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Make Your Own Homemade Fabric Softener

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I’m sharing this recipe for DIY on how to make your own liquid fabric softener. As a Bonus, we’ve included recipes for homemade dryer sheets and copy cat fabric softener crystals.

It’s the best homemade fabric softener recipe and perfect for sensitive skin.

In my quest to stretch our budget, I shared a Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe and now, adding to the laundry, this fabric softener.

Scratchy clothes or static cling clothes aren’t anyone’s idea of comfortable.

Miss M has sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate too many chemicals.

I am always seeking a way to keep her and the family comfortable.

This homemade fabric softener is easy to make and stores nicely. 

I was surprised how easy it is to make your own fabric softener with hair conditioner.

The higher quality or more expensive conditioners won’t make any noticeable differences, so don’t waste your money!

The overall effectiveness of this homemade fabric softener is very close to what a regular fabric softener does.

When it comes to smell, the scent will depend on the conditioner. 

The strength of the scent is going to be determined by how powerful it is in the conditioner. 

It's the best homemade fabric softener recipe and perfect for sensitive skin.


How Fabric Softener Works:

The purpose of this homemade fabric softener, or any fabric softener, is to add to the washing machine during the rinse cycle to make clothes soft and feel better to the touch. I

It also helps reduce static clean.

Fabric Softener works by depositing the lubricating agents on the fabric.

In this recipe, the conditioner and vinegar work together. 

#DIY Homemade Fabric Softener in bottle with label


Not only does this homemade fabric softener work every bit as well as the store-bought ones, but it’s very affordable to make. 

It is pennies to make and requires three ingredients, probably already in your home.




It was so easy, and the hardest part was boiling water!

white fluffy towels folded with clothes pins, wool dryer balls and homemade fabric softener in large mason jar


Homemade fabric softener ingredients

3 cups of white vinegar

1 bottle of conditioner (I used the least expensive I could find)

6 cups of hot water

a big bowl

A storage container (it makes about 3 quarts)

#DIY Homemade Fabric Softener in white bottle with label


How to Make Your Own Homemade Fabric Softener Directions:

Add the water and hair conditioner to a large bowl or container, and stir to combine until the conditioner is completely dissolved. (You don’t want to shake it; it will cause foaming.)

Add the vinegar and mix well.

Store in an airtight container.

How to Use:

Add 2 tablespoons per load directly into the fabric softener area on your washer for smaller loads, or 1/4 cup for larger loads.

I use a Downy Ball ;)

NOTE: Vinegar will eventually wear out the elastic bands in your clothing.

Use sparingly or not at all with clothing items that contain elastic.

woman's hand pouring homemade fabric softener into washing machine


Homemade Fabric Softener-No Hair Conditioner Variation

If you want a more organic liquid fabric softener, you can leave the hair conditioner.

Omit the hair conditioner and go with 5-10 drops of your choice of essential oil instead.

It works just as well., though I prefer the version with hair conditioner.

This variation of homemade Fabric Softener follows.

Vinegar and Baking Soda as Fabric Softener (no conditioner version)


6 cups vinegar
1 cup baking soda
15 drops essential oil (optional)


Pour the vinegar into a large bowl with essential oil, if using.

Add the baking soda.

The mixture will fizz, when the fizz is minimized, pour into your storage container.

How to Use:

Shake vigorously before use.

Use up to 1 cup (depending on load size) per load.

Best Practices:

When it comes to laundry and fabric softener, here are a few tips on items you should NEVER use fabric softener on:


Don’t use this homemade fabric softener on microfiber, and you’ll destroy the effectiveness and durability of its intricate fibers.

Athletic Sportswear-

Athletic clothing articles have a wicking technology to keep sweat from your skin, fabric softener of any kind will coat the fibers and destroy the wicking properties.

You can learn more about the care of sportswear as well as how to fix numbers on a jersey to bring your A-Game on laundry day.

Flame-Retardant Clothing–

Most Flame Retardant Clothing is sleepwear, and this includes children’s pajamas, fabric softener will make this clothing article MORE FLAMMABLE!


Any fabric softener will reduce a towel’s ability to absorb water, making them ineffective in drying or tending to spills.

This is so easy to make and leaves clothing soft.

Its the best Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener recipe.

Turn the Liquid Fabric Softener into Dryer Sheets!

Cut fabric (cotton or flannel) into 5″x8″ strips.

You can repurpose old shirts.

If you’re a sewer, stitch around the edge, but this is merely cosmetic and won’t affect the use.

Place fabric strips in liquid fabric softener.

How to Use Dryer Sheets:

Remove a fabric sheet from the jar and squeeze so it is not dripping.

Add a sheet to the dryer with wet laundry and dry as usual.

Wool Dryer balls are also an excellent fabric softener.

We’ve Hacked the Recipe on Fabric Softening Crystals:

If you are a fan of Fabric Crystals for softening laundry, this easy recipe is for you.

homemade fabric softening crystals in container next to clean white towels that are folded


Recipe for Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals

4 Cups Epsom Salts

40 drops Essential Oils

Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

How to use:

To each wash add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of fabric crystals.

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