May 8, 2012

DIY Fabric Softener

Time to try a new homemade product because I emptied another container . . . this time it was my fabric softener.  When I try a new homemade recipe I start with a smaller batch, just to be sure I like it first. 

What to use (this fits in a 1 gallon container):
6 cups of water
3 cups of vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner (I used 2 1/2 cups)*

What I used just to try it out:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/3 cup of hair conditioner *

** SMALLER BATCH - I used 2/3 cup of hair conditioner the second time I made this batch because 1/3 cup wasn't very fragrant.  I thought adding more conditioner would help it to have a stronger smell.  It did, but my husband thought it was too thick.  We have the HE front loading washing machine and dryer.

LARGER BATCH - I used 2 1/2 cups of conditioner.  It seems to be more fragrant and not as thick.
The Process:
I poured the water and vinegar in a mixing bowl and stirred them together.  Before adding the conditioner I heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds for the small batch and 1 minute and 30 seconds for the large batch.  Heating the conditioner made it mix more easily.  Once it was heated I added it to the water and vinegar mixture and whisked them all together. 

My Opinion:
It is very easy to make the softener and doesn't take very much time.  I use 1/4 of a cup of the softener per load of laundry.  I have a front loading HE washing machine.  I just add the softener in the area labeled softener. 

I previously used Downy.  I used to add a little water to the Downy because it was too thick and was leaving a lot of residue in the softener slot.  The homemade softener isn't as thick as the Downy and I don't have to add water to it.

The clothes came out soft and static free.  They smell clean, but the fragrance isn't as strong as the fragrance of Downy.  I'm still playing around with the amount of conditioner to add in hopes of getting a stronger fragrance.  I'll post updates regarding my opinion.

***Update 6/5/12***

Price Break Down:

1 gallon of vinegar costs $3.83 (at Walmart)
      I used 3 cups of vinegar. This would equal .72.

15 oz. of conditioner costs $0.94 (at Walmart)
      I used 2 ½ cups (20 oz) of the conditioner.  This would equal $1.25.

1 batch of the DIY Softener made 11 ½ cups of softener and costs me $1.97.  If I use ¼ of a cup for each load of laundry I am able to soften loads 46 of laundry with 1 batch.  This means I am spending $0.04 per load.

According 90 oz. of Downy softens 105 loads of laundry and costs $6.97. This breaks down to $0.06 per load.


  1. Can you use it on colors?

  2. You are ambitious, creating your own household products! I just stopped by from SITS to say hello. Hope you find time to do the same.

    1. Thanks for stopping by :) Hope to see you again!

  3. You are brave to create your own fabric softener. I'm not sure I can do it yet.

    1. Brave . . . why thank you :) I'd just say cheap!

  4. Your own fabric softener?! I agree with Jessica...You are indeed brave! Not cheap, my dear...definitely brave. =)

    1. Well thank you very much! I do have a small confession . . . The fact that I get to make the container look cute is a motivating factor for me :)

  5. I agree with Jessica above. You're brave! I haven't tried to make any of my own products yet and I'm afraid of messing something up!

    1. Thank you! I was worried, too. I started out making smaller batches of things so I could 'test' out and have less to get rid of if I didn't like it.

  6. I am happy to read your review because now I won't be afraid to try it... I do so love the smell of my snuggle though, I will have to be thinking snuggle and go and smell different hair conditioners.

    Momma Marge

    1. I'm glad to hear that you're not afraid :) Try it and let me know what you think. Also, if you find a conditioner that has a stronger 'typical' softener smell please share! I guess I should have included that I used Suave Mango Mandarin in my post . . . oops!