5 Excellent DIY Fabric Softeners With Something For Everyone

photos of various homemade fabric softenerss

How To Make The Best Homemade Fabric Softeners

To this day, one of my favorite DIY products I’ve shared since I started this blog all those years ago is homemade laundry detergent. It’s easy to make, gentle on both clothes and skin, and has saved me “loads” of money over the years. But when it comes to laundry products you can make at home, detergent is just the tip of the iceberg!

I’ve experimented with dozens of other DIY laundry products, but none of them have gone through as many iterations, revisions, and tests as homemade fabric softeners! I’ve tried dozens of different liquid softeners, softening crystals, dryer sheets, and other varieties of fabric softeners, and I’ve finally managed to narrow my collection down to the five that I believe represent the “best of the best!”

Related: The Best Cleaning And Laundry Products You Can Make At Home

It never hurts to have options when it comes to keeping your laundry soft and snuggly, so I thought I’d share those five homemade fabric softeners with you today. So without further ado, here are my five best homemade fabric softeners!

The 5 Best DIY Fabric Softeners

homemade Fabric Softener Crystals sitting on a stack of towels

1. Fabric Softener Crystals

Fabric softener crystals are easy to use and add a nice, fresh scent to laundry, but they can be pretty pricey to buy at the store! In my DIY version, Epsom salt serves as the delivery system for naturally fragrant essential oils.

Together, they make a great natural fabric softener that will infuse your laundry with a scent you love without any synthetic fragrances that can aggravate allergies and irritate sensitive skin.

Learn how to make your own fabric softener crystals here.

homemade Liquid Fabric Softener sitting on top of a washing machine

2. Liquid Fabric Softener

Looking for a more traditional liquid fabric softener option? I’ve got you covered. This one only uses three ingredients, one of which gives it a powerful advantage over store-bought liquid fabric softeners.

Store-bought fabric softeners coat fabrics in a thin layer of chemical softeners, and over time, it can build up into a stubborn layer of water-resistant residue that can prevent your laundry from getting truly clean. The addition of vinegar in my DIY version actually breaks up that stubborn residue while helping to soften your clothes. It can also soften hard water and reduce static too!

Learn how to make your own liquid fabric softener here.

homemade Reusable Dryer Sheets in a basket on a table

3. Reusable Dryer Sheets

For me personally, it’s hard to beat the convenience of dryer sheets. And luckily those of us who prefer them to other types of fabric softeners, you can easily turn any liquid fabric softener (including #2 and #5 in this list) into a set of your very own reusable dryer sheets!

And not only do they do a great job of keeping laundry soft, but they help cut down on waste too. You can make them out of any kind of rag you have on hand, like old dishcloths, ripped up bed sheets, or even cut-up t-shirts.

Learn how to make your own reusable dryer sheets here.

colorful wool dryer balls on top of a basket of white towels

4. Wool Dryer Balls

There are a number of different ways to soften fabrics, but people rarely think about the ones that work by physical means. The best option in this category (at least in my humble opinion) is a set of wool dryer balls.

Dryer balls manually soften fabrics as they tumble around your dryer, and they also open up air pockets that improve airflow and reduce overall drying time. I like them so much that I have my very own set of dryer balls that are available in my online shop, but it’s easy enough to make your own if you want to go the homemade route.

Learn how to make your own felted wool dryer balls here.

homemade Rosemary Mint Fabric Softener in mason jars on a shelf

5. Rosemary Mint Fabric Softener

And last, but certainly not least, is a simple liquid fabric softener recipe that’s perfect for those who want something that smells nice! This one gets both its clean, herbaceous scent and its softening qualities from hair conditioner, of all things, and it couldn’t be easier to make.

Learn how to make your own rosemary mint fabric softener here.

What’s your favorite type of fabric softener?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Essential Oils

  • I do not use fabric softener as I have very sensitive skin and my doctor advised me to use it.
    I do use the hard plastic dryer balls, six of them, and they prevent static and soften the clothes.
    I hang out my wash when weather permits, and the wind softens the clothes, all but the towels. Those always go into the dryer.

  • I have been making my own laundry detergent for years and love it. I have also tried many recipes for fabric softener, but have been disappointed and always end up going back to straight vinegar. Lately the vinegar has not been cutting it, because of the time of year. I made your fabric softener and it has been amazing. No static cling and so, so soft! Thank you! Next I will be using it for dryer sheets as soon as they dry!

  • I’ve been using just white distilled vinegar with a few drops of essential oil in the rinse cup. As long as I don’t over dry the items, they come out of the dryer without static. My current favorite oil is clove as the scent seems to last longer.

  • I made my dryer balls out of a 100% wool sweater from a thrift shop. I “felted” it (washed in hot water) and cut into strips. Rolled and hand stitched as needed. I put the cute parts of the sweater on the outer layers.

  • Being in Colorado we have horrible static especially in the winter. I am not finding anything that really helps that except the store bought sheets. Any suggestions?

      • I also use all home made laundry products. I have a container that holds my fabric softer. (Homemade ) but I use sponges. Just squeeze out and throw in dryer. I have 5 s sponges soaking all the time. Thanks

  • I haven’t tried the dryer sheets yet, but am thinking that they would provide a great side-benefit of making the laundry room smell wonderful!
    On a less happy note, I’m having trouble finding real wool yarn to make the dryer balls. (I know I can buy them online, but really want to make some for gifts.) Even my nearby Michaels has only washable yarns (what a concept…needleworkers want to be able to WASH their creations! :o) ). Heading out to another large craft store today tho , so I shall “continue to persevere!” Love you, Jill!!

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