Homemade Fabric Refresher That’s A “Breeze” to Make!

fabric refresherThis is another of those “good things” I’ve been meaning to try for….forever!  I was reminded I hadn’t done so the other day when someone emailed me asking about it…again! I figured it must be time!

So I went into my vast collection of bookmarks and pulled up some recipes I had found online that looked promising. Problem was….I couldn’t decide which one to try. So I picked 3 and tried them all! :-)

Today was actually the ideal day to do this….because the boys inexplicably decided it was “room makeover” day. While they were rearranging and getting rid of old stuff…I decided a little fabric refresher definitely couldn’t hurt!  If you have boys….you know of what I speak. :-)

But before I went spraying all over their rooms…I decided we better do a “smell test” to see which of the three I made was the preferred potion.

I sprayed each of these throw pillows with a different concoction, let them air dry for a few minutes…then had them give each pillow a good SNIFF.


The results???

Recipe #1 was the hands down winner.

Mainly because it was the only one of the 3 that actually had a “smell” to it. The other two just smelled neutral. Which, depending on what you’re looking for in a “fabric refresher”, might be preferable. My boys, however, take after their mama and liked the nice-smelling one. :-)

So there you have it, our completely UNscientific test results. Take it, or leave it.  Here are the three “recipes” I used so you can conduct your OWN unscientific research. :-)


Recipe #1:

Adapted from Northern Cheapskate

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup distilled water
1/4 cup liquid fabric softener (Homemade or store-bought…your choice)

Pour each of the ingredients into spray bottle and give it a shake.


Recipe #2:

(for those who don’t wish to use commercial fabric softener)

Adapted from Cooke’s Frontier

1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup white distilled vinegar
10-20 drops of your choice essential oil (I used Lavender)

You can also replace the rubbing alcohol with cheap vodka and it works just as well.


Recipe #3:

(another “natural” version)

Adapted from The Cents’able Shoppin

1 cup  distilled water
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
8-10 drops essential oil (I used Lavender….again)

Put ingredients in spray bottle and shake it up.


Now you are armed and ready to

go forth and REFRESH!!



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  1. Jennifer says

    I keep seeing these on Pinterest and I wonder what they would do to your furniture, etc. long term? Does it leave any kind of film or stickiness or anything? It seems like it would draw dirt and dust to stick to it more. Especially the one that uses liquid fabric softener.

    BTW, I believe fabric softener was invented to make clothes that are line dried softer. We don’t need it for clothes that go in the dryer (although I think most people do use it because it smells nice lol). I actually never use it – I put white vinegar in a downy ball and toss it in there. It’s great for washing diapers since you can’t use fabric softener and I frequently line dry them. It works well and it’s waaay cheaper.

  2. Karrie says

    I’m so excited to try this. I’ve been using a recipe I found at “Fake It Frugal”. Have you ever seen that blog? I love it. That recipe uses baking soda, downy, and water. I like it but the baking soda clogged up the sprayer. Can’t wait to try your recipe. BTW I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!

  3. Brandon Edwards says

    Another tip for Recipe #1 if you don’t want to use commercial fabric softener is to use your homemade fabric softener in its place….that is what we do. We also add 1-2 Tbl of baking soda to the mix and just use hot water as the filler…now you’ve got me wanting to try it with vinegar too. After I got home from work last night, my fiance told me I need to whip her up a batch of “Febreeze” *haha* so now I suppose I shall be off to experiment with these new recipes/ideas. Thanks a million!

    • says

      I was wondering the same thing about using this as a fabric softener. I have been using the homemade laundry detergent recipe and have a complex because I read some places that say after a while the clothes get a musty smell and to put vinegar in the clothes to stop that from happening.

  4. Stephanie says

    I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I love it!

    I have seen the #1 recipe on many blogs and pinterest and have been hesitant to try it because I was a bit worried about it leaving a film or build up on fabrics and furniture. Have you found this to be a problem or is it much more like Febreze? Thank you.

  5. Amber says

    Hi!! I just HAD to leave you a comment letting you know how much I’m LOVING your blog!! I have been sitting here for the last 2 hours while my hubby’s next to me watching the race, reading post after post after post of all of the great things you make! I keep interrupting his excitement of left turns with “Did you know I can make….out of…..?!” (however, he is nowhere near as thrilled as I am, pssh…men, huh?). I recently dove head first into homemaking anything that can be homemade and I will be following your blog from now on. Thanks so much for all of the great info!!

  6. Annalisa says

    Like other commenters, I too am wondering what recipe number one does to your fabrics. Does it stain? Does it leave a film? As for numbers 2 and 3, which you say smell neutral, do they not smell like vinegar or essential oil? I’m confused.

  7. Krys says

    I just mixed this up and I don’t like the smell of it so far. I used cuddle soft fabric softener and it didnt smell so good. I added some of the downy unstoppables to it so hopefully that changes it a bit when they dissolve. I need to experiment on this one I guess and see if any other fabric softeners give me the smell that I am looking for.

  8. Julie D. says

    I would think that the fabric softener could leave an oily residue, it does in the washer if you happen to pour it directly on clothes. I have done that before! The essential oil could do it as well, expecially on light fabrics.

  9. Laurie says

    Re: recipe #1… 1/4 cup of liquid fabric softener is approximately the amount you would use for an entire wash load if you were adding it to your washer — and at that ratio of softener-to-water, it scents the whole wash load very nicely. To wit: might any potential “oily” fabric effects be eliminated or diminished by using LESS of the liquid softener to scent this homemade fabric refresher? A quarter cup of Downy in a solution that is only 1 1/4 cups total seems a bit of overkill to me on both the frugality and freshening fronts!

    Re: recipes #2 and #3… I like the idea of adding rubbing alcohol to the mixture, which would presumably help it dry more quickly, thus decreasing the time that your family has to stand around waiting to be able sit down! I find myself wondering if I could combine the ideas/ingredients of the three recipes to make a fabric refresher that a) doesn’t stain fabric, b) still smells nice, and c) dries quickly….

  10. Meghan says

    i have been using homemade fabric refresher for awhile now i use recipe 1 but instead of vinegar i use baking soda.. think i may try the vinegar tho see if i like that better altho im in love with what i have now! i havent noticed any staining or residue left on anything the only thing ive noticed is i have black sheets on my bed and when i spray my bed with it it leaves white water marks on the sheets (not sure if this is from the baking soda or the fabric softner or both!) but ive gotten into the habit of just using my hand and wiping my sheets and that usually takes care of that problem :) also be very careful if you accidently spray this on laminet floors because they get very VERY slippery! trust me on this! lol i just wipe it up right away with a rag and im good to go! this is honestly one of thee best homemade things i have ever tried.. i have a slight obsession with it! its extremely cheap to make as well so what can it hurt to try? hope this cleared up some of the questions you guys had!

  11. Meghan says

    ok so after testing my old version of this (1/2 c fabric softener 2 Tbsp baking soda and i filled the rest of the 32 oz bottle with water) with recipe #1 i have to say i like this waaaayyy better the smell last longer with vinegar than with the baking soda and it also seems to actually remove odors better! i did dilute it a bit more than the 1/2 c water i just filled the rest of my bottle (roughly 32 oz)… ahhh my house smells amazing! :) thanks again for all the great ideas jillee!!!!

  12. mandy says

    Thank YOU! Appreciate your detective work….saved me a whole lotta time! I mixed up #1 and sprayed it last night with no one in the room. When my 17-year old, fragrance astute daughter walked through the room without pause, I asked her sensitive nose if it noticed a fragrance in the room. To which she replied, clean clothes! BINGO!!! None of my sons noticed a difference, but that is okay, they don’t “notice” their own fragrance either!

    Keep up the GREAT recommendations and wonderful things that make life more user friendly, budget conscience, health aware (w/out going overboard) and *f*u*n*!

  13. emma wade says

    I have found Korean Soju (clear distilled liquor) at my local store for $2 per 12 oz. I used this in a home made cleaner in place of vodka or r. alcohol. Just thought I would give “good things” readers another alternative.

  14. Jamie says

    Using vodka instead of rubbing alcohol smells much better but both will help the mist dry. I’ve tried both and the vodka smells like nothing and works better IMHO. I make mine with vodka, water and essential oils.

  15. says

    I bought some fabric softener just this morning to make this. I absolutely love your blog. I have a question for you. My daughter told me that she read, if you take a washcloth and soak it in fabric softener and let dry completely, that you can use that washcloth as fabric softener for around 30 loads of laundry. Have you heard of this? I told her I was going to try it. I had crocheted a fluffy bathscrubby the other day. I didn’t quite care for it as a bathscrubby, but it will do the trick for this as I will be able to spot it in the dry laundry and set aside for the next load.

  16. Justeena says

    I made the no-grate detergent, the fabric softener, and this last night. All turned out amazing except this febreeze. I followed the intructions to recipe #1 to a T, making it with the homemade softener I just made but it smelt so much like vinegar it was unbelievable. I added more water and softener and it STILL smells like vinegar (which happens to be a smell my fiance cannot stand). Any advice?

    • says

      Justeena…I thought it was just me! I made #1 too using the amounts directed and the only thing I can really smell is the vinegar.

      I was hoping to spray this on my clothes as well to give them that extra clean smell but I don’t want to walk around smelling like a salad lol

  17. Steele says

    I mix up vodka [left over from making vanilla, mint, almond extract], a bit of water, and essential oil. A few sprays will do ya and it doesn’t leave a residue. I’ve used alcohol also, but the scent doesn’t seem to last as long as using the vodka. Any cheap vodka will do.

  18. Tiffany says

    Use less vinegar!!! My boyfriend came in after I doubled the water and softener and sprayed the bedroom carpet and the first thing he said was what smells like vinegar??? I filled the rest of the bottle with water and it was fine. Lol

  19. Jordan says

    My favorite mix for getting any smell out of anything ( i found this mix when my cat peed on my sofa) and it really really does work it this….baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, little bit of dish soap and a small amount of vinegar, the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide being the mail ingredients. drench the area in the mixture and then let air dry. any residual baking soda just vacuum up when its completely dry and viola! smell be gone!

  20. Julie Ann Friedemann says

    Yikes! What did I do wrong and how do I fix it. I mixed up recipe #1 and it is so strong of vinegar. Should I add more fabric softener (which I made from Jillee’s rosemary mint softener recipe) or increase water?

  21. Mary says

    I tried this with the home made fabric softener, and it just smell like vinegar all the way. I tried fixing it with more water and more fabric softener, still smell like vinegar. I tried add some dishwashing soap and still smell like vinegar, at the end I pour it down the drain. I had to run to the store and buy glade to disguise the smell of vinegar or hubby will freakout. :( I bet its better with the commercial fabric softener.

  22. Ro says

    I make mine with Suave hair conditioner Lilac scent, I out in 1/2 bottle condtioner and 1-1/2 cup vinegar with 6 cups water, the smell is amazing but you can use any scent conditioner they have and it works greaat.

  23. Jean says

    OK, I just made recipe #1, and thought…hey, let’s make it even better by adding the baking soda too! Well, anyone who has elementary kids, and has made a volcano knows what happens when you add baking soda and vinegar!!! LoL I’m just glad I was mixing it in the bathroom sink!

  24. Trisha says

    I am going to purchase some fabric softener at the store and give this a try again. I made this today AS WELL as the homemade fabric softener (Which I am trying in my wash right now) but to use it as a fabric refresher, there just wasn’t enough smell and my couch and chair now smell like vinegar! haha… But I am going to give this a try again when I pick up some fabric softener at the store. I am going to keep making my own (If I like how my clothes turn out this time). I normally don’t use fabric softener because it’s too harsh on my children’s skin, so hopefully this homemade one will work good. =)

  25. Tiff in Utah says

    I tried some today that I absolutely LOVE! I just put a Tbsp or so of the Pink Downy Unstopables in a spray bottle and filled it most of the way with hot water and then added about 3 Tblsp or so of alcohol. I shook it up until the beads were mostly dissolved. I sprayed it on my carpet and my couches then left to take my husband to the airport and came back 3 hours later and my house smells wonderful still. My furniture smells great also! I am a freak about yummy smelling things. I am now going to try to make some with essential oils and see how I like that. Thanks for all of the inspiration! I just made your liquid laundry soap with a few additions but absolutely love it and even more….I love the price!

  26. Chrystal says

    I just made recipe 1, but added in a few drops of tea tree oil and about 1/2 cup vodka and omg this smells wonderful. St first it still had a little bit of sour smell from the vinegar, but once it dries that goes away. Thanks for the tip!

    • says

      I’m not sure the Purex crystals would work the same as the liquid fabric softener in this case…but it would be worth a try. You can definitely smell the vinegar when you spray but the smell dissipates pretty quickly.

  27. Rande says

    I’ve been using a combination of the 3 recipes. A recipe I came up with myself. My son tweaked it a little bit the last batch now its perfect. Vinegar, baking soda and fabric softener. Just make sure that the baking soda is dissolved really well or it will clog the pump of a spray bottle. My other son has major allergies and he has no issues with this at all.

  28. Alena says

    Thanks for all the wonderful diy solutions to our home. I enjoyed reading your blog – keep up the good work. Pictures are well taken and instructions are clear. I’ve “pinned” many of your works!

  29. Jaime says

    I just whipped up a batch of #1, but instead of fabric softener (I don’t use a liquid one and have a dryer bar in the dyer), so I used 20 drops of essential oil. I used peace & calming by Young Living, as that is what was in a kit my dad gave me. I also used apple cider vinegar, because I ran out of the white while making the kitchen magic cleaner (I was 2oz short there an used acv). I think it smells pretty nice, and plan on trying it in my 11m son’s crib (a VERY light spraying, as it is strong, but had to add 20 drops to counteract the acv smell).

    Lately in the late part of the mornings he has been so grumpy, probably because of teething & wonder weeks, so this sprayed on the carpet should help with that. Plus it will be great when we go on trips and he’s in something that’s not familiar, this will calm him down and help him relax & sleep. So thank you for posting these, it will save so much on fabric spray!

    Have you ever tried to use it as an air spray? I also have a purification blend that would be great in the bathroom after those not-so-rosy-smelling uses.

  30. says

    I tried #2, and just added extra essential oil….and it worked GREAT! I don’t use fabric softener, but I LOVE my essential oils, so it was the one I had all the ingredients on hand. I found TWO (not one, but TWO) rotten apples hidden in my sons room, and the stink would NOT go away. I mixed this stuff up and sprayed it where I found the apples and a little into the air and POOF the stink was gone.


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