Homemade Fabric Softener

Since my most popular posts are my homemade laundry detergent and homemade Shout, I figured I need to post my final homemade laundry recipe to complete the deal.

I just recently started using this recipe when I ran out of my store-bought softener.  As always, I was skeptical.  I had all the ingredients in my cupboard, so I gave it a go.  So glad I did.  I adore it completely!  In fact, I just made my second batch of it this morning.  You can store it in your old fabric softener container, or use a clean milk jug.

The cost for 3 quarts comes in around 75 cents!!!  I used cheap Suave Mango conditioner and it worked perfectly.  It smelled heavenly and left a hint of the mango scent on my clothes.  I wanted a bit stronger scent on my dried clothes so I added some orange essential oil to the mix.  Just a few drops did the trick.  My clothes really smell delicious now!

So there you have it.  All my laundry secrets revealed.  And since I save so much money on my laundry, I don’t feel guilty walking into my favorite kitchen supply store and buying another bowl I don’t need.

My name is Carole, and I have a bowl problem……

Homemade Fabric Softener
(makes about 3 qts for 75 cents!)
6 C warm water
3 C white vinegar
2 C hair conditioner – pick a scent you like but use something cheap!
essential oil, optional

1.  In a large bowl, combine all three ingredients together and mix.  Whisk gently or you will get bubbles.
2.  Pour into your container and measure out as you would with store bought fabric softener.


  1. says

    I just wanted to tell you that I pinned your post on fabric softner and it’s been repinned almost 500 times. I tried it and I love this softner so much! Thanks so much for the post! I also want to try your rainbow rice, but I haven’t felt that adventurous yet! ;)

  2. says

    Thanks Tara! Pinterest is my biggest traffic source right now :) I’m so glad you love the fabric softener as much as I do! The rainbow rice is super easy, so don’t hesitate!

  3. Anonymous says

    Hi there. I made the fabric softener and for some reason I still have a lot of static. Any thoughts? Anything else I can add?

  4. says

    I’m surprised to hear your trouble with static. Since I switched to this recipe, mine has almost disappeared. The only suggestion I would have is to increase the amount you are using. See if that helps.

  5. says

    I made this yesterday when I ran out of store bought fabric softener and it works just as well for so much less. Next on the list is laundry powder. I just wish there was a recipe for dishwasher powder. Thanks for the recipe

  6. says

    alioop – Thanks for your comment. There is a recipe floating out there for dishwasher powder, but it isn’t much cheaper than a store brand at the store. I have never tried it.

    Hilary – Yes, it stays all mixed together. I put mine in an old milk jug and do shake it, but it isn’t necessary. Just a habit I guess. I also shake my milk before pouring :)

  7. Amanda says

    Hi! I love your recipes and ideas, and have been making my own laundry soap for almost a year now and love it. I live in a very small town however and my car is currently in the shop so i have no way to go get conditioner and i dont have enough on hand. I was wondering though if you thought body lotion might work well? maybe use a little less than 2 cups?

  8. says

    Lumartin – you can get them on Amazon, or if you have a massage/chiropractic place in town, they often sell them as well.

    Amanda – Glad to have you with us! I would seriously hesitate to use body lotion, but I can’t really give you a specific reason why. I think the oil in the lotion might not get out of your clothes. Wait until you get some conditioner!

  9. says

    Regarding the lotion vs. conditioner substitution: lotion is about 25% oil and emulsifiers and 75% water, where conditioner is about 5% to 10% oils and emulsifiers and 90% or more water. I would NOT substitute. Lotion has more “stuff” in it…like some solid oils and such sometimes too. However, if you really want to go all natural, you could make conditioner 1st (but you have to get ahold of an ingredient called BTMS) and then use your homemade conditioner…? A bit of work, but you would know what was in it.

  10. says

    One more thought…separate your natural fiber clothing(cottons, denim, washable wool) from your poly-type fibers when washing. The natural fibers will not have static and you should not need to use anything but vinegar in the rinse to make them soft. Silky polyesters, fleece and those types of things will load you with static so save your softeners for those by washing separately.

  11. Anonymous says

    Wow! I am going to try this, I love to save money on laundry, I make my detergent, air dry most of my clothes and made myself a home made reuseable dryer sheet, (a wash cloth soaked in liquic fab softner, air dry. It lasts about a month!) Thanks, I’m sure I could use this recipie for that too!

  12. says

    Mary – You should use the same amount as you did with store bought softener. Since each machine is different in size, I really can’t give you a specific amount. My front loader comes with a dispenser with a “max fill” line that I use. Good luck!

  13. JessicaP says

    I just made the fabric softer and was so excited to use it but my towels didn’t smell like anything and they were not as soft as my normal softner get’s it. Kind of bummed, I used the same amount as I normally would with store bought softner. HELP what am I doing wrong?

  14. says

    JessicaP- Try using a bit more softener for a better result. As far as the scent, did you use any essential oils in your recipe? That will help with a better scent that lingers.

  15. Kayla says

    How much essential oil should be added to the recipe?

    Would it completely replace the conditioner or should I still use the same amount of conditioner?

  16. Kayla says

    Thanks! The conditioner smell would fade after a few days I made the batch, so I was looking for something to keep my clothes smelling nice.

    Keeping in the conditioner makes plenty of sense and I will have to mess around with the essential oil to see how much I need.

  17. says

    i’m always looking for ways to save money(as we all are these days,i suppose) and today i will try this new recipe.i’ve read all your comments and such and am very excited to try it.thank you so much for sharing this recipe somehow i feel it’s gonna be a success.i will soon let you know.thank you,

  18. says

    I went looking for the stuff to make the stain remover, fabric softner, and laundry detergent today just to price check and make sure they have everything…. Anyway, I saw regular vinegar, but I also saw something called cleaning vinegar which was a little cheaper but I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to use or not…. Any advice on this??? Thanks.

  19. Anonymous says

    If you can’t find essential oils… I soak the peels from citrus fruits in my vinegar jug, it really tones down the vinegar smell and I think my clothes smell fresher a little longer. I then use the fruity vinegar in all my cleaning supplies too, so much nicer smelling!

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