Make your own fabric softener

For a cheaper and more eco-friendly fabric softener, try these two methods.

Method 1

Combine 3.8 litres vinegar with 25 to 30 drops essential oil.

Stir the essential oil directly into the container of white distilled vinegar for a minute or so, to ensure that the two liquids combine well.

Note that the essential oil is not necessary. The vinegar is the component responsible for softening clothes. It strips away residue on your clothes that would otherwise make them stiff, and it has properties that can break down some of the minerals found in hard water supplies. If you do decide to use essential oils, you can use any scents you want.

Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) to your rinse cycle. For a normal load, fill a fabric softener ball with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the fabric softener solution, or add the same amount directly to the washer just before the rinse cycle begins.

Do not add the fabric softener to the machine before its primary wash cycle. Pour the rest of the fabric softener into a storage container. Make sure that this fabric softener is labeled so that you do not accidentally use it for another purpose. Shake or stir well to before each use to make sure that the essential oil and vinegar have not separated as it sat.

Continue through a standard rinse cycle. You do not need to do anything special from this point on. Let your rinse cycle finish up as it normally does.

Method 2

Combine bicarb and hot water.

Stir 1 cup (250 ml) bicarb into 2 cups (500 ml) hot water until well combined. Combine the two ingredients in a large bucket or other container. Note that the bicarb will not dissolve, but it should be completely soaked.

This homemade fabric softener is often praised by people who have hard water. Bicarb regulates the pH level in your rinse water, preventing it from becoming too acidic or too alkaline. It also cancels out mineral deposits, like those found in hard water. These mineral deposits are often responsible for making clothes stiff.

Slowly add 1 cup (250 ml) white distilled vinegar to the mixture. Stir gently until the bicarb is dissolved. The vinegar will react with the bicarb, causing a fizzy chemical reaction. Do not pour the vinegar too quickly or you will end up with a mess.

Vinegar strips soap and residue from clothing and also helps to soften hard water. Some believe that the vinegar and bicarb cancel each other out, making them ineffective. But the salt that is produced from the chemical reaction acts as a buffer in the rinse cycle. Many of the elements that help soften clothes remain in the solution even after the reaction occurs.

Scent the fabric softener, if desired. If you want to make scented fabric softener, then you need to add essential oil or scent booster to the ingredients. Stir either option directly into the fabric softener solution.

If using essential oils, 25 to 30 drops should be sufficient. If using scent booster, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 ml) of the crystals to your water and stir until dissolved. Scent booster is usually found in the laundry aisle. It is not a natural product, so it may not be preferable from an ecological sense, but it will lend your fabric softener a pleasant scent and may save you money in the long run.

Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) into your washing machine during the rinse cycle. For a normal load, fill a fabric softener ball with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the fabric softener solution or add the same amount directly to the washer just before the rinse cycle begins.

Do not add the fabric softener to the machine before its primary wash cycle. Pour the rest of the fabric softener into a storage container. Shake or stir well to combine before each use.

Run the rinse cycle as usual. You do not need to do anything special from this point on. Let your rinse cycle finish up as it normally does.