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This homemade fabric softener recipe is so easy to make and the resulting product is truly effective. We moved to an area with very hard water and I found myself buying fabric softener, something I had never bothered with before. Without adding it to my laundry I felt like our clothes were rough and scratchy, even when I used the dryer.

One of the great things about this natural fabric softener is that you can make it as fragrant as you wish. Personally, I have a pet peeve against people who smell like their fabric softener. I hate chemical smells and it always amazes me that people enjoy them. When you make your own fabric softener, you can scent it as you wish with essential oils. Or if you’re like me, you can just skip the scent – don’t worry the vinegar smell does not stay.

In truth, the vinegar is what cleans the last bits of laundry detergent and scum off of your clothes, before being rinsed away itself. So not only are your clothes going to get softened by the baking soda, they’re going to come out cleaner than ever with the vinegar.

Warning: Do follow the directions when mixing this up. Although not a dangerous chemical reaction, mixing baking soda with vinegar releases a lot of carbon dioxide gas. If you don’t mix them together in a large enough container, you risk a mess.

Actually making homemade fabric softeners is a lot of fun and if you have kids, I know they want to help!

Homemade Fabric Softener

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 6 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 8 cups water
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Large clean bucket (preferably one with a spout for easy pouring, or you can use a funnel)
  • Clean bottle(s) for storing
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Put the baking soda in the bottom of the clean bucket. Add one cup of water and stir to combine.

Slowly add the vinegar – this is the fun fizzy part.

Complete with the rest of the water.

Once the fizz has died down, pour your fabric softener into conveniently sized bottles. I use 1-1/2 liter water bottles, but you could also use well-rinsed milk bottles or even an empty bottle of store-bought fabric softener. (Although you won’t be having any of those lying around once you give this recipe a try!)

You can add a few drops of essential oil to scent your fabric softener as you wish.

Use 1 cup in the rinse cycle of your washing machine and ENJOY!

Health Note

By making your own fabric softener, you are not only saving yourself money, but you’re also avoiding exposure to potentially harmful (and certainly unnecessary) industrial chemicals. Cleaning with vinegar is economical and harmless for you and the environment.

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Mary Ann

I'm a mom of 3 and spend a good chunk of my time cleaning and organizing our crazy home. My goal is to help people keep their homes tidy in a way that saves them time and money! I hope the resources on this site are a help to you and your family.

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