Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frugal Home Series Part 2: Homemade Fabric Softener

Frugal Home Series Part 2:  Homemade Fabric Softener

I'm definitely a liquid fabric softener kind of gal.  In college I took the best textiles class ever- we learned how fabric was made and how to care for it.  Once a week (maybe twice?  I can't remember!) we had a "lab" where we sat in a circle, touched fabric, and learned how to identify it.  We learned how it burns, how it reacts to dye, and how they make carpet.  Best class of my life.

Our professor did/does research for some big-name brand like Lands End or Northface and preached about fabric softeners.  How liquid is much better than sheets, how not to use too much.  My mom always used Downy, but I have to admit- I can't handle the price and it almost always lasts half the time the bottle says because I use way too much.

Solution- Make your own.

I found this recipe and was skeptical.  Really?  Hair Conditioner?  Cheap Hair conditioner? VINEGAR?  I feared I'd be walking around smelling like a Šopský salát (google it).

Nope.  Pure awesomeness.  My clothes are SO soft- softer than with store-bought- and smell fresh and clean.  The scent of the conditioner is definitely there.  This recipe makes a lot of softener, so I only made half.  This is the full recipe.

Recipe:
  • 6 cups HOT water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups Suave Conditioner {or other favorite scent-I found it for $1}
Directions:
  •  Measure out conditioner.

  • Whisk together hot water and conditioner.  Make sure the conditioner is mixed completely with the water- no clumps.  I had to whisk for a minute or so.

  • Add Vinegar and mix well (this is the actual softener- the conditioner I think it just for scent.  Vinegar also helps with static sling).
  • Use 2 tbsp in a Downy ball or in the softener dispenser in your machine, diluted with water (basically use it like it's store bought)
I keep it in this carafe (end of summer sale at Target for $1!) so it's easy to pour into our washer.

Love. It.  I don't think I've ever been so happy with a DIY cleaning remedy as I am with this one!
Here is a printable label:

Enjoy!

Skip To My Lou

36 comments:

  1. Just made my first batch and did a load of laundry. Love it. Thank You for Sharing

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  2. You think it's safe to use in an HE machine?

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    1. Use half the amount called for in a top loader = 1 tbsp. This product does not suds up, so it is safe.

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  3. Lorraine, so glad you like it! Tess, come back and let us know how it worked! Beth, my mom uses it on her HE machine and it works great. She still has to run a cleaner through her machine to clean the drum every 3 months, but she always had to, even before she started using it.

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  4. Do you think you could use it to make the homemade Fabreze recipe on Pinterest? (1/8 Cup of fabric softener, 2 tablespoons Baking Soda, hot tap water in a spray bottle)

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    1. Its not good to use for that… baking soda and vinegar mix together will set off a natural reaction and foam out of your spray bottle (I know because I have done it... lol. Guilty) I however let it "explode" then continued to slowly fill my spray bottle with water and added another "squirt" or so of conditioner, shook and used. Still smells good and eliminates odors due to the baking soda.

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  6. Great recipe! Thanks! A question..does it have to be Sauve conditioner? I'm a bit of an Eco nut and am a bit concerned with some of the additives in that conditioner.

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    1. You can use any hair conditioner that you wish. Suave is recommended in order to keep the cost down to create the softener.

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  7. Thanks for the recipe! How long does it last, if I bottled it would it go off?

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    1. I do not believe so. I mix mine in an empty Downy jug. Before I use it each time, I vigorously shake the bottle.

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  8. acbailey1,
    I doubt that it has to be Suave conditioner because in the recipe she states that she thinks the Suave is included just for the scent.

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  9. Anonymous...with the main ingredient being vinegar (which is antibacterial) I don't see how it could go 'off'! I normally just use straight vinegar as my fabric softener, but I love scent so I'm gonna try this. The vinegar removes any soap residue (works awesome in hair also and leaves no smell) so towels are fluffier and more absorbent.

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  10. I love this; going to get mine mixed up right away!

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  11. You said dilute the 2 tbsp ... about how much water?

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  12. Hey Ladies! No, you don't have to use Suave. you can use anything but I have found they have the strongest scents. I personally don't like to use it as my conditioner, but the smell is great and cheap! I use it so much that I've neve had to worry about it going bad- but it shouldn't if you don't use it often. Nekia, there isn't 2tbsp of anything in this recipe. I just mix the conditioner with the hot water, then add the vinegar and am done!

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  13. Use 2 tbsp in a Downy ball or in the softener dispenser in your machine, diluted with water (basically use it like it's store bought)- I understood this to mean you add 2 tbsp of the softener diluted with water to your load of laundry - Sorry if I have missed understood this!

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  14. If you want the scent, use essential oils. Skip the conditioner. Do everything else the same. I like to do lemon and lavender or sweet orange and bergamot. 20 drops total of essential oil or 1-1.5 tsp. hope this helps!

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  15. Just made a batch. My Downy ball has a fill line (which is about 2 tbsp.) The ball says not to add water - use with Ultra Downy only. Not sure how the balls work - if I add a little water, thus going over the fill line, will it work properly?

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    1. I'm not sure if it will work correctly. I used to have Downy ball and just filled it to the line and it worked great! Let us know what you find out!

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  16. Hi, I am new to all of this and have been sitting here for almost 2 hours now writing down different things to try, honestly mine is to save money, we are in a really hard spot right now and I didnt know there was so many different things that could be made at home. I am shocked. I will have to say I will be busy when we get next paycheck because I am going to be trying several of these recipes for cleaning my home, laundry and every body wash. I am just shocked. I just want to say thank you. Maybe this will help us cut some corners we need.

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    1. Kristy, so sorry u r in a tuff spot right now, I hope things get better soon! not only do these homemade products cost less, they actually work better and are less toxic. I will NEVER buy detergent, fabric softener, stain remover or tub and shower cleaner again! keep "pinning" and we will help you through! Take care and best of luck :)

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  17. Giving it as a bridal shower gift. Put it in a glass dispenser with a lid and pour spout.:)

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  18. I doubt the amount of water you add to the 2 tbsp of fabric softener is an issue. It all ends up in the washing machine anyway, right? I always thought the reason you diluted store-bought fabric softener was that if added full strength, it stains certain fabrics (I learned that the hard way). Just my thoughts anyway. I love your fabric softener - thanks for saving us plenty of $$$! :)

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  19. so i put it in my machines dispencer and then add water to fill line or just put it in and let it go . sorry dont mean to sound dense ive just been reading so many comments im starting to confuse myself

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  20. Can you also put some in a squirt bittle add a little water and spritz on your cloths and todss in the dryer for a nice refresher?

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  21. I have a washer that says only to use "HE" soap and softener. Would it be safe to use this in my washer?

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  22. But does it take care of static cling? I tried a few pinterest ideas to help with static including vinegar and using a rag with hair conditioner on it for the dryer and I still had static.

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  23. I also tried tin foil - didn't work.

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  24. I made this and my clothes come out soft but have no smell to them like store bought fabric softner gives them. Did I do something wrong?

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  25. Ctina, I have heard that static is more likely with mixed fabrics. However, it might not be practical to separate the fabrics to see if it solves the static issue.

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  26. I think this would be good added to pintrest so we can save it

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  27. My clothes also do not have the smell that regular fabric softened gives them. I also have noticed that it seems to br separating in the container. Did I do something wrong?

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  28. Mine separates also.. I just give it a good shake shake shake and move on to pouring it in... BUT what causes it to separate?

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