1 Ingredient All Natural Fabric Softener! Cheap & Non Toxic
How to Naturally Soften Laundry
Lots of people love the smell and feel of laundry that’s been treated with dryer sheets and fabric softener, but many others are sensitive to the smell or allergic to the chemicals used in these products. Luckily, there are other ways to soften your laundry without using these commercial products, including making your own. You can even combine multiple methods during the washing and drying cycles to get the softest and most static-free laundry possible.
Homemade Fabric Softener
2 cups Epsom salt (488 g) or coarse sea salt (600 g)
20-30 drops essential oils
½ cup (110 g) baking soda
Softening Clothes in the Washer
Soak the laundry in salt water.This method works particularly well for natural fibers like cotton, but you do need to soak the clothes for several days. To soften clothes with a salt soak:
- Fill a large bucket or laundry sink with lukewarm water. Add ½ cup (150 g) of salt per quart (946 ml) of water. Stir the mixture.
- Add the clothes, sheets, or towels that you want to soften to the bucket and press them down to saturate them with the salt water.
- Set the bucket aside and soak the laundry for two to three days.
- You can skip this step if you don’t have two days to pre-soak your laundry. Instead, move on to washing and drying the laundry using the other natural fabric softening methods.
Add detergent and baking soda to your washer.When you're ready to wash your load of laundry, add your regular detergent to the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Sprinkle in ¼ to 1 cup (55 to 220 g) of baking soda to the drum as well.
- Use ¼ (55 g) of baking soda for small loads, ½ cup (110 g) for medium loads, and a full cup (220 g) for large loads.
- Baking soda acts as a water softener, so it will help to soften your laundry as well. It’s also a deodorizer, and will kill smells and odors in your laundry.
Place the clothes into the washing machine.Remove the clothes from the salt water bath and gently wring them out to remove excess water. Transfer the load of clothes to the washing machine.
- If you skipped the soaking method, simply place your load of dry clothes into the washer.
- Check the tags on your laundry items to make sure it’s safe to put them in the washing machine, and take note of any special care instructions.
Add a fabric softener alternative for the rinse cycle.Normal fabric softeners are incorporated into the wash during the rinse cycle, and you can use a softening alternative for your wash to get the same effects as a commercial product. Either add the softening alternative to the fabric softener compartment, or fill a fabric softener ball and add it to the drum. Good fabric softener alternatives include:
- ¼ to ½ cup (59 to 119 ml) of white vinegar (which will also help reduce stiffness if you line-dry your clothes)
- ¼ to ½ cup (102 to 205 g) of borax
Wash your clothes.Set your washing machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and according to the garment care labels on your clothes. Use the right temperature, wash and soil settings, and load size based on the load and the type of clothes.
- For instance, if you're washing delicate items, be sure to select the Delicate or Hand Wash setting.
- Make sure you select the fabric softener setting if your machine has one, otherwise it won’t incorporate your softening alternative into the wash.
Removing Static in the Dryer
Transfer your clean clothes to the dryer.When your washing machine has gone through its full wash, rinse, and spin cycles and come to a stop, remove the clothes from the drum and transfer them to the dryer.
- To help reduce the time your clothes will need in the dryer, you can run a second spin cycle on the washing machine before transferring your clothes.
Add static-reducing balls to the dryer.While these balls won’t necessarily make your clothes softer, they will make them less clingy, less likely to cause shocks, and more comfortable to wear. You can either put two to three wool dryer balls in with your load of laundry, or you can make aluminum foil balls.
- To make an aluminum foil ball for the dryer, measure out about 3 feet (91 cm) of aluminum foil from a roll.
- Scrunch the aluminum foil into a small sphere with a 2- to 3-inch (5- to 8-cm) diameter.
- Pack the foil ball as tightly as possible to make it smoother.
- Add two to three balls to the dryer with each load of laundry.
- Aluminum foil balls can still have jagged edges, so you may want to avoid using them with delicate fabrics.
Run your dryer.Select the dryer settings according to your load of laundry and the manufacturer’s instructions. Be mindful of heat settings, as some fabrics (such as cotton) can shrink in the dryer if the temperature is too high.
- If you're using a time dryer setting and ran your laundry through a second spin cycle, be sure to shorten the timer accordingly.
- You can also use a moisture sensing setting instead, which will automatically stop the dryer when the clothes are dry.
Making Homemade Fabric Softeners
Make a scented vinegar.Instead of adding plain vinegar to your rinse cycle to soften your clothes, you can make a scented vinegar that will add some extra freshness to your laundry.
- To make a scented vinegar, add about 40 drops of essential oils to 1 gallon (3.8 L) of white vinegar.
- Store the mixture in a clearly marked container so that you don’t use the vinegar for cooking by accident.
- Popular essential oils for laundry include lemon, orange, lavender, and mint.
- You can also make essential oil combinations to customize the smell of your laundry. For instance, you can combine mint oil and a citrus oil, or lavender oil with another floral oil.
Create a DIY fabric softener.Instead of adding baking soda and another softening alternative separately to your laundry, you can also make your own homemade fabric softener to use in place of those two ingredients.
- To make a homemade fabric softener, combine the Epsom or sea salt and essential oils and stir until fully combined. Then stir in the baking soda.
- Store the mixture in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- To use, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of homemade fabric softener per load of laundry. Add the mixture to the fabric softener compartment on your machine, or to a fabric softener ball.
Make your own scented dryer sheets.To add even more fresh scent to your laundry, you can also make your own scented dryer sheets. While these won’t soften your laundry the way commercial dryer sheets do, they will infuse your laundry with wonderful smells. To make homemade dryer sheets:
- Cut four or five 4-inch (10-cm) squares from an old cotton or flannel shirt, towel, or blanket
- Place the sheets of fabric into a bowl or jar
- Add 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oils
- Let the sheets rest for about two days, until the oil has soaked into the fabric and then dried out
- Add one sheet to each dryer cycle
- Wash the sheets and repeat when they begin to lose their scent
QuestionIs borax color-safe?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, borax can safely be used on white and colored clothes without stripping dye from the fabric. Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring compound. It is often used as a color-safe bleach alternative, laundry booster, deodorizer, and all-purpose cleaner.Thanks!
Will a combination of Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide really kill MRSA and Staph germs?
Do I need to follow these step by step in part 1 or are these 4 different ways to soften the cloth?
Does Borax disinfect clothing?
- Products like salt, vinegar, and borax will not strip colors from fabrics, so you can use these methods on white, dark, and colored loads.
- To help make line-dried clothes softer and less stiff, run them in the dryer for 10 minutes before and after you dry them on the line. Shake the clothes before putting them on and taking them off the line as well.
- Do not use the washing steps on clothes that are marked as dry clean only. These fabrics cannot get wet, and should not be soaked or washed in water. Instead, take these clothes to a professional dry cleaner for laundering.
Video: DIY Fabric Softener: How to Make Fabric Softener & Save Money on Laundry (Clean My Space)
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