Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homemade Fabric Softener

The first time I wrote about homemade fabric softener was in this post:

At that time I said I would try the recipe and get back to you with the results. 

Today was the first time since that post that I've been without fabric softener, and I also happened to have an empty fabric softener container on hand. I have a lot of conditioner on hand as well because we use more shampoo than conditioner in our house, and my mother gives us conditioner because she will open a new bottle even before her old bottle is empty. Since this is canning season I also have a lot of vinegar on hand. Therefore, this was the perfect time to try this recipe. 

Pictured above are the ingredients needed to make the fabric softener. It took only a few minutes to mix up a batch. 

Homemade Fabric Softener 


- 2 cups hair conditioner
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 6 cups warm water 


Add ingredients to an old fabric softener bottle or any other suitable container, and mix well. Use as you would any other fabric softener. 

Total Cost to make:

- 2 cups hair conditioner - free - (gifted to me by Mom)
- 3 cups white vinegar - 39¢- (from a 64 ounce bottle at the Dollar Store)
- 6 cups water free - (we have well water)

Total Cost: 39¢ for an almost full bottle

Even if you had to buy the conditioner the cost would be cheaper than buying a bottle of fabric softener.  

The results were good. I used a lilac scented conditioner, so the laundry had a nice feel and smell to it with no static cling, which is exactly what you expect from fabric softener

What do you think? Would you be willing to give it a try or have you tried it and would like to talk about it in the comment section? Feedback is welcome. :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2011. 
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”


  1. Hmmm . . I am intrigued. I wonder if a more concentrated version could be made to meet the needs of HE machines. I will definately give this a try, once my stash of liquid softener is used up. I only use it on towels, I line dry clothes weather permitting and use dryer sheets on clothes during cold months.

  2. I'd be willing to give it a try. Next time I make this I'm going to try and use less vinegar and see if I get the same results. Anything to save a dime. :)

  3. If anything, I'd cut down on the water. My understanding is that when companies sell concentrated formulas, for detergent or fabric softener, they have less water. Vinegar by itself is a natural clothing softener, BTW. I used to use it as a rinse on my really long hair as a teen. And no, I didn't smell like a pickle either! : )

  4. LOL! Good idea on the water...definitely worth tinkering with to see if we can come up with something even better. :)

  5. I found this while doing a quick search:

    What is the difference between Classic and Ultra Purex liquid fabric softener?

    Ultra Purex liquid fabric softener has three times the concentration of Classic Purex liquid fabric softener, so you can use less and get the same great softening."

    So, if you need a more concentrated formula, I'd drop the water to 2 cups and either use 1/3 of a cap full from a regular liguid fabric softener bottle that I repurposed or the cap measure that comes from a concentrate fabric softener.

  6. Makes sense to me.

    Something I've noticed as well...the Dawn dish washing detergent that is ultra or concentrated only takes a small squirt to get a sinkful of suds while the regular Dawn takes a couple of squirts and you still don't get a sink full of suds.

    So there is something to the concentrated concept. :)

  7. I also use very little fabric softener as I line dry year round, even in Winter (next to the wood stove!). I do prefer liquid softener over the dryer sheets for my towels, however, which I machine dry 30 minutes then hang up to finish drying. Soft towels in the end, less electricity used in the process. Last week, Shoprite had a sale on Gain fabric softener (64 oz bottle) for $2.99 (I forget the usual price as I infrequently buy it). I had a $2.50 coupon off of 2 bottles so the final price was $1.74 plus tax. Cheap enough for my needs. Like the idea of a homemade version, something I should try, as well as just plain vinegar, which someone suggested. I also rinsed my ubber long, teen hair using cider vinegar-I also wasn't a pickle! : )


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