Easiest DIY Natural Fabric Softener

You might have heard of all the wondrous things that vinegar is capable of, but did you know that it is a natural fabric softener too? That’s right! This household staple is a thrifty, earth- and skin-friendly option that is even better for your fabric.

Most liquid or dryer-sheet softeners work by releasing chemicals that adhere to fabrics and make them feel soft. But buildup of those agents can damage fabrics and make them less absorbent, not to mention the health risk of chemicals rubbing against your skin day in and day out.

You can use distilled white vinegar straight into your washes, about ½ cup in a normal laundry load, when you put the soap in. Don’t worry! Your clothes will not smell like vinegar afterwards. If you desire a scent to your clothes, you can add essential oils.

For our fabric softener, we placed the vinegar in a bottle with lavender for a fresh and calming scent:

  • 1 16-ounce bottle of distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup of lavender buds (optional; note: the lavender flowers will naturally turn the vinegar a light purple or pink color but won’t color clothing)
  • 4–5 drops of lavender essential oil

Keep in a plastic or glass bottle. Add it in at the wash cycle. Vinegar has an almost indefinite shelf life.

We believe something isn’t clean until it’s free of dirt and oils as well as added chemicals and fake fragrances.

Like this recipe? Check out our recipe for your own homemade laundry detergent.

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  • Carol Weinstock says:

    Just curious..how much vinegar per load? Do you add it with the detergent or put it in the softener cup?

    • Name says:

      According to the article’s recipe, mix/add the 3 items into a separate bottle. Pour out 1/2 cup into regular load. I’m pouring mine into the rinse cycle so it won’t get rinsed out from the wash cycle. Years ago, I ran out of conditioner after washing my hair so I used regular white vinegar instead. Worked great! My hair was soft and manageable. Of course, don’t use wine vinegar or you’ll smell like a salad… hope this helps.

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