Vinegar fabric softener is a cheap and easy way to make your clothes fresh and clean. If you like to make your own laundry detergent then DIY fabric softener is the next logical way to help keep unwanted chemicals out of your home. Check out these easy homemade fabric softener ideas and try my easy two ingredient recipe for DIY natural fabric softener.
Vinegar Fabric Softener
Why should you switch to vinegar fabric softener? Most conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets are toxic and coat clothing fibers with build-up. This build up makes is harder to clean clothing and towels. In fact, if you use microfiber cleaning cloths you should definitely not use traditional fabric softener because it coats the fibers and prevents it from soaking up water and working effectively.
This recipe can be made unscented or if you prefer a light fragrance on your clean laundry you can add essential oils.
What does fabric softener do to clothes?
Fabric softeners are formulated to do just what they say—soften and freshen fabric. Think of fabric softener to clothing as hair conditioner to your hair (we’ll show you how you can use hair conditioner as fabric softener in a moment). Fabric softener helps to make your clothes smell fresh and stops static electricity from forming in the dryer.
Why is vinegar good to use as a fabric softener?
If you don’t like the idea of using heavily-scented commercial fabric softeners, but want softer clothes, distilled white vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener and leaves no residue on laundry. Just add one-half cup to the final rinse cycle
Vinegar is mildly acidic (5-6 percent) The acid helps to soften fabric fibers as well as remove odors and prevent mildew scents.
The vinegar helps remove any detergent and soil that is clinging to fabric clothes feeling soft and clean.
Simply add white vinegar (apple cider is fine too- just use whatever is on sale) to the fabric softener dispenser or to a fabric softener ball. The white vinegar will act as a fabric softener AND it will keep your washing machine smelling fresh and clean!
Can you use vinegar and laundry detergent together?
Yes as long as the detergent does not contain bleach. Bleach and vinegar together is a big no-no as it creates toxic chlorine gas.
How much vinegar do you use to soften laundry?
For a regular full load you can use ¼ cup of vinegar
For yellowing, soak the clothes overnight in a mixture of one part vinegar and 12 parts water. The following day, put it in the washing machine on the rinse cycle with half a cup of vinegar to really bring back the white. For a stain spot treatment, apply undiluted vinegar to stain and wash immediately.
Where do you put vinegar in a washing machine?
The white distilled vinegar should be placed in the fabric softener dispenser so it will be added during the rinse cycle. Fill the fabric softener cup to the top level with the white vinegar.
If your washing machine does not have a fabric softener dispenser you can pour it into a Downy ball, toss it in at the beginning of the cycle and it will be released during the rinse cycle.
If you don’t have a Downy ball you can just manually pour it in during the rinse cycle
Can you use Vinegar as fabric softener in HE washing machine?
Yes, it is just fine.
Can you add baking soda to the wash too?
Yes but not during the rinse cycle. Baking soda and vinegar together will just cancel each other out since one is an acid and the other is base. Baking soda can also help make your clothes fresh and clean. Add it at the beginning of the cycle with the deteregent and leave the vinegar until the end.
Another way to use vinegar is to soak a few small rags with vinegar and essential oils and then add them to the dryer like dryer sheets.
- Cut up an old towel or wash cloth into squares about 6 inches large.
- Soak in a mixture of water and vinegar plus 12 drops off your favorite essential oil.
- Keep in an airtight container so that they don’t dry out.
- Add one or two to your dryer right before it starts.
What can be used in place of fabric softener?
For these reasons, many homeowners are looking for the best alternatives to fabric softeners that can offer the same benefits but without the harmful effects.
- Wool Dryer Balls– I put these ones in my dryer to help prevent static
- Epsom Salt – add a half cup to the wash cycle.
- Hair Conditioner- See recipe below
- Tennis Ball – use like the wool dryer balls but beware your laundry might smell like rubber.
- Aluminum foil- simply crumple it up into a few balls and toss them into the dryer.
All of the items above can be used to in place of fabric softener. My favorite to use in the dryer are the wool dryer balls. The dryer balls help prevent static in the dryer as it tumbles. You can put about 5-7 drops of essential oils onto the wool balls and it will help give your clothing a light scent.
The only controversial item to use for fabric softener on the list is hair conditioner. While it works fine, smells good and is cheap, if you are looking to get away from unwanted chemicals and build up on your clothing then you’re probably going to have the same issues with hair conditioner as you will with traditional fabric softeners.
However if you wish to try it, simply mix one cup of conditioner with 3 cups of vinegar. Mix it gently and then add it to 5 cups of water. Use 2-3 tablespoons per load.
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- 5 cups of water
- 3 cups of vinegar
- 1 cup of conditioner
- measuring cup
- large jug
- Fill the jug with 5 cups of water.
- In a separate dish add 3 cups of vinegar.
- Stir the conditioner into the vinegar.
- Pour it into the jug with the water.
- Shake it gently to mix
- Add 2 or 3 tablespoons to every load of laundry.
Use conditioner that is cheap and that you like the smell of. The dollar store is a good place to buy it.
Have you made your own fabric softener or laundry detergent before? Let me know your best recipes in the comments.