This Easy Homemade Fabric Softener Cleans As It Softens

fabric softeners

Looking for a homemade fabric softener that’s easy to make and works great? Then give yourself a pat on the back, because you’ve come to the right place!

I’ve tried and tweaked dozens of different homemade fabric softeners over the past decade of my blogging career, and some have been better than others. The one I’ll be sharing with you in this post is my favorite of the liquid fabric softeners I’ve tried, both for its simplicity and its effectiveness!

The thing I like most about this formula is that it doesn’t coat fabrics with chemical softeners like most commercial fabric softeners do. It actually helps remove detergent and softener buildup, getting them cleaner and leaving them naturally softer.

Give it a try and experience the difference for yourself!

How To Make A Homemade Fabric Softener

fabric softeners

Ingredients:

4 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable glycerin

fabric softeners

Directions:

Combine white vinegar, water, and glycerin in a large container. (Any empty jug or bottle that’s easy to pour out of will work just fine!)

Replace the lid and shake well to mix.

fabric softeners

How To Use

Give the bottle a good shake before each use to remix the ingredients, as they may separate over time. Then before starting a wash load, pour 1/2 cup of your homemade fabric softener into your washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser, then wash as usual.

fabric softeners

How Does It Work?

The combination of white vinegar and vegetable glycerin in this homemade fabric softener recipe helps keep fabrics clean and soft in a couple of different ways.

Vinegar is the primary component, which naturally softens laundry by dissolving detergent buildup and other and residues that may have settled in the fibers of the fabric over time. Vinegar also softens hard water, which can help boost the effectiveness of your laundry detergent.

Because vegetable glycerin is hygroscopic, meaning that it can absorb moisture from the air, it is often used in lotions and beauty products as a moisturizing and softening component. It also works wonderfully when used to soften fabrics, and you don’t even need to use very much of it!

homemade Fabric Softener Crystals sitting on a stack of towels

A Note About Fragrance/Scent

This simple fabric softener recipe is both easy to make and really works to eliminate odors and leave your laundry cleaner and softer. While I don’t have a problem with using an unscented formula like this, some people may miss the fragrance factor.

In that case, I recommend checking out my homemade fabric softener crystals, which are great for infusing your fabrics with the aromas of your favorite essential oils. Or if you’d rather go the store-bought route, there are several different scent booster products to choose from in the laundry aisle these days, including Downy Unstopables, Downy Infusions, Gain Fireworks, Arm & Hammer Clean Scentsations, and others.

The way I see it, treating fabric softening and laundry scent as two distinct things has its advantages versus using a scented fabric softener. The first is that my homemade fabric softener actually removes residues, rather than contributing to them like some store-bought fabric softeners do.

The second advantage is that it’s much easier to control how much or how little scent ends up on your clothes! Food for thought. :-)

What is your favorite method for softening laundry?

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Jill Nystul Photo

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

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  • I made this fabric softener to use in my downy balls. Since I had the ingredients on hand most I use for DIY detergent it seems like I spent no money to make it. I love it, my clothes came out fresh and soft. I used Gain Scent Boosters, I am gain person. Thanks for Sharing!

  • Just wanted to add my 2 cents. I just made the no grate easy detergent recipe using dish liquid. I tripled the ingredients and made it more concentrated and then, because I was disappointed there wasn’t much scent, I added a scoop of scent crystals (Purex) to each. They dissolved right into the detergent, made it more blue…and it smells heavenly. Now, I have the scent with my detergent and I can just use plain old vinegar as a softener. I sort of combined the best of both worlds. :) Thanks for continued inspiration!

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  • I love the scent of fabric softener, but refuse to pay the price for the really good stuff. I do tons of laundry(6 dogs and two adults). I was making the home made softener with conditioner but plain vinegar was even cheaper. I was still using the purex crystals on my shirts and delicates anyway. I took the above recipe and mixed it up in a two gallon pitcher instead of several bowls and added water to make 2 full gallons. Works great, smells fantastic. If u want to make it do double duty, after u clean the commode, pour some in and let stand especially if guests r coming. Bathroom will smell great until someone flushes!

    • Oh, this also makes a great spot spray for the carpet(remember the 6 dogs) BUT, dilute the mixture enuff to fade the blue coloring(I use the blue purex crystals) and blot, blot blot(I stomp on the issue several times using a clean towel). really helps with the faint odor. I was using vinegar and water anyway for accidents, so why not add a little fragrance. Test on ur carpet first, please!

  • I am new to the DIY stage, and OnegoodthingbyJillee.com has been my go-to site for almost everything! I like the DIY fabric softener cloths that Jillee posted, AND also her post of just using white distilled vinegar with some Lemon EO in the fabric softener dispenser – that works great as well, so this NEW post about mixing the vinegar, baking soda and scent crystals is yet ANOTHER great idea! Can’t wait to try it!

    • no longer new to DIY and I use onegoodthing…all the time. I have saved tons of money on everyday stuff, particularly cleaners/laundry, etc. And I found it takes no more time than running to the store(and i get to watch Law and order reruns until I can quote the dialogue verbatim). Have fun with it and experiment. One of my favorite spray cleaners is just plain ole Dawn and water in an old windex bottle. cleans everything!

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  • Tried this once, only with the. Downy Unstoppables. Next time I will try the Pyrex. Crystals. I read that someone used. Downy so I figured it would work. The softener started out this light tan/pink color which I expected. It is now a very DARK brown. It looks disgusting and leaves color streaks on my whites. Still smells amazing though…really disappointed. Not sure if this has happened to anyone else.

  • […] Fabric Softener – I liked this recipe because I had some Purex Crystals leftover and it worked very well. Not a strong scent – just softness with a clean subtle scent. The vinegar tones down the stronger scent of the crystals. Note:  If you are really cheap, one cup of vinegar alone in the rinse cycle works well also, but leaves a no scent at all. I think this works better and leaves  just enough scent to say “I’m Clean!”. […]

  • Hi Jill,

    May I know do you have any natural remedy way that I can make my white bed linen whiter? I have tried many ways but they still yellow patches in the center of it!

    Thanks for your sharing and truly appreciates!

  • Am reading your website for first time and love it. I have very hard well water and I’ve always used white vinegar in a Downey ball in the rinse cycle. Keeps my washing machine clean and my clothes are just fine. Tho’ reading your tips I might just add epsom salt to wash & rinse and see what happens.

    Also, I dry my clothes on the “low” heat settings ALL the time and my clothes don’t get “cooked” in the dryer. I set it for 30 min. for most stuff and maybe 50 for towels? It’s much easier to hit reset than have clothes overly dried and all icky.

  • […] yet another great money saving idea from One Good Thing by Jillee. The recipe for making your own fabric softener is so simple and I just love the […]

  • Ok Im a bit confused because chemically baking soda neutralizes vinegar. Elementary school chemistry teaches us that or have you all forgotten the baking soda and vinegar volcano. All that bubbling is the baking soda ( an alkaline base) neutralizing the acidic vinegar. So mixing the two really neutralizes each and you end up with a neutral liquid that has no cleaning effect beyond that of normal water. Eliminate the baking soda, it serves no purpose in fabric softener.

    • The problem of hard water is not limited to the laundry and the softness of fabric. Think of your dishwasher, faucets, your skin (shower), etc…, but most importantly, your Water Heater.

      If you’ve ever looked inside a kettle that’s been well used for several years, you’ll see a lot of tan colored scale that is pretty thick. This same coating of deposits builds up inside your water heater. This makes it more difficult for the external heating element, either gas or electric, to heat the water. And when it takes longer to heat the water, it costs a lot more money in doing so.

      For about $800, you can install a whole house water softener and water filter combination that sits inline after the water enters the house. The softened/filtered water is then supplied to the water heater and every faucet in the house. This eliminates the need for “fabric softener”, as the water is already softened.

      And if you still want the laundry smelling better….you can still add Vinegar and Crystals…no baking soda, or just water and crystals. I prefer vinegar and crystals, as it will eliminate odors not just mask them.

    • Having read Crystal’s post, I decided to look up a few things..

      White Vinegar is more acidic with a PH of about 2.6
      Baking Soda has a PH of Baking Soda is 8.2

      When the two are combined, the Acetic Acid in Vinegar reacts with the Bicarbonate Ion of the Baking Soda to form Carbonic Acid. The Carbonic Acid decomposes into Carbon Dioxide and Water. So you have essentially neutralized White Vinegar (or some portion of it).

      Exactly how much Baking Soda will neutralize 6 cups of Acetic Acid (White Vinegar)….I don’t know. Maybe there’s a Chemistry Teacher on board that can chime in.

  • […] decided to make my own fabric softener the other day.  I got the recipe and idea from One Good Thing by Jillie.  However, I tweaked mine just a bit, since I have allergies to dust […]

  • I have been using plain white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser in my washer since my oldest was born….over 36 years ago. I started using it when washing the cloth diapers. My thinking: cotton is soft when it’s harvested. So cotton diapers should also be soft – the stiffness is from soap residue. I could either rinse the laundry twice or use vinegar to cut the soap residue. It’s worked perfectly all the time. It doesn’t matter whether I dry my clothes in the dryer or on the line outside. They come out fresh-smelling (no vinegar smell) and soft every time. The freshness lasts for months, too. Plus, I’ve saved a TON of money!

  • Thanks for expressing your ideas. I’d also like to say that video games have been at any time evolving. Today’s technology and innovative developments have made it simpler to create sensible and fun games. These entertainment games were not actually sensible when the concept was being attempted. Just like other areas of technological know-how, video games too have had to progress by way of many many years. This itself is testimony towards the fast growth of video games.

  • My husband is allergic to a lot of things and laundry/fabric softner is one of many thngs. We use the All white bottle and Downy white bottle. How could I make this receipe without any scent but keep the “softness” of the fabric softner.

    BTW I’m new to going green as much as possible.

  • I’m sure someone may have asked this already, but, instead of using Purex, Downey or Gain crystals, would the Epsom salts softer you came up with work as a substitute?

  • I eliminate all these things and use essential oils and a laundry ball from http://www.smartklean.com which I bought half price in a grocery store. I wasn’t gonna buy one, as I researched it and there is a lot of naysaying abotu these babies, but seems to work for us!Even my skeptical sister loves it.. I can’t believe how my laundry is soft and clean.. It is true the scent is very subtle, nearly undetectable, but I like the hassle free experience of eliminating chemicals I can’t pronounce, jars and bottles and liquids and sheets….. =)

  • Made mine today and used your recipe for scent crystals with the Epsom salt. Lemon/Orange. Yummy. So very easy. Thanks for always having such great idea. I use dryer balls as well, this seems to soften my clothes just that much more.

  • I have SUPER sensitive skin, and can’t use dryer sheets. I even have to use the “baby” laundry detergents. Does anyone know if this recipe, and the laundry detergent recipe are safe for “babies”?

    • Yes, they are both safe for CDing as neither contain detergents or oils (dawn is actually used to strip, so it’s safe). I’ve been using it VERY successfully. If your little one reacts to anything, it will be the dye and perfume of the scented crystals. But for me, so far, so good. For those extra heavy loads, I use the no-grate recipe as a pre-rinse in cold, followed by a hot wash using my homemade powdered “soap” (washing and baking soda, plus borax and oxiclean) in the main wash. Plain water rinse, followed by fabric softener (which I just dissolve scent crystals into vinegar). Works for me. Hope that helps! :) (PS: I have soft water, which makes a BIG difference.)

  • Hi Jill; I wanted to thank you for all your ideas and recipes of homemade soap ect…..my resolution this year was to stop shopping stuff in plastic bottles!!! and with all your ideas, I am done!! this is so great to not throwing all those bottles that contamined the environement!! every time, I fell ashamed of doing this…OMG and now you save me from this culpability!!! wish ya happy and healthy year to you and your family!!!

    sincerely; Rosie

  • This sounds like a very good and cheap idea.
    I am now using 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar to my laundry for a fabric softener, but will try this recipe as soon as I go grocery shopping the end of the month.
    I now use your Liquid Laundry detergent and am amazed at how clean my clothes are.
    I even use the detergent to clean my kitchen walls after they had become a bit sticky from so much deep fried foods being prepared in there. It does a good job on the cabinets and the Formica on the walls is cleaner than ever.
    Thanks for the recipes!
    I love to save money and I also like stuff that works well without a lot of elbow grease being used too.
    I am always looking for better recipes for laundry and these are great as far as I am concerned.

  • Some people are commenting on static in the dryer. I read recently (can’t remember where) that keeping a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer cuts the static. So far, so good over here! I use vinegar in a Downy ball for fabric softener and haven’t yet attempted a scent, but the clothes are soft and no static! Hope this helps someone!

  • Does anyone know if the Purex Crystals coat towels so they are less absorbent? It is recommended not to use fabric softener on them so I would like to try this recipe.

  • I am making both the ‘year of laundry soap’ and the fabric softner tonight. Kind of wish I wasn’t caught up on laundry. (Just kidding) My brother, a single father of 4 kids loves the ‘No Grate’ laundry soap. Won’t even think about going to anything else. Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for your wonderful ideas and helping so many in my family and my church family save money. I make sure to give you the credit. Keep up your amazing work!

  • I tried this out, and while I LOVED the frangrance, this definately does separate as it sits like Jillee says. I shook it up before I poured it in my dispenser at the beginning of the wash, but it had separated again in the dispenser by the time the rinse cycle began, so it was clogging up my dispenser. So, I decided to tweak the recipe a little bit. I used the Gain Unstopables mixed with just vinegar. The Unstopables don’t separate as it sits like the Purex Crystals and baking soda do.

  • I use lavender flowers soaked in white vinegar. The smell is awesome when it comes out of the dryer. Not to mention the vinegar leaves my clothes soft, and you cant smell it with the lavender mixed in. With a houseful of boys I love being able to make my own laundry soaps and softeners that actually work better than any commercial brand I have tried. Thanks for posting I love hearing all your great ideas, Jillie!

  • I am about to mix up my third batch of this, and I just wanted to share my observations. I made the first batch exactly as written, and I had the same clumping issues as one of the previous posters. After considering the whole issue of whether the baking soda even still maintains its properties after the mixing, I decided to try the solution without it.

    My second batch was made just using the crystals, hot water, and vinegar. It worked as well or better than the first mix, in my opinion! I love love love it!

    I also switched from the grated liquid laundry soap to the recipe using Dawn about halfway through the second batch of softener, and I have to say that they are a great team. I think I have found my “go to” laundry lineup now. Thanks Jillee!!!

  • I just make my first batch of Fabric Softener! It as so easy. I’ve got my load of towels in the dryer now so hopefull they will come out nice and fluffy too.

  • I love the idea but curious if this will work with my washer since I don’t have a fabric softener dispenser in my cheapo apartment washer… Would I have to add it at “the right time” whenever that is or would it be okay to toss it in at the start of the load? I’m lazy and not sure I would be dedicated to using a timer for the right time… Suggestions welcome!

  • iam having a problem with the softner i put in the softner dispensor it has been clumping in the bottom and not doing what is suppose to! I have an HE top loader and it wieghts clothes before washing had to take out dispenser and all the stuff was clump in there is there any thing to keep it fron separating? anyone?

    • I had the same issue… I use Downy Unstopables mixed with just vinegar, no baking soda. Works well for me and it doesn’t separate like the Purex Crystals and baking soda do.

  • put it in my fabric softner container and it it clogs up my softner cotainer have any ideas how to fx this had to take out container it was all clumped down to the bottom i have a HE washer any suggestions

    • I had the same issue… I use Downy Unstopables mixed with just vinegar, no baking soda. Works well for me and it doesn’t separate like the Purex Crystals and baking soda do.

  • I made this and it didn’t work….after the clothes come out they don’t even smell… Not happy with this or your body wash either…Think twice before making this if you don’t want to waste $$$

  • I need help my son is allergic to corn and it is made into vinegar. I don’t know if it will irritate his skin, don’t want to risk it. Has anyone used this recipe and tried apple vinegar? Thanks, Christina

    • My son also has randomly weird allergies and I have had to go outside the box in how we make things. You can put plain Apple Cider Vinegar into the softener slot, or add it to the rinse cycle and it will do the same thing as a softener. However, if you want the smell of traditional store bought softeners, I am not sure if you can use it in this type of recipe. But you could always try it plain or in the recipe and see if you like it. After the clothes dry you should not be able to smell the vinegar at all. Hope this helps :)

    • DH used to be allergic to corn among other things (allergy shots for several years helped him), Even though he was allergic to corn he was told corn oil wasn’t a problem. You might under doctor supervision do some type of test to see if vinegar is a problem.

  • Love this site! Been reading about the homemade liquid laundry detergent (using Dawn) and the fabric softener and can’t wait to buy the ingredients and try them both! However, has anyone tried using the beverage dispensers with the spouts for easy storage and measuring? Thanks! And, Jillee, congrats on your years of recovery and the victory you win every day! Thanks for this awesome web site!

    • I have used the beverage dispensers with the spouts. I thought they looked nice and would work well. First of all they do look nice and they do work well, the only issue is that when I kinda shook my containers to make sure the laundry soap and fabric softner was mixed well I ended up making a small crack in the bottom of the container. This was not an issue until I hadn’t done laundry in a while and I then walked into a big wet mess. If you are using the beverage containers make sure they are a REALLY REALLY thick material because the mess sucked! I spent a good fifteen dollars on each of them and only one cracked. Just a heads up…. it is a great idea though!
      In the end I used a gallon container from the vinager and it worked well.

  • I am new to the make it yourself stuff. This is the first recipe i tried for a fabric softener. First off let me start by saying i can only wash in cold water. Long story short 120+ year old house =bad plumbing in an area i can not reach to fix. To add to that problem I also have very hard heavy water here. I still use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer i like a little more smell and i have too much static. I have a pet peeve about musty mil-dewy smelling anything! This stuff is amazing! I don’t have to throw out and buy new towels and wash cloths any more works great on getting the build up off of my other clothes as well! Thank you so much!

  • I made a batch this morning, and am on my second load with it. I LOVE this fabric softener. I started making my own laundry detergent earlier this year, and though I love the cleaning power and the cost, I did miss the scent of store bought. Thanks for this recipe!

  • I LOVE this as a fabric softener, but I also like that the vinegar and baking soda each have the added benefit of mantainin my HE washer … disinfecting, deoderizing, and freshening. My laundry smells great, but the towels DRY BETTER without the residue build-up from store bought fabric softeners. Oh, and the Septic Man said that the vinegar and baking soda is MUCH bette for our septic system an drain field, too. THANKS SO MUCH!!

  • Thanks for the great recipe! The scent is great. I’ve recently started using just vinegar in my fabric softener dispenser (HE Front Loader) and that does work great (immediately the funny smell I’d noticed disappeared) but since I had made my own laundry detergent sans scent I was missing that fresh scent. For those questioning about static cling, I’ve always been in the camp of fabric softener and dryer sheets. I am interested in doing away with dryer sheets and a friend recently shared with me you can take a wash cloth and dip it in fabric softener and then let dry…throw it in the dryer with your clothes and reuse until the scent and softening effect are gone. I’ve not tried it yet but once my sheets are gone I plan on it with this softener I just made.
    Thanks again Jillee….love your tips!!!

  • Is this safe to use when you are doing a load of whites with bleach? I had read that you couldn’t mix bleach and vinegar because it causes toxic fumes.

      • My grandmother always told me that if you use bleach in the main wash, to use vinegar in the rinse to “deactivate” the bleach, (ie, neutralizes the pH). This also lessens the harshness of bleach on clothes and gets rid of any residual bleach smell. I have a super-sensitive nose, and this has worked every time. I’m also an asthmatic and have to stay FAR away from the washer on the rare occasion I use bleach. The vinegar rinse lets me safely get near the washer again. ;) Hope this helps!

  • It seems to me that the baking soda and vinegar would “undo” each other. Since they react and neutralize each other, I’m confused. Something about this obviously works as there are so many positive remarks, but I’m wondering if you do need both, or if you just added something scented to vinegar if it would be the same? I’m already using vinegar, but still use a dryer sheet for some scent. I would like to eliminate the dryer sheet from the mix!

    • I am also wondering about the effectiveness… Have been using this recipe and while the scent is nice, I am detecting a bit more static when I dry– compared to when I use just straight vinegar as my fabric softner. Is anyone else noticing a difference? Can Jilee please address this concern about the baking soda cancelling out the softening effect of the vinegar????

  • I also have used a different concoction of this water softener…I did not know to use the baking soda making a new batch today…ALSO>. very handy and old suave hair conditoner was my scent and I use the bottle to “squirt” into the water dispenser…It works perfectly…

  • Hi, Jillee! I absolutely love your blog! It’s the go-to blog for me for everything!!! I made this recipe and just finished using my first batch. I found that if I put it in the fabric softener dispenser, there’s a baking soda build-up in there and I had to dig it out. So, I now just put it in the wash cycle with my no-grate laundry soap and my clothes come out soft and smelling great!!! I love it! Thanks and keep those ideas coming!

  • Hi there,
    I’m a chemist and I’ve been seeing these these recipes mixing baking soda & vinegar all over and I thought I’d point out that the bubbles you see are a chemical reaction and what is left behind is a water solution of sodium acetate, which is a very weak base and offers not much in the way of fabric softening. Depending on when you purchased that bottle of Purex, it may account for any softening you notice. Purex crystal underwent a manufacturing change mid-year from being freshening/softening to just freshening. I found some information on the web from a great blogger such as yourself here:

    http://www.crunchybetty.com/diy-101-baking-soda-vinegar-not-so-much

    • I love chemists. I will be taking chemistry next year. I have been researching the chemistry of all this stuff. I would hope you could enlighten us more!! Thanks for your reply and please educate us!!

    • Hi All,

      I originally posted my recipe for this homemade fabric softener and had many of my readers ask the same question. I was a little disturbed about the confusing information regarding the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar and the end resulting chemical. I did a little more reading and I think I found some helpful info as to why sodium acetate is useful as a softener.

      It appears to reduce static electricity which is one of the main benefits of fabric softener – at least to me ;)

      From the website Wikipedia

      Link

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_acetate

      “Sodium acetate is used in the textile industry to neutralize sulfuric acid waste streams, and as a photoresist while using aniline dyes. It is also a pickling agent in chrome tanning, and it helps to retard vulcanization of chloroprene in synthetic rubber production. In processing cotton for disposable cotton pads, sodium acetate is used to eliminate the buildup of static electricity.”

      I hope this helps answer the baking soda – vinegar question. It eased my mind to know that I wasn’t imagining the “softening” effect.

      Happy washing!

      Poppy @ Poppy’s Money Tree House

  • Made this yesterday after I read the post and I love love love it!! I use the detergent in the make enough for one year psot and it has the purex crystals!! This is an awesome smelling fabric softener!! this will make my purex crystals last longer!!

  • I made and used this home-made fabric softener over the weekend and I have to say I’m a believer! It was super cheap and I’ll get a lot of product out of the stuff I purchased, super easy to make, and it works! My laundry was softer, smelled great, and had almost no static.

    Next on my list of things to try is the home-made laundry soap!

  • I found your site looking for a homemade laundry soap-I made the grated laundry soap which works great in my HE machine but missed the scent! I check your site everyday to see what you come up with next & made the fresh scent homemade fabric softener -I used downy unstoppables -which I had on hand to use in the wash before I saw your post for the fabric softener -I love the scent and the clothes are soft! (the scent is the same as using it in every load but it is nice to use 1/2 c for the entire batch of fabric softner instead of about 1/4 c every load!) I also made your dishwasher detergent (and vinegar for the rinse) & all purpose cleaner-which work great! The all purpose cleaner with a sprinkle of baking soda-even got the bicycle grease out of the bathroom sink (after the mess my daughter made!) Thank you for posting things that we can make and not have to purchase products that are just a bunch of chemicals! Now back to searching your site for what I can make next!

      • I did. I used wool sacks and cut up squares and soaked them in this solution. Then I let them dry in the sun. I have been using them for about a week and they seem to be working. No static and I love the scent ! =)

    • Hi Autumn! I actually have a few different laundry detergent recipes depending on your preferences. If you just types “laundry detergent” into the search bar near the top of the page you’ll be able to see all of them!

  • I am going to try this. I had to get new machines and the energy efficiency of using less water makes me think things don’t smell right or something. I’m boggled and frustrated. I tried softener and the smell is overwhelming. Maybe this will be the solution.

  • I am a total Jillee convert. I have made all of my home cleaning agents and love them. My husband loves it too, he’s an asthmatic and there are no harsh chemicals anymore. I was skeptical about this fabric softner business, but one trip to Walmart and 45 minutes later…I have towels in the wash right now! 45 minutes because I also whipped up laundry detergent too. I used a glass bowel to melt the downy crystals (I like their smell) and an empty vinegar bottle (I seem to have a few of those around these days:) The blue Oxyclean scoop works great as a measurement for the softener. Thanks Jillee!!

  • I dry most of my clothes on the line, but still put the towels in the dryer to keep them soft & fluffy. Will using this make them soft off the line, too? BTW…LOVE your site!!! You have such wonderful ideas, hints, and tips! Thanks!!!

  • I just made this with gain fireworks yesterday.. smells yummy! After reading the comment that it can gunk up the machine (even though I use a downey ball) I wonder if you could just dissolve the scent booster and add it to vinegar with no baking soda?

    • I actually do use the baking soda separate during the wash cylcle and everything else during the rinse cycle. I also have and HE washer so I just dump the bs on the clothes instead of putting it anywhere else. ;)

  • Hi Jillee,

    I love your blog and read it all the time. I have tried a similar recipe before and kept it in a jar that I could shake up. But what I found is that in just the amount of time that passes between starting the load and having the softener dispensed in the rinse cycle, the mixture separates.

    What I’ve ended up with is the vinegar goes into the rinse cycle and the baking soda piles up in the softener dispenser on my washer. It has taken a while to break it down. I love the idea of this stuff, but it really did gunk up my washer after a few weeks….

    Anyone else had this problem??? Any ideas??? I’ve just been using vinegar instead….. Thanks :)

    • I wonder if you could put this in a Downy ball instead of the washer dispenser? I was just going to try this and I have an HE washer also. But don’t want to if it gets the gunked up.

      • Add a scoop of baking soda to your washer directly, and then vinegar in the softener dispenser. Same effect, just at different points in the wash cycle. That is what I do, and my laundry is so soft. I omit the fragrance crystals, so that’s not an issue for me.

      • I bet if you just mixed the fragrance crystals with the vinegar and put it in the dispenser, and then put the baking soda in with the clothes it would be perfect! That’s what I’m going to try :)

    • I have an HE washer with the fab softner in the pull out drawer, this doesn’t happen at all for me as far as separation. If you have the type of washer where you put the mixture in the little “tub” on top of the agitator, then it could separate. Why not try making Jillie’s dryer sheets instead? (or run downstairs as soon as you hear that rinse cycle start ha ha )

  • This is another wonderful idea. I am wondering if you could still use this in homemade Febreeze. Or if just the dissolved Purex crystals would work? Just a thought.

  • Once again, Jillee, a wonderful laundry idea! However, I am again stumped as to how I am going to get this stuff to smell like Original Gain??? All the scent-booster things out there do not smell like the original scent of Gain. This doesn’t bother me so much – I’m not picky on how my laundry smells – but the man in my life is. I know, it’s so weird! I can understand, that when you spend your days smelling like sweat and dirt, you kinda want your clean laundry to smell as fresh as possible. Gain is his favorite and he said he would rather spend the money to get Gain fabric softener than for me to keep making it if it doesn’t smell like Gain. I told him he was nuts because making it saves so much money! Please HELP!!!

      • Unfortunately, they do not make Fireworks in Original scent. It only comes in “Sweet Sizzle”. I’ve never smelled them, so I don’t know if my fiancee would approve. I mean, it’s pointless to buy an entire bottle of the stuff if you don’t know if you like the way it smells. I think I might have to look into getting a free sample or something.

      • Cynthia,
        Take your fiancee to the store with you and let him smell the “Sweet Sizzle” and whatever other fragrances are available. Let him choose. Most of the bottles have some way for you to be able to smell them before making your purchase.

  • I’m so thrilled I came across your website on Pinterest! Thanks so much for all of your helpful tips. This may be more addicting than Pinterest itself!

    I have my own blogspot. I don’t have as much as you do. But I come up with as much creativity as I can.
    I love using old/used things, turning into new. And being on a budget I’m always trying to come up with different uses with “cheap” food.
    Thanks again for your inspiration.

  • Made this today using unstoppables! Smells fantastic and uses less of the downy product which is fantastic for the budget!!!

    Thanks for another hit!
    Oh and I made your nesquik recipe tonight too. Probably shouldn’t have! It was delish!!!

    You are such a blessing to me, thanks for pouring into so many lives with cost cutting measures!

  • You know the reaction takes away the vinegar and baking soda and leaves you with lots of water and sodium acetate. So any thing about the vinegar or baking soda benefits gets null and void at that point because you are left with something completely new (the water and sodium acetate).

    • I was thinking the same thing, although i didn’t know what the residual compound was called. I just use vinegar with essential oils since my homemade detergent already has washing soda! Thanks for pointing it out, Jill!

  • Do you like this softener better than the conditioner/vinegar one? I’ve been using the powdered mix with the crystals and it’d be nice to keep the same smell , even tho I found that Suave waterfalls match the Purex blue.

  • Once I saw this recipe I had to make it right away! It smells fantastic and makes my clothes ooohhh so soft and fresh~thanks for another great idea, and keep them coming!

  • This is the first time I have ever written to anyone. But your site has helped my family in so many ways. My nephew has celiac disease. A couple of years ago he was the youngest to have it in our state. You have saved us money. And my sister has multiple sclerosis. Because of your cleaning recipes she can breathe safely and we still can have a clean house. Her favorite scent is lavender,vanilla. And her favorite is Purex Crystals. She will be over joyed with this recipe! From the bottom of my heart I thankyou and all of the rest of you. I LLL (LOVE,LOVE,LOVE) your site. MY question is , can I use a Downey ball in my washer with all the ingredients inside?

  • I’m adding this to my ‘to-do’ list for the weekend – I just made your dryer balls last weekend and they turned out great but I was very frustrated by the amount of static when I pulled the laundry from the dryer. Hopefully this home-made fabric softener will do the trick!

  • First of all, I have to tell you that I tried your recipe for removing perspiration stains and am SO excited to have back some of my favorite shirts that were sitting in a pile that were no longer wearable!!!! I do not use Dawn due to animal testing issues but used my regular dish washing liquid. However, I had some OxiClean spray which has ruined a few items of colored clothing because it not only removed the stain, it removed color from the clothes so, I added a bit into the mix on my shirts. They look amazing!!! So excited!

    Now, about the fabric softener, I am also wondering about adding essential oils. If I don’t add the Purex crystals mixed in water, does it change the vinegar/baking soda ratios of measurement?

    • Janice….this is from the American Cleaning Institute’s guide to High Efficiency Washers and Detergents: http://www.cleaninginstitute.org

      Rinse-added Fabric Softeners
      • Add fabric softener to the fabric softener dispenser so it gets dispensed
      at the right time. Follow the washer manufacturer’s use and care guide
      for proper use of the dispenser.

      This formulation is ideal for HE machines because the vinegar helps reduce mineral build-up.

      • For the HE machines, I am assuming you just fill to min/max levels, because mine won’t hold 1/2 cup! :-)

      • Yes…to the fill line. I’ve been using this in my HE washer for months and plain vinegar for 10 years. Works great!

  • I think too many things are overfragranced these days. When I can smell someone’s laundry products 10 feet away it is CRAZY. Nice to be able to control how much… or do none at all.

    • Also, drying your clothes until they are ‘just dry’ helps too. Static is caused by the friction of the dry fabric rubbing together, like socks on a carpet, so if you can figure out how long your loads take to dry (mine take about 45 minutes in my dryer) and don’t continue to run the dryer after your items are dry, you shouldn’t have static and you will save electricity!
      I use straight vinegar in a downy ball, like Susan does. I only get static when I leave fleece in the dryer too long. :)

  • Hi Jillee,

    I forgot how much fun it is to make stuff from scratch. I was a soap maker for years before full time work had me back to just “buy” it.

    Love your blog. Now I am a huge fan of essential oils. When you say “scent-booster of choice” are you saying fragrance oils? Can you give an idea of how much you used above to make it seem ideal for you?

    Keep up the great work! Brenda

    • I just mixed some using a lavender vanilla essential oil instead of the fragrance crystals. Got my first load in using both my detergent and homemade fabric softener and I can’t wait for the cycle to finish!!

      • I also was wondering if you had any experience with using vanilla extract instead of vanilla essential oil as I cannot afford 20$ for a bottle of the essential oil at the moment.

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