Now For Homemade Fabric Softeners

Edgewood, MD(Zone 7a)

Now that Garden Wife posted the homemade laundry soap, I got to thinking that we needed fabric softener ideas too! That stuff is REALLY expensive! More so than soap. Fewf. These ideas are from a site called


A 1/4 cup 20 Mule Team Borax in your rinse water will soften clothes

An Environmental Alternative
1 cup of Glycerin ( available at your local natural market or pharmacy ) and 1 gallon of water. Add 1/2 cup of this mixture to the wash or rinse cycle to soften clothing.
Not only is it cheaper, it is much safer for the environment too!

Natural Softener
Vinegar is a natural fabric softener (1/2 cup a load usually works). The vinegar also helps to remove soap residue.

Dilution System
If you like to hang your clothes out, try this and see how it works for you. Hang them out first to dry almost completely then throw them in dryer for just about 5 minutes. This will soften them.
To save money on the Downy, instead of putting the capful in the washer when washing the clothes, try it this way. I make a mixture in an old butter tub with a lid, of approximately 1 downy to 4 water and throw in a couple of pieces of old washcloth. I cut a large wash cloth into 4's and throw those pieces in the Downy mixture. Ring your Downy cloth out well so as not to leave marks on the clothes. Bring your clothes in off the line and throw in dryer for about 5 min. with one of the
Downy cloths. This should make your clothes soft, save you money because you only used your dryer 5 minutes instead of 45, and save you money because a bottle of Downy will last a really really long time.
A hint I learned is to not make a large amount of the Downy/water mixture because it will get slimy as it sits for a few weeks. Probably a good amount to start with is 1/4C downy to 1C water or even dilute it a little more if you find you can and it will still soften clothes. I think I probably do 1/4C to 2C water and it works fine. For the money you save it's worth the hassle of ringing out a piece of washcloth.

Use Your Head
Buy one of the jumbo jugs of cheap hair conditioner, and dilute approx. 3:1. (water - 3, conditioner - 1) This works just as well as any fabric softener I've ever used, and you can get those big jugs of conditioner for very cheap, you can even choose your own scents.

Buy Cheap
Buy the cheapest store-brand liquid fabric softener (the refill size is usually the best deal) and a spray bottle. Mix 1 part fabric softener with 3 parts water in the bottle. Spray inside your dryer before putting in the clean, wet clothes. I've been doing this for over a year and have only gone through 1 1/2 cartons of fabric softener. My investment has been less than $7 so far (including the spray bottle) which is a LOT cheaper than the amount of boxes of Bounce fabric softener sheets I would normally have used in the same length of time.

Home Brew Fabric Softener
2c baking soda
2c white vinegar
4c water
Mix ingredients and store in a plastic or glass container in your laundry area. Label the container and keep it out of the reach of children. To use: Shake the mixture and add 1/4c to the final rinse in your washing machine. If you have hard water, use 1/3c.

This thread has 5 replies. This forum is accessible only to subscribing members of Dave's Garden. There are many free features here, and about half of our forums are completely open to all members. And learn more about Dave's Garden, and explore the benefits of becoming a subscribing member.

Want to join? Register here. Already signed up? Click here to login!