Homemade Fabric Softener

12:00:00 PM

Are you looking to save some money in the laundry department? Maybe you have sensitive skin, or you have a baby. Babies have that fragile, sweet, soft skin that just makes you want to snuggle with them. However, this fragile skin also makes them sensitive to all the fragrances and chemicals that we immerse ourselves in every day. The baby store folks will try to sell you baby-only detergent and fabric softener. I can tell you without a doubt that is not necessary. And trust me, the thought of doing baby-clothes only loads of laundry is daunting when your laundry seems to have doubled, anyway. One way to save a little bit of money is to go completely fragrance and dye free—but not baby specific. There are plenty of options out there for detergent and fabric softener that are fragrance and dye free, no matter if your laundry machines are top or front load, regular or high efficiency.

If you want to go another step, you can make your own detergent and fabric softener.  Again, there are recipes out there for detergent, but I will be honest with you, I have not made detergent. The main reason I haven’t made it is because I don’t have the ingredients at my house, so I haven’t tried. I am thrifty, but at this point in my life (you, know, with infant twins in the house) I don’t have much time to experiment if it requires buying more than one ingredient I don’t have at home, or if it takes longer than 15 minutes to make. But I have made my own fabric softener, and (I promise!) it is easy, quick and painless. It is also compatible with all types of washers, including high efficiency machines. Even better, it only takes 5 minutes to make, and it is made from items most people already have around the house already. And if you have a bigger child, it makes a pretty cool science experiment/magic trick when you combine the ingredients.

Unscented Homemade Fabric Softener
1 cup baking soda
6 cups distilled (white) vinegar
8 1/2 cups warm water,  divided
1 clean gallon container with a lid (think milk jug, empty vinegar bottle, even a tub with a lid)—if your child wants to watch the reaction, you could use a bowl and then transfer the mixture to a bottle after mixing.

1.       Put the baking soda in the container.
2.       Put 1 cup of warm water into the container. Put lid on and shake a little, but don’t worry about getting it all combined.
3.       Add the vinegar to the container slowly. Yes, S-L-O-W-L-Y…the mixture will fizz as the vinegar and baking soda reacts. If you go too fast, you will overflow your container. Don’t ask me how I know, you can use your imagination….
4.       Once you have added all the vinegar and you think it is done fizzing, gently shake the container to make sure the majority of the reaction is complete.
5.       Pour the rest of the water into the mixture. No need to do this part particularly slowly.
6.       You’re ready to do some laundry. Put 2/3-1 cup of the mixture wherever/however you usually put fabric softener in your washing machine. My washing machine is a top loading high efficiency machine, and it has a compartment for fabric softener. Shake the mixture before using.
7.       Now don’t you feel great knowing exactly what is in your fabric softener? I thought so. And it was cheap, easy, and took less time than it takes to convince a toddler to try a new kind of food….

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  1. Umm, I'm not sure what to think... I am soaking dried beans right now. To compensate for our hard water I usually add baking soda. This time I added baking soda and lemon juice. It foamed just like you described. What will fabric softener do to beans?? I guess I'll be finding out. :)
    Seriously, I had no idea what fabric softener consisted of!! That sounds terribly easy.
    I've never used fabric softener, but I've used baking soda and vinegar (separately) at times. Could that be why my towels no longer soak up water?? This is so interesting! I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog! :)