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DIY Fabric Softener

plastic bottle of detergent in studio

I hate waste. In my household, we try to live by the three R’s; Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. There is a reason that Reduce and Reuse come first in the three R’s, too. And if you’ve been seeing the news over the past few years, less and less of our recycling is actually being recycled. This is where my DIY fabric softener comes in.

If you’re like me, you never run out of shampoo and conditioner at the same time. If you do – you need to tell me how because I can never line those up! I also get bored with my shampoos and conditioners and tend to change out the scents or the brands with some regularity. So what to do with all this extra conditioner? Make fabric softener!

Fabric Softener vs Dryer Sheets

There are so many arguments in favor of one or the other. But once again, I am trying to reduce waste and constantly having to throw away used dryer sheets just wasn’t in the cards anymore. Plus, dryer sheets can coat the inside of your dryer and reduce the efficacy of your lint trap. They also make your towels less absorbent.

Fabric softener from the store also has it’s problems, don’t get me wrong. It keeps your clothes static-free, but can affect the fire-resistant qualities of some children’s clothes. And there’s usually that big plastic bottle to recycle.

DIY Fabric Softener

I guarantee you have all of these ingredients in your home, so you can throw this together at any time. I also had a large drink pitcher that I wasn’t really using anymore, so I keep my softener in there. But you can always reuse an old fabric softener jug.


DIY Fabric Softener
  • 1 cup of hair conditioner
  • 3 cups of white vinegar
  • 5 cups of hot water

The water absolutely MUST be boiled before you start this project. It’s not specifically required for the assembly part – rather, you need distilled water to kill off any bacteria in the water. This allows you to make a large quantity without it “going bad”. If you think you won’t go through the softener fast enough (as in a couple of months), you can always add phenonip to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

I toss all of these ingredients into the giant pitcher, give it a shake and BOOM – instant fabric softener. You will notice that the fabric softener will separate when left alone for a little while. Just give your container a quick shake and add to the machine.

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