I'm always looking for ways to save money & keep things out of the landfill. I used cloth diapers on my babies, I don't use paper towels, I prefer to wash & reuse anything that most people use disposable items for. I'm part hippy like that.
One area that I have been seeking to save some greens was fabric softener. I love fabric softener. I won't do a load of laundry without it--I use both liquid & sheets together, that's how much I love it. But dang, that stuff can get expensive for the brands that actually work. I've tried the cheap fabric softeners & I had to triple the amount of sheets or liquid just to get them to soften the clothes & I didn't like the scent.
As much as I love it, I hate even more how toxic fabric softener is. I've bought the natural stuff but wasn't happy with what I got for the cost.
In my quest to save $$ years ago, I tried going totally hippy & used vinegar because a lot of natural crunchy people swear it is wonderful as a natural fabric softener. They're lying. I turned into a static-clingy, stiff-clothed, salad-smelling, unhappy Eddi Girl.
I tried baking soda mixed with essential oil. I like drying off with a soft towel, not one that feels as if it took a spin with a gallon of starch, thank you very much.
A couple weeks ago I became all science-y & started mixing thing together. I've been very happy with the recipe I came up with. I've had plenty of loads of laundry to test the new fabric softener. Yay for Large Family Laundry!
Super easy to make & costs me $1.76 for about 96 loads (@ 1 Tb/load) & should last me 5-6 weeks with my extra large capacity front loader.
Eddi's Fabric Softener
4 cups water
2 cups baking soda
2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup hair conditioner (I use Suave Rosemary Mint)
Mason jars, old fabric softener bottles, milk jugs, pitchers, any container you can shake & pour from
Bring water to a gentle boil. Measure baking soda into a large bowl. Add hot water & whisk until dissolved.
Add conditioner. Whisk well.
This is where it becomes a science experiment: slowly pour in vinegar & watch all the bubbles. This is also why it is important to use a large bowl & to pour the vinegar in slowly. Whisk.
Once it is all mixed well, pour into container. It separates fast so if you're using more than 1 container, you need to do it quickly so that you don't get 1 watery & 1 thick.
It does separate so you'll have to mix it before you use it. You can:
~Dip a washcloth in the mixture, wring it out, & toss into dryer. This uses way more fabric softener than I think is necessary (coming from the person who uses a lot of softener) & it's messy.
~Put it in a spray bottle & spray a washcloth & toss into dryer.
~Put it in a Downy ball or in the fabric softener dispenser in your washer.
~Dip a coffee filter in the mixture & toss in the dryer if you want a sheet to throw away.
~Do what I do...
I have mine in a Tupperware pickle keeper & use the part that lifts the pickles as a paddle to mix. I pour it into an empty conditioner bottle & shake & squirt onto a washcloth because I prefer that over dipping the washcloth into the Tupperware. I use 1-2 Tb per load, depending on what the load is (jeans & towels get more than other loads).
Bonus: the clothes don't smell like vinegar when they come out of the dryer or off the line!