Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Green Clean: Fabric Softener DIY

Hello World and Happy Earth Day Everyone!

I hope you all had a great start to your week :) April 22nd was officially Earth Day, but we manage to live the green life everyday. It's something we are quite proud of. And in honor of Earth Day, all this week I'm going to share some fun "green" projects with you. From homemade natural cleaning recipes to crafty reuse projects. It's going to be so much fun...but with a purpose!

A couple months ago I shared my Laundry Detergent DIY. Today you'll learn another simple recipe for the Laundry Room. Homemade Fabric Softener....

I did away with regular dryer sheets a long time ago, then I changed to a natural version of a specific brand. I eventually switched to plain old white vinegar during the rinse cycle. I did that for quite some time, and thought maybe I'd try my hand at making my own natural liquid fabric softener.

I wanted to continue my mission of keeping harmful toxins out of our home (laundry room included!), and also pair my natural homemade laundry soap with an equally impressive homemade fabric softener. Sure, it may take extra effort to plan, purchase, and make you own natural versions of standard (but essential) household supplies, but isn't the health of your family worth it? That's how I feel... and the Earth is worth it too!

You don't even have to start @ making your own cleaners. I do it because I love it! I get satisfaction from knowing that I made it myself. But you can easily take a big "green" step just by purchasing "greener" products. They may be more expensive, but not by much. Either way, you should give it a try...


  • 4 Cups Warm Water
  • 2 Cups Distilled White Vinegar
  • Conditioner - You can use any type you want. I've used both natural (and expensive), as well as cheap bottles of conditioner.
  • Essential Oil (Optional) -- Each oil has its own special qualities. You can even use your favorite scent!
  • Container
  • Measuring Cup
  • Funnel
  • Chopstick (or similar object)
*Tip: I made this a reuse project by repurposing my daughter's old BioKleen baby laundry soap bottle. It's the perfect size for this project. I used scrapbook paper and markers to make an attractive label, and clear packing tape to protect and secure the label to the bottle.


I decided to mix/add everything directly into my storage container, but you may be find it easier to add your ingredients to a large open container (and mix it there), then later transfer your recipe to a final container. Whatever you decide, the first thing you'll want to do is add your water. The amount of warm water you add will depend on the size of your container. I use a total of 4 cups of water for mine. But to start, I only add half of that amount.

*Warm water helps to dilute the conditioner.

The next ingredient you are going to add is vinegar. I use a total of 2 cups in my recipe. Vinegar works naturally to soften your laundry as well as remove build-up caused by your laundry detergent. [Funky towels, anyone?] It also whitens whites and preserves colors.

*TIP: Use a funnel when pouring liquids to help make the job easier. 

Conditioner that smooths and softens your hair in the shower, can be used in the laundry much the same way. But it smooths and softens fabrics. Teamed up with vinegar, it's a winning combination! Whenever I make this recipe, I use about a quarter to half of the bottle. You can choose any conditioner you like. If you want to go natural, use a green brand. If you want to save money, use a less expensive brand. Some stores have $.99 conditioners. 

*When I first tried this recipe I used a cheap brand, and I'm still finishing off that first bottle of conditioner. {The Suave Naturals "Waterfall" scent smells fresh and clean, and gives the recipe that "Downy" blue color you see in most liquid fabric softeners.} You can save even more money by using conditioner you already have! {I've been using Wen a couple of months now and during spring cleaning, I found full bottles of different "green" conditioners that I forgot I bought before starting Wen's system. I now have extra supplies for this recipe, sweet!}

The final thing you need to do is mix up your recipe. I have an awesome set of bamboo chopsticks I picked up as a freebie years ago from a local asian supermarket. They are extra long and the perfect length to mix the ingredients together in the bottle. I mix it the best I can using the chopstick. Then I add the remaining 2 cups of warm water to further dilute the conditioner. Mix it around a little more. Then secure the cap, turn the bottle on its side and shake it around a bit. Gently, not vigorously. You don't want to make a bubbly mess.

You can now finish this off with essential oils (optional). Add the drops then gently mix it all together again. In case anyone is wondering, your clothes don't smell like vinegar...not one bit. If it's something you are concerned about, add your favorite essential oil to totally customize this recipe. But I completely skip that step. Whenever you're ready to use the fabric softener to do a load, just shake the bottle (in a circular motion) a few times to mix up the ingredients. 

That's pretty much it! Wasn't that easy?! I like to use my fabric softener recipe in a Downy ball which is made to release during the rinse cycle. Just add the liquid to the marked line, pull the plug, and drop it into the washer after adding the clothes. So simple. No need waiting around for the rinse cycle!

We've used this recipe for 6 or so months (along with my homemade Laundry Soap), and never experienced  stiff and scratchy clothes or linens, and static cling! Knowing that the stuff I make is as good, if not better than the name brand chemically filled bottles of cleaners, I am definitely sticking with this for good!  FYI, this recipe along with my Laundry Soap, are the only things I use in the Laundry Room.... well except for my "Homemade Stain Remover." And I'll be sharing that recipe in a future post...

Feeling inspired to create more "green" products? Try my homemade Dishwasher Detergent and Stain Remover recipes. Or check out my "Earth Mama" pinboard on Pinterest. It's full of ideas, inspiration and more DIYs for so many different things. From health and beauty care recipes to other essential cleaning products for the home. I'm sure you'll find something you haven't tried yet.

Wanna stay updated on my recent posts and projects? Be sure to "like" my new fan page on Facebook!

Are you and your family living a "green" life? Have you made the switch to homemade natural cleaners yet? Any thoughts, questions, or comments about this post? Feel free to drop me a line. Your feedback is always welcome and much appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by!


  1. I can't wait to try this and your other recipes. How big was the bottle of conditioner that you used about a quarter to half of the bottle? Basically, how many ounces or cups of conditioner do we add? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Annabettin! Thanks for checking out my blog :) I'm happy you found a recipe to try! When it comes down to it, the best thing about these recipes is there is no right and wrong way to do it. I don't even measure anymore!

      I can't tell you exactly how much conditioner to use, since I just eyeballed it. But it's safe to say that 1/3 of whatever bottle your using should be enough. I definitely don't think you need half. This way, you'll get more uses out of it when your ready to make your next batch of fabric softener.

      Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.


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