Saving Money Tip: Make Your Own Fabric Softener


Greetings everyone!

Today I’m going to share another tip I use to save money (and increase self-reliance) around the house: making your own fabric softener.  It is very simple to make and very, very cheap.  You may not even need to buy anything!

First, why would I want to do this? There  are a few reasons. I’ll save money, I’ll get all the perfumes, dies and additives (some of which some people are allergic to) out of my fabric softener, I will learn to make something new and useful (always cool) and I’ll become more self-reliant.


Now, on to the process.  First, we need to gather our ingredients: vinegar, baking soda and water.  You can also use an essential oil of your choice for scent (I use peppermint).  How do I make it, you ask? Great question, and pay attention cause here we go.

Step 1: Mix together 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a large container (more than 1 gallon).  The baking soda won’t completely dissolve, but don’t worry.  You’ll get an assist from the next step.
Step 2: Slowly add in 6 cups of vinegar. The mixture will fizz, a lot. Stir this for a bit.
Step 3: Add in 6 cups of water and continue to stir until baking soda is dissolved.
Step 4: (Optional) Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.
Step 5: Store.  I used 2 mason jars that I had on hand (one was half gallon size)

Useage: Use 1 cup of this in place of your old fabric softener.  This stuff works great, I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now.  It’s very simple to make and obviously easy to use.  There are very few drawbacks if you use regular fabric softener already, but I must admit that I’m rather fond of the snuggle bear.  I know it’s just an advertisement to make sure I keep buying the product, but seriously, how can you not like this bear?!

That’s all for this saving money tip folks.  Do you plan on giving this tip a try, or is it too out there for you?  Where do you draw the line when trying to save some coin?

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About Jeff

Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.


  1. You forgot to mention – eco-friendly! Neat tip!

  2. This looks like a great way to soften cloths. The wife and I may just give this a shot in the near future, thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Great tip Jeff. Looking forward to showing off some more of your great tips a week today.

  4. Have you done a cost comparison to see how much you are saving? This sounds pretty easy to make, so if the savings are good, might as well.

    I, myself am a dryer sheet girl. Don’t tell anyone, but I never learned how to use liquid fabric softener. Does it have to go in a special compartment in the washer, or do you just pour it right on top of the clothes? I really should be asking my mom about this. :)

  5. How could you renounce Snuggle Bear?! JK–great tip! I hate paying for fabric softener, and now I won’t have to :)

  6. Moneycone – You’re right, it is quite eco friendly!

    Jonathan – It’s been working great so far. Let me know if you give it a shot!

    SustainablePF – thanks

    Lady Mint – Thanks for stopping by – I haven’t done a cost comparison, I guess I’ll have to do that for the next time I whip up a batch (I didnt measure exactly how much I made, so comparison will have to wait for next time). I dont mind the dryer sheets. As for how to use, most of the newer washers have a spot where you can pour it in and it will release into the wash when it’s needed. Otherwise, you put it in during the rinse cycle (or get a downy ball)

    Christa – It’s hard, I am fond of that bear. He’s still in my thoughts :)

  7. How does it do on preventing static build up on clothes from the dryer?
    We use the dryer sheets in my house, and aren’t likely to switch off of that, but the formula is a good idea for folks who normally use rinse cycle fabric softeners.

  8. This is great! You BET I’m going to try it. Is there a particular type of “essential oil” that works best for this kind of thing?

  9. Thanks so much for the great tip. I am very into making my own products recently. I feel so much better using them when I know what has gone into them. Goes with my goal of living green. Great blog btw!

  10. I have been using straight up vinegar in my washer (I put it in my fabric softener cup), but that is to mostly keep the dryer clean instead of using that awful Afresh.

    I still use a Bounce sheet (Bounce Free), but I just rip it in half.

  11. Caitriona Langtry says:

    Do you use white or brown vinegar?

  12. Marybeth English says:

    You can use liquid fabric softener on a clean rag in the dryer to cut down on static. I wonder if you could do the same with this mix. I think I will try it. I love vinegar and its many uses.

  13. Great post Jeff! My friend and I have a laundry service from our homes. We use a similar mixture but due to different clients sensitivity to smell we don’t put any type of scents in. Works great!
    Dallas Laundry Care

  14. Thanks for the great tip! I tried it this morning because I had run out of my usual fabric softener, and it really worked and had a much better result! I’m amazed. Don’t think I’ll be going back to the stuff you can buy in the shops!

  15. Thanks — making my second batch tonight (happy Friday night to me), but this works so well and is so easy that it really does make it fun! Thanks for the great formula!

  16. I like the idea of making all natural fabric softener to give as part of a gift. However, I’ve heard that vinegar eats away at the finish on the washer tub so manufacturers strongly discourage use of vinegar. Has anyone noticed this problem?

  17. Which scent did u order to put in it…i use snuggle and would like to keep that scent

  18. mary gallagher says:

    Just made a batch took 7 mins to make and cost me less than 1 dollar for a gallon now to see how it works


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