DIY: Homemade Fabric Softener

Homemade Fabric Softener

Vinegar is a natural fabric softener, but the smell can be overkill on the senses! I know many people say the smell goes away after washing, but it frightens me enough to think my clothes could possibly smell like vinegar. eek!  So, instead of using straight vinegar you can add some ‘smell good’ conditioner to the mix and create your very own fabric softener!


6 Cups Hot Water
3 Cups Vinegar
2 Cups Conditioner


Mix the hot water in with the conditioner. Once the conditioner is completely dissolved you can add in your vinegar. Use 2 TBS per load. Or you can do what I do, and dip a small dish towel into my homemade softener mixture and throw the towel in with dryer load. (dryer sheet) 😉

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  1. 1

    Do you know if this is safe for washing machines with the center spout (not really sure what it’s called)? Looking forward to trying this when my Downy runs out. I have heard that liquid fabric softener contains a small amount of bleach, and over time, it can lighten your clothing. I haven’t experienced it though. Has anyone else?

  2. 2
    SavingAddiction says:

    Yes, this would be safe.

  3. 3

    I haven’t really paid attention to the softening effects of vinegar, but I have used it multiple times in my washing machine and have never had anything come out smelling like vinegar. In fact, the opposite happens. If you have something that smells really bad (like bedding with body oils that continue to smell bad after washing/drying), the vinegar takes out the smell! I tried several other things that smelled good, including Downy Unstoppables, and all they did was slightly mask the smell, but not take it out. Vinegar took the smell completely away! I found the tip online, and so far it is working for me.

  4. 5

    Are there any questionable ingredients in the conditioner? I heard that just adding an essential oil like lavender to the vinegar does wonders! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s my next natural experiment! :)

    • 6
      Christina H. says:

      The scent of the essential oils will not remain after washing and drying. It will only smell good going in, but not coming out. I just use a cup of vinegar in the washing machine during the rinse cycle (does a great job softening) and wool dryer balls in the dryer to speed drying and reduce static.

  5. 7

    Would this be ok for a HE washer and if so would you use the same amount as mentioned above? If used as a “dryer sheet” do you dip it in and ring it out and then throw it in or dip it and then just throw it in? Thanks for your time, can’t wait to try this.

  6. 9

    I made this a few weeks ago and love it.. I think my towels are softer for sure! I just put it in the middle thing and it works great! Super cheap to! Will keep using this… and I never smell the vinegar at all after it has been washed!

  7. 10

    I just heard that a rolled up ball of foil works well as a softener in the dryer.

  8. 11

    I use vinegar, in my wash, to help prevent fading. I read that somewhere and it really seems to work !

  9. 12

    This is something I will try! Thanks for sharing.
    I use the liquid fabric softener most of the time because we hang our clothes up in the house. (on drying racks) It makes our house smell really good and adds humidity to the air! I will fluff our good shirts and pants in the dryer to get out the wrinkles then hang on hangers to dry.
    ~ Saves money too!

  10. 13

    I like the idea of dipping an old towel in this solution and then using it as a dryer sheet. I was once told by my septic cleaning guy that liquid fabric softener is never a good idea for septic tanks. I would assume the conditioner in this recipe would have the same effect for septic systems.

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