DIY Fabric Softener

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Fabric softener is amazingly expensive. It costs nearly as much as laundry detergent (which by the way you can make much cheaper!). If you love to use fabric softener and hate the high price, here is instructions on how you can make your own for less than $1 and about 3 cents a load.

To show you my breakdown, here it is:

Vinegar– $1.00 at that local dollar store, but we are only using 2/3 cup and the whole bottle is 32 oz (4 cups). This means we are only using about 18 cents of it to make it.

Conditioner, bought at the dollar store, and we are using 1/2 the bottle, so 50 cents.

Water is “free” out of the tap.

So 18 loads for around 68 cents to make and it only takes less than 5 minutes of your time! If you are concerned about chemicals, you may spend a little more for a natural or organic hair conditioner, but making your own allows you to control what is in it and on your clothes. The bottle of conditioner I used is 15 fl oz, so I used approximately 7-8 oz if you happen to get a bigger bottle.

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Here is the instructions for making your own fabric softener:

  • 1/2 bottle of hair conditioner of your choice in scent from the local dollar store
  • 2/3 Cup vinegar
  • 4 cups HOT water

To make:

In a bowl, add the hot water and half a bottle of hair conditioner. Mix well with a whisk until it is well dissolved and no chunks remain.

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Add the vinegar and stir.

Pour into a large mason jar with a lid. Make sure to label it so you know what is inside.

Use 1/4 cup per load. This should give you approximately 18 loads.

Make sure to gently shake before each use as some of the conditioner will settle to the bottom over time.

The great thing about this recipe is you can customize it to the scent you want and use whatever brand you prefer. You can double of triple the recipe if you need more made at once.

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21 Comment

  1. Crystal says: Reply

    This sounds like a good idea. How does it make your clothes feel after using? Does the scent stay? Those are the only two reasons why I use a fabric softener. For scent and softness. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it out.

    1. Christine says: Reply

      The clothes feel soft, but admittedly, the scent is not as strong as store-bought fabric softeners. You could add some extra scent in with some essential oils, though. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Mary shimp says: Reply

    Will this work in the high efficiency washers?

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Yes, I don’t see why not. The only real difference between HE washers and top load traditional ones is that they require less sudsy soap to do the job, so I don’t think this would be a problem since there really is no suds. Let me know if you make it!

  3. Wendy9 says: Reply

    I use fabri softner for sensitive skin. I guess i would need to find a conditionar for sensitive skin.

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Yes, that would probably be in order. Does vinegar bother sensitive skin? I don’t have much experience with sensitive skin issues when it comes to soaps, so I am of no help, sorry!

  4. CML says: Reply

    Vinegar should not bother sensitive skin – since it is a natural ingredient. You could use the vinegar without the water or Conditioner and get soft clothes that will NOT smell like salad.

  5. Shawni says: Reply

    Hi there, I am excited to try your recipe for softner. I’ve been making my own laundry soap and dishwasher soap now for almost a year. My family loves it and I love how much money we are saving. Glad to know you are a sister in Christ!

    1. Christine says: Reply

      I used to buy so many cleaners and when I found out I could make my own,I was super excited with how much I would save. I always tweak my recipes because I am a chef by trade, so a recipe is never good enough for me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Shawni!

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  8. This looks great! I had no idea that conditioner and vinegar would work as a fabric softener. Great frugal tip. Thanks!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Elizabeth’s Story: A PioneerMy Profile

    1. Christine says: Reply

      You are very welcome!

      1. Ellen says: Reply

        I’m looking for a Homemade Fabric Softener recipe that includes the conditioner but I’d like to find one that uses a Homemade Conditioner. Is anyone familiar and knows if we can use a homemade conditioner recipe to substitute and use in place of the store brought conditioner brands?

        1. Christine says: Reply

          I have actually never come across a homemade conditioner at all as I have always read that apply cider vinegar was the “conditioner of choice” (if you will) for those who DIY this sort of thing. I haven’t ever seen a conditioner with a texture or that is like the store bought ones. Interesting!

  9. This is such a great idea! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.
    Shanice recently posted..City of Links #29My Profile

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Thanks for inviting me, Shanice!

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  13. […] Never spend much money on the store-bought fabric softeners. Here is instructions on how you can make your own for less than $1 and about 3 cents a load. Check out here. […]

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