I’ve used liquid fabric softener for as long as I’ve been doing laundry. I’ve tried so many brands that I know I couldn’t name them all. Some smell better than others, some soften better than others, but one thing was for sure – they all have to figure into the budget. By now, you probably know that I like to save money, but I also like soft clothes that smell fresh when they’re laundered and that’s where my recent experiments with “DIY fabric softener” comes into the story. I thought if I shared my experience, it might help someone else out there in blog-land.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve read that I recently started making my own laundry soap. I don’t go shopping often, but when I do, I buy a month’s supply at once. I know exactly how much I spend for any given item on my shopping list. So, I can tell you that before I started making my own soap and softener, I spent an average of $22. per month on those two items alone. That’s nothing to sneeze at and I can think of quite a few things that $20 can buy, other than those two products.
First, I think I should tell you how I tested this out. I never dry our clothes with a clothes-dryer. We do own a dryer, but after so long of it going unused, my husband took it out because we both got tired of it being there and not being used for anything other than a catch-all. During good weather I use a clothesline in the yard and I have a couple of lines on the porch if I have to have something dry soon and the weather isn’t cooperating. Inside, I have a great system that he made for me three or four years ago and it took the place of the drying racks that you place on the floor. There are two racks hanging over our woodstove, one on each side of it. They are attached to the ceiling and I hang laundry on coat hangers and put them on these racks or if it’s sheets or something like that, I just hang it over the bar.
Here’s what the drying rack looks like:
It works great and laundry dries remarkably quick during cold weather because the stove is always burning.
Ok, back to the softener issue… If you hang your laundry to dry, you’re well aware that you have to deal with wrinkly clothes more so than a person who uses a dryer would have to. So, when I bought liquid fabric softeners, I wasn’t buying them because I wanted to control static or simply for the smell. I was buying it because it helped the laundry dry quicker and it kept the clothes from being too wrinkly.
What did I use if I ran out of fabric softener? Good old white vinegar! Yep, it’s great in the rinse cycle (and in the wash cycle). So, when I read that you could “make your own” fabric softener and it had vinegar in the recipe, I jumped all over that! There are recipes everywhere and they’re all about the same (6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar and 2 cups cheap hair conditioner). Notice the vinegar in the recipe. Now, I read on one of those recipe sites that the conditioner was used for scent only, so to choose something you liked the smell of. Did I try the recipe? Yes. Did I like it? It was okay and it worked. I just didn’t work any better than straight white vinegar, in my opinion. Also, I couldn’t smell a difference between something rinsed in that homemade softener when compared to using only vinegar. So, with that comparison the only thing left for me to do was to choose straight vinegar – no fuss, no muss.
Vinegar helps rinse the soap out, it helps so lint won’t stick to your clothes and it makes your clothes smell fresh (and no, they won’t smell like vinegar, I promise). As far as I can tell, my clothes don’t have any more wrinkles than they had when I was using the “store-bought” softeners. The other “plus”? Vinegar is cheap! I buy a gallon jug of vinegar for about $2.50 and I can clean with it and do laundry – that’s a bargain in my book!
I guess it all boils down to what we like, as with anything. A friend of mine told me of someone she knows that made her own fabric softener, but since it didn’t smell like the “real stuff”, she wasn’t going to make it again. I tried making it for a different reason. I wanted it to rinse any residues, take out wrinkles and help it dry quicker – vinegar does that for me. Maybe if I used a clothes dryer it would be different, I don’t know. I have never seen much sense in paying to dry my laundry when air is free.
Well, that is my experience with making “homemade fabric softener”. Have you ever made it? Do you use liquid softeners… have you tried vinegar? I’d love to hear any comments and/or feedback you have – I’m always interested in what YOU have to say!
- 3 easy homemade fabric softener recipes (mnn.com)
- Laundry, Laundry, Laundry (mommalucas.wordpress.com)