. Rather be safe than sorry and end of with repairs that i may have caused my self.

      • Patricia says

        That’s absolutely absurd that Oxiclean would damage the motor. Free will and all that but it’s a load of rubbish. (my husband is an engineer- I asked him and he laughed.)

      • Lori says

        @Tish I had a repair man come to my house to see why my washer keeps putting holes in my clothes. He said that I was stuffing it too full, which is funny since in the manual it says that you can stuff it as long as the door will shut. My fiance’s mom has the same washer and she stuffs hers too and hers is fine…I think a good majority of the repair men don’t know what they are talking about half the time, but that’s just my opinion.

        • Carol LaBella says

          Lori did you ever find out why you were getting holes in your clothes? My daughter is starting to notice the same thing happening.

        • Tricia says

          Lori – Did you figure out what is causing the holes? I am having this problem and wondered if it was the homemade laundry detergent or fabric softener since this never happened until I started making my own laundry supplies.

        • Elaine S says

          As I understand it:
          For maximum efficiency:
          Top loading washers should not be stuffed full.
          Front loaders may be filled up.

    • cory guisler says

      My friend’s front load HE machine just died for that same reason. They can’t handle the amount of suds produced by the regular detergents.

  13. Kara says

    My tweaked Fabric Softner recipie. My son complained that his towels smelled like vingar when he got them we so.
    6 cups hot water
    1 cup baking soda
    6 cups vinegar
    2 cups suave

    I always use a 5 gallo bucket
    1 cup bakind soda and 1 cup hot water. you dont have to mix because the next step will.
    slowly add 6 cups vinegar. It will bubble and foam. Allow this for a few minutes to get the baking soda to dissolve. next add the other 5 cups hot water and 2 cups suave conditioner. Stir stir stir. I use 1/2 to 1 whole cup in rinse cycle. Also, for a fab sheet dip a white wash cloth in the liquid and ring out. toss in the dryer. Now prior to all this home made laundry stuff, I purcased a mister steamy. I liked it well enough but if you add 4 oz liquid fab soft you made instead of water, you can skip th wash cloth and have clean, great smelling wrinkle free clothing! Good luck and happy laundering https://www.mistersteamy.com/.
    I found my Mister Steamy at CVS for 14.99

  14. Aurelia says

    Hi, I made the fabric softener and I am finding that it has a vinegary smell to that. Is this the normal smell or is it just my super sensitive pregnant nose picking out the vinegar???? I’m not smelling it on the clothes after they are washed and dried just when I open the bottle.

  15. Heidi says

    Hi Aurelia ~ yes… you’ll still be able to smell the vinegar when you use it, but the scent will vanish in the wash. 😉

    ~ Heidi

  16. Nan says

    Suzanne, Yes you can put the vinegar in the same dispenser area. I have been doing that for months. It works great. A couple years ago, I also had a repairman tell me never to use any laundry products with Oxi ingredients. He said it literally will eat the metal. The metal base that my washer tub sat on was literally disintegrating under the tub area.

    • Becca says

      Now THAT makes sense to me. My washer was under warranty and I had used Oxy products at intervals over the last year or so. Washer had other problems and in addition, they had to replace the base mechanism of the tub d/t the metal was disintegrating. The repair guy asked me about Oxy products, which I wasn’t using at the time. Interesting…

  17. Jaala says

    Do you have to use suave conditioner? or can you use another kind? My mother gave my a big bottle of herbal essence conditioner which I LOVE the smell of and would like to use that instead.

    • shoan says

      i used suave cause i got it on clearance for 33 cents but i don’t see where you couldn’t use any name brand this stuff is great and if you get your conditioner free or cheap it is very reasonably priced my next step is to try it with the sponge in the dryer and see how that works

  18. Beverly says

    I was in WalMart today and I saw a lady buying Borax and I said to her I bet you are making homemade laundry detergent. She said yes but she didn’t get the recipe from frugal girls. So I told her about your website. She also said she uses vinegar for a fabric softner and she loves both of the them. I love them both too.

  19. Janis says

    Just wanted to thank whoever come up with this. Love it, and my daughter now says her towels smell so good. I used a pomergrante smell conditioner, and I hang my clothes out alot and this seems to work so much better than the store bought ones. I am going to try the one that has the baking soda in it next time I make it. Thanks all.

  20. Jeff says

    Thing is most washers are plastic, some stainless steel, older ones are porcelian coated, and a deluded mix of oxy products will not harm them(such as homemade borax/washing soda). Have you ever noticed what bleach does to metal, it wreaks havoc on metal, metal fasteners, but there is a bleach dispenser in the washing machines.

  21. Michelle says

    Ok ladys, what if i do not have vinegar? I remember my mom telling me once that i could use a cheap conditioner/hot water mix and baking soda then keep it in the fridge.

  22. Sandi Ellis says

    I just made a batch of the fabric softner & washed a load of clthes using it. I love it!! I used Suave Ocean Breeze conditioner, & love the smell!!I am planning to make other cleaning recipes!! Thanks for posting these recipes! :)

  23. Nancy says

    I love making my own fabric softener. Its easy to do. And doesnt cost much at all. Its cheaper then buying the fabric softener at the store. And it doesnt do anything to your clothes. And it makes you feel because your saving money.

    • Shirley B. says

      I’ve been using the washing soda, borax, and fels naptha soap combination for my regular machine. I have read others using it in their HE machines with no problem. It has very little sudsing action if that is the issue with the HE.
      I love – love – love this homemade detergent!!!

      • Lynn Yoder says

        I have found that the homemade laundry soap does NOT work very well in my HE washer. I think because in a top loader the water clothes stay IN the water and get mixed with the soap better. In a front loader, the water and clothes tumble around and the clothes don’t soak in the water. I found soap residue on most of my clothes. I used it up on towels and sheets, etc. but won’t be making it again. Plus, I didn’t think it was really all that cheap.

        • says

          I make mine (laundry soap) using 1 bar of zote (or fels naptha)grated on cheese grater, 1/2 cup of washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax, and 1 cup of oxy cleaner (cheap-I think Sun brand- from Big Lots). I mix it all together and use two TBSP on a load, one if it’s a small or not so dirty load. It worked just fine on my front load HE washer. I use it now on my new top load HE washer and it still works just fine. When Tide is anywhere from 20-50 cents a load, and even the cheap brands at no less than 15 cents a load, I’d say making your own for 5-9 cents a load is definately cheaper!

          • jen says

            I disagree with Lynn. I have HE and made my own soap and i think it works GREAT! i use about a 1/2 cup per load and couldnt be happier

          • Sharon says

            I use this same recipe for washing clothes. I have a front loader. My cloths smell better and feel better. It is diff cheaper.

        • Donna says

          I’ve used the homemade detergent in my frontloader since we bought it in ’09 and never once had soap residue or any issues.

          • Mrs. D says

            I agree, I have used for about 6 months in my HE washer and L-O-V-E it!!. I appreciate how cheap, yet so good it is. Will be making my own fabric softener as well to use. Thanks for the recipe!!

        • Andrea Sayers says

          I’m really surprised with the problem. I have several very picky friends who use it and love it with the HE. 😕

        • Karen Williams says

          I have been making my own laundry detergent for quite awhile. I had some problems at first with undissolved soap sticking to my clothes. I saw a tip where you could microwave the bar soap and put the part that puffs up in your food processor with the other ingredients and it grinds it into an easy to dissolve powder that doesn’t leave undissolved soap on your clothes in the washer. I usually have to put my soap repeatedly in the microwave for 1 minute or so at a time, and remove the puffed up part and put the solid soap back in for another zap. You could also chop up your soap and it would probably microwave better.

  24. Emily says

    Most store bought fabric softeners have carcinogens in them, so this is a great alternative! I usually just use vinegar, but this will be great to add the nice smell that I sometimes miss from fabric softener.

  25. Bonny says

    Hi Frugal Girls! Great site with so many amazing tips! I love the light smell and softness my clothes get from this fabric softener, and of course saving money is always great too! However, I still get quite a bit of static from my clothes. Is there a way to eliminate this w/out resorting to dryer sheets (my son has seriously sensitive skin)? I put the solution just in in the wash using the downey ball – static, I tried combining this with also spraying some solution on a wash cloth (15 spritzes) to toss in the dryer – static, I tried spraying the solution (around 10 spritzes) directly onto the clothes in the dryer – static. Should I saturate a wash cloth or sponge and toss that in? Perhaps I’m using too much detergent? Would a homemade detergent result in less static cling? I have all the ingredients for homemade detergent, I’m just waiting until the rest of my store-bought stuff is gone. Thanks for sharing! This stuff is so great!

    • emilybelle99 says

      try not over drying. i look for my clothes to get dry, but still barely damp. i have not had a issue with moldy or musty smells. it definitely cuts down on static. if i accidentally leave a load too long. i can usually just dampen a hand towel and dry for about 10 mins on low and the wrinkles and static are gone!! Tennis balls in the dryer help too.

  26. Anna C. says

    I love this recipe and I have used this one and several similar from other sources. Here is my problem, we live in rural Virginia the gnats LOVE vinegar. I couldn’t figure out why I was covered each time I went out the last few buggy days. So I need to find an alternative to the vinegar. Anyone have a suggestion for me?

    THANKS and Merry Christmas!

    • Heidi says

      Wrinkle remover is just water and fabric softener! Fill spray bottle almost full with water then add fabric softener. I never measure, but 4 cups water with 2-3 tablespoons fabric softener! I love it!

  27. Heather says

    I quit using fabric softener years ago because something in it (chemicals?!) removed the flame retardant on my children’s pjs, etc. Would this be a safe alternative? I already make my own laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and would be super excited if I could have fabric softener again :)

      • Heather says

        Here is the recipe I use :)
        Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
        1 cup washing soda
        1 cup borax
        2 packages unsweetened lemonade mix

        Mix all together and keep in an airtight container. Use 2 tsp in the main detergent hopper and 2 tsp in the pre-wash detergent hopper.

        • Keri says

          I tried the homemade dishwasher detergent and it left a TERRIBLE film on my dishes… my recipe also had the same 3 ingredients and also epsom salt

          • Kasey says

            Splash a cup of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher and add 1 or 2 DROPS of dishwashing liquid to one of the hoppers.

    • Kathy says

      I believe that there is a warning label on the pajamas that states you should not use fabric softener on them as it does remove the flame retardant. Always read the labels.

  28. Colleen says

    I use vinegar as my fabric softener as well. I use separate detergents for myself, husband and 2 of my kids then I use another detergent for my daughter. She has 60% burns on her body due to a fire.

    So, I would like to also know about flame retardant. I still use regular fabric softener, but I use 1/2 lid full plus 1 full lid to dilute it hoping it will help w/ the flame retardant. Of course I have no clue if it does or not. I used to use a TON of fabric softener, but not anymore after seeing just how quickly her clothing went up in flames.

    I also take a regular size spray bottle and fill it with 1/3 fabric softener and 2/3 hot water. I use about 4 sprays before putting wet laundry in it to cut down on static and I use 1 dryer sheet. It’s very dry here and gets very static-y.

  29. Nancy says

    Static is caused by over drying the clothing. If you have static problems keep a spray bottle handy with just a touch of conditioner or fabric softener in a full bottle of water spray a bit on your clothing or chair, car seat where ever it is a problem. I worked 14 years in a laundry and we dealt with it all the time. This worked for us! I still use this method in my home now. I keep a small spray bottle in the car too… I hate the winter time and cloth seats… I get zapped all the time while getting out of the car. Spray the seats now and then really helps with this issue.

    Love this site~… thanks!

  30. montana watson says

    How do you make homemade laundrysoap for he machines? Me and my mmom would like to know. This fabric softener sounds like a great idea but we want to know how to make the soap as well. Ifsomeone could.please send me the intsructions I would be ver greatful and so would my mom. Thankyou so much I’m.I. love with this.site

  31. Cheryl says

    This is the homemade fabric softner
    that I make…
    2 cups of favorite fabric softner
    2 cups white vinegar
    2 cups water
    Put in an empty fabric softner bottle and shake until
    well mixed…I have a front load washer and It works
    perfectly..I just use the bottle cap to measure out
    what I would normally use of the regular fabric softner…
    I have never tried it with conditioner, but may give it a try…

    • Samantha says

      Cheryl, does using the fabric softener instead of conditioner leave a “fresh,clean” smell on your clothes? I love the homemade fabric softener using the conditioner but there is no “fresh” smell on my clothes and I really prefer that smell. Thanks! 😉

      • emilybelle99 says

        you can buy soap scents at hobby lobby or micheal’s that will scent the fabric softener. their website usually has a 40% off coupon as well. this scent contains no soap. i use just about maybe a 1/2 tsp. or less for 1 gal vinegar. it smells weird at first, but when the vinegar is gone, it leaves a nice scent. i do want to try the conditioner recipe, and i think after hearing some comments, i will still put in some fragrance.

  32. Kim says

    I love your site!! I’ve been using straight vinegar for stains and softening for a while, but then added the conditioner. Wow! My clothes have never been softer! My husband can’t handle store bought..they make him break out… but he’s had no problem with this! I’ve also bought the super cheap “swiffer” type sheets at the 99cent store, soaked them in a container of the homemade conditioner, and viola! Homemade dryer sheets!

  33. says

    I think I am going to try this, we are allergic to fabric softener, it makes us itch!! If I can make the towels softer and something to eliminate the static (i get a shock whenever i touch something metal all winter!) it would be great! Thank you for sharing!!

  34. Carolyn says

    Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to try this recipe and I bought the Suave conditioner and more vinegar to make it tomorrow. Today I mixed up a 3 gallon batch of homemade liquid laundry detergent. So nice to be able to save hard-earned $$$ on these products – the cost of store-bought detergent is unnecessarily ridiculous! Thanks again!

  35. Rachel says

    I don’t use liquid fabric softener at all. I only use dryer sheets. Will this or straight vinegar take the place of dryer sheets? I don’t have a fabric softener dispenser area in my washer…Can I just add it to the water before adding the clothes or at the spin cycle?

  36. rebecca says

    To prevent static, rip off some aluminum foil (tin foil, whatever you call it) and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. Doesn’t matter if you used fabric softener in the wash or not, the foil prevents static. My foil (about 12″ by 15″) usually lasts for 4-5 loads. Doesn’t matter what brand you use, just tear it off and throw into dryer. Don’t worry about crumpling it up into a ball first, it’ll ball up anyway.

  37. Rebecca says

    I prepared the softener as directed and put it in a gallon jug. It separated and got super sudsy, but not at first, it was about my 3rd or 4th time to use it. I have a front load HE washer so I do what to be careful. What did I do wrong?

    • Mrs. D says

      I have the same problem with my laundry detergent. I have mine in a clear liquid dispenser so just make sure I shake up before using.

  38. LaDonna says

    I made this and it doesn’t work as well as I had hoped. My clothes come out staticy (is that a word?) and they have a funky smell like grease. I then took some unscented softner and added lavendar and vanilla oil to it and it’s still coming out smelling like grease. Does anyone know why this is happening?

  39. Anthony Martin says

    Not only does this softener cost less and work better than store bought– it also ensures no soap residue on your clothing and the inside of my Fisher Paykal washer has never been cleaner. I live in a town with super hard water– this recipe is the best one I have tried.

  40. RhondaG says

    I am very sensitive to all of those smelly fabric softeners. They are all so highly scented. I sure wish there was a way to make unscented fabric softener. I have never seen an unscented conditioner. Anybody have any ideas?

    • Heidi says

      Hi Rhonda ~ you could always try just using straight vinegar… or maybe adding a few drops of essential oils instead of the conditioner. Hope that helps!

      ~ Heidi

  41. Krysti says

    I made some tonight & tested it by doing a load of towels. It worked great! Smells great & the towels are softer than they ever were with store bought softener. I’m making the detergent next!

  42. says

    OMG the fabric softner is awesome…….made some today and was so excited to use it and it is awesome. the clothes feel and smell sooooo good. i used the suave lavendar and smells sooo good. thank you for sharing your recipe. happy in texas : )

    • Heidi says

      Oh good… I’m so glad you like it! I love the scent of lavendar, so I’ll have to give that one a try, too!

      ~ Heidi

  43. Kelli Patton says

    I DO use homemade laundry detergent – but I add 2 cups of Tide to every giant batch I make. It has optic brighteners in it that homemade just doesn’t have, and I LOVe the smell. This still saves me a small FORTUNE. I also make a double batch of homemade dishwasher detergent and dump in a small box of the store-bought kind and mix it together. The store-bought variety keeps the drains clear and prevents any cloudiness on glass. This way, you can leave out the lemon koolaid, or the lemi-shine (which always made mine clump up). The savings are truly dramatic, but you get the best of both worlds. Just a thought for those scared to leap in to homemade products!

  44. Autumn Westbury says

    I am in the process of mixing the fabric softner, it is very very foamy! Did I do something wrong?? Is there a way to get rid of the foam, I had a hard time pouring the vinegar in because of the foam, lol!

  45. says

    i have made the fabric softner and i absolutely love it and have done alot of laundry. thank you soooo very much for sharing the “how too’s” i used the suave in the lavendar scent and the cloths smell and feel so good. i have also made the laundry detergent and having really good results from it also. thanks again…..happy in texas!!! : )

  46. Mary Jane says

    you could probably use a non scented organic conditioner and add a few drops of scented oil. that would probably make smell last

  47. says

    I make my own fabric softener sheets. I cut up an old cotton hospital blanket into about 6 inch squares. I buy fabric softener and use 1/4 cup softener and 3/4 cup water. I have a rubbermaid bread box and put the sheets of fabric in it and then pour the solution over them. I throw a sheet in the dryer with the wet clothes. I do have to throw two sheets in if it is a fabric that is prone to static clean.

    My question is this. Is there any reason why this formula wouldn’t work the same way? Certainly buying suave shampoo is cheaper than fabric softener.


  48. Susan says

    I use just the vinegar, it works great. Otherwise if you want a scent, just add a drop of your favorite essential oil :)

  49. annette jackson says

    you can also just use vinegar about 1/4 cup in the rinse cycle and it reduces static cling… i have been doing that for years …. just white vinegar and nothing else

  50. esther says

    For those of you with front loading machines, I have been told that the reason they get the mildewy smell is the build up of fabric softener on the underside of the barrel. I am super excited to try this recipe. I think the vinegar will prevent that from happening. Although, I may dilute my existing softener with vinegar until I run out.

  51. Bonnie says

    I read a post with this same recipe that said never to use it in a load that was being bleached. Bleach and vinegar product toxic fumes.

  52. Lisha says

    I made the fabric softener. It leaves a vinegar smell on my blankets and heavy clothes. But, on regular clothes like shirts it washes out. What am I doing wrong? Also, I tried the sponge soaked in the fab softener and it left a vinegar smell. Please help.

  53. Rebecca says

    Try making this with the new Suave conditioner… Everlasting Sunshine, I think it is… it smells A-MAZ-ING!!!!!

  54. Caroline Kane says

    Thanks for all the great tips – a couple of hints from Oz that I use all the time, a few essential oil drops in warm water in a spray mister bottle and spritzed over the curtains at open windows will leave your rooms smelling great for weeks. Or a few drops of essential oil into warm water misted over clothes when ironing will leave them smelling great. I haven’t had any problems with staining on either curtains or clothes.

  55. Kris says

    Can any brand product be used for the Conditioner? I don’t mind using Suave but I have some extra Conditioner bottles of Dove and Pantene. Can those be used or should I just stick with Suave?

  56. Rhonda says

    OMG! I made this using VO5 Extra body conditioner just to try it and i LOVE LOVE LOVE the results!!! I have an HE top loader commercial washer and use the Downey Ball that came with it. It is fantastic! Making more today using VO5 blackberry sage tea conditioner, Meijer here in Michigan has VO5 for 88 cents a bottle and the vinegar was on sale too! Thank you so much!

  57. Amy says

    Wow! Saw this on Pinterest and decided to give a shot.. SO easy to make.. and it make a LOT for how CHEAP it is! Love the idea that I can use any scent of conditioner with it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  58. Brittany says

    Thanks a bunch for the recipe, I’m about to try it out for the first time! I have a Bath & Body Works outlet nearby that sells their conditioner at clearance prices most of the time; if I ever run out of what I just made, I can’t wait to go get some B&B conditioner to use!

  59. Robin says

    This is the recipe I now use–took some trial and error, but I love it. It is detergent-fabric softener-and static control all in one.
    4 cups Borax
    4 cups Washing Soda
    finely!! grated Kirk’s Coconut bar soap
    2 cups Baking Soda
    plus I’ll also finely grate up any small pieces bar soap too small to use in bath.
    I have a small food processor I use after I grate the bar soap, so it is very fine when I’m done–I only use it for this.
    My soap smells good and cleans very well, clothes are soft, static free and I have never seen any residue-and I wear a lot of black clothing. I use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup-depending on size of the load and how soiled clothing is. Hope someone finds this useful.

  60. Kerry says

    I only have Apple cider vinager, and I’m out of fabric softener. Is it possible to use the apple cider vinager?

  61. Jean says

    I read you cannot mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. Has anyone heard this. If I use bleach in a white load, is it dangerous (fumes) to put vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser?

  62. Audrey W says

    This is probably not for the germophobes, but this is what I’m doing at my house from now on. Another way to get even more bang for your buck, I descaled my keurig and then used the already warm vinegar and already warm rinse water. I don’t really see any potential problems, I just recommend letting any sediment from your coffee machine settle and then scooping the liquid off the top.

  63. says

    I made the fabric softner, it is like water…shouldnt it be thick?
    Also does anyone use this that hangs their clothes outside on clothline, does it work for that?

    • Mona says

      Mine was like water…I don’t think thickness really matters. I think that’s something the fabric softener companies invented. Vinegar makes clothes soft and I’ve never had an issue of it smelling like salad after drying. LOL. I love this recipe!

  64. Mona says

    Made this today with Sauve Lilac Lavender $.88 at Walmart – my clothes are soooo soft and smell just a hint, oh so fresh. What a great, easy way to make soft clothes! Thank you.

    • Heidi says

      I’m so glad you like it, Mona! I just bought some Tropical Coconut scent to try next. I’ll have to try the Lilac Lavender, too… that sounds yummy! 😉

      ~ Heidi

  65. nancy robison says

    I’ve been using this along with the homemade laundry detergent for over 2 wks now and LOVE IT!!!! Thanks so much for the tip. LOVE The price savings

  66. says

    Thanks for the recipe! I made this a few weeks ago and loved it! I just made a new batch but changed the formula around a little bit and I actually like it a little better. I used less water, only 3 cups and I used 4 of the vinegar and 2 1/2 cups of the conditioner. I put it in a smaller Simply Lemonade bottle this time because I think it looks so cute but I actually had a little left over, which I just poured into my previous bottle. I think adding less of the water and more of the vinegar made a big difference with the softness and made it more concentrated so I was able to use less.

  67. suzanne says

    just recently found this recipe and wish i had it years ago. i have used downy for years and this works just as well and leaves no vinegar smell on the clothes. i actually think it works better. love it.

  68. Carol says

    I love all the recipes for laundry soap and softener! can’t wait to try them. Thanks for all the tips and input everyone!

  69. Amy says

    Also, if you use dryer sheets, more so the brand name ones, you can cut a sheet in half and now you get double the dryer sheets for your money. Just saw that tip recently. Just tried the homemade fabric softener with conditioner that I no longer use. Can’t wait to see the results.

    • Amy says

      Btw, I used the Suave Juicy Green Apple scent. If I end up liking this for fabric softener, I have a bottle of Suave Shea Butter conditioner that I will use next. Hope it works.

  70. Gina H. says

    I made the softener mix just over a month ago and we love it. The only thing is it is now SUPER thick. At first when we were using it, the mixture was still thin and poured out very easily. Now, it’s so thick it’s hard to pour out. Any ideas why this happened, or how to prevent it from happening again? I used the exact recipe listed above.

  71. joe says

    You ladies with the front load washers if you let the door stand open between laundrys you will not have that awful odor, the washers are so tight and they need to be able to dry out. Hope this helps! joe

  72. Carol says

    Have been using your DIY clothes detergent for months and LOVE it! Made DIY fabric softener by your directions but the softener was much thicker than Downy. Is that normal? I added a little more water in the dispensing cup in my top-loader because I was afraid it would clog my machine up. Any one else have experience with this problem?

  73. Joyce says

    Regarding the musty smell in the frontloaders, if you leave your washer door ajar just a bit after using it, you will not get that smell. It is due to trapping the moisture in the washer and it turning to mold. Beats paying for the “washer cleaner” tablets. They are not cheap.

  74. Katina says

    I just made my second batch of this today, and love it! I will never go back to the expensive, store-bought fabric softeners! It works great in my HE washer, along with my homemade powder laundry detergent. :)

  75. Becky Jimenez says

    Made it, used it, LOVED it, made it again! The vinegar smell goes away once the clothes are dried. Love saving money, and love that our clothes don’t have an overpowering smell to them.

  76. Dee says

    I’ve used this a few times. and it works great. I use vinegar in a spray bottle use it to freshen my son’s shoes after a nice washing, and it works great. no more smell:)

  77. says

    If you leave your front loading washer door cracked
    Open after washing you do not get the musty smell
    I have done this from the beginning and I have never
    Had it. I have had my HE machine for 7 years. Mold grows in
    Warm damp places the washer is the perfect storm
    For that

  78. Cynthia Bobersky says

    I used to have a front loader. I hated it! It got so I hated to do laundry due to the smell. I did a “bleach cycle” and it worked for awhile, but the smell returned. I then did a “vinegar cycle” and it resolved the issue. That washer is long gone now, and it wasn’t that old, and I have a toploader again and glad of it. I also use vinegar in my dishwasher about once a month and also put it in the jetdri dispenser and everything comes out sparkling! Love this site – so many great ideas.

  79. Donna says

    I too use the homemade laundry detergent with Purex crystals. I found the recipe on Pinterest and love it. I usually pour detergent directly into the tub and have never had any trouble. Before making my own I was spending a fortune on Tide and Affresh, always left the door open, wiped glass on door and under the rubber gasket with a Clorox wipe at least once a week. Since using my new find I haven’t noticed that bad smell on our clothes or inside the washer! I am saving tons of our hard earned money but I have vowed to never buy another HE washer again!

  80. BeBe says

    If you are concerned about the Oxy products try Biz stain remover powder….l have used it in my diy powder and it works great too.

  81. AMY says

    Hi, can you tell me if this is supposed to be a really runny texture? Mine turned out much much runnier than store bought so just wanted to be sure I did it right. Thanks

    • Heidi says

      Hi Amy ~ yes… it’s definitely more runnier of a texture as opposed to the store bought brands. Hope that helps! 😉

  82. Olga Alequin says

    I didn’t imagine it was so easy to make it and a good smelling one. Thank you very much for your splendid idea.

  83. Cheri says

    I made this but used a family size conditioner bottle (suave 22 oz). My clothes don’t have ANY scent. Any ideas to get a scent? Better quality conditioner? Add essential oils (will it stain the clothes?)?

  84. says

    I love this stuff! As I was cleaning up the mess I made , making my Fabric Softener. I spilled some in my dish soap & etc. I rinsed with hot water. WoW! everything really sparkled!, so I went a step further. I used it in my hair. Amazing! lol

  85. Tina Lindsey says

    Do you have to use Suave conditioner? I am allergic to a lot of the ingredients in it. I am also allergic to a lot of the scents in many of the products. Is there something better that I could use to make these with? I love all the ideas on the site tho. Thanks and keep up the good work! 😉

  86. Sonya says

    Just a tip and maybe someone else already said this and I’m just too lazy to read all the comments, but I used a wisk to quickly mix conditiner and water. I have my first load in with both homemade laundry detergent and homemade fabric softener. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  87. Barb Shields says

    Looking forward to trying the homemade detergent & fabric softener. These items have gotten so expensive in the stores so I’m looking forward to seeing the results! Thanks!

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