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How To Make All Natural Fabric Softener For The Washer (Plus, How To Get Rid Of Static Cling In The Dryer AND On Clothes You’re Wearing)

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By Regina

Let’s face it, Downy and other liquid fabric softeners are expensive!

Not to mention the fact that they’re made with harsh chemicals, as opposed to using only natural ingredients.

With so many of us doing our best to live greener these days, it makes sense to make your own (safer) household cleaners whenever possible. Homemade liquid fabric softener is no exception.

The fact is that our grandmothers knew all about the benefits of using natural fabric softeners — and there’s no reason that you can’t use some of those exact same natural fabric softeners yourself!

You can make your own natural fabric softener for just pennies. By the way, yes... Borax is a fabric softener and it works wonders at softening your clothes naturally!

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, you’ll also be saving money. These DIY natural fabric softeners cost just pennies to make (the leading brand of fabric softener costs almost 15 cents per load!) — and they work just as well as the expensive name brand fabric softeners do.

In this article you will find:

  • 5 home recipes to make your own natural fabric softener
  • 3 great tips for removing static cling in the dryer
  • 4 ways to remove static cling on clothes as you’re wearing them

By the way, it doesn’t take anything fancy. If you have just ONE of these items, then you can make your own homemade fabric softener:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Borax

Experiment with the following recipes to find the one you like best!

5 Best Natural Fabric Softeners For The Washer

See all the best natural fabric softener recipes!

It’s important to note that the reason you should experiment with the following natural fabric softener recipes is because everyone’s water is different.

Some have extremely hard water. Some have extremely soft water. And there are various degrees of hardness in between. Plus, some people have more calcium and minerals in their water than others do. Due to these differences, no one single recipe for natural fabric softener is right for every person on the planet.

Experiment to find the one that’s best for you and the type of water you have at home…

Fabric Softener Recipe #1: Add 1/2 cup of white Vinegar to the rinse cycle

This a the simplest DIY fabric softener ever! The best part: it will also remove all of the soap residue that is left on your clothes from the wash cycle. I personally use this one, and I haven’t bought regular fabric softener for years.

Fabric Softener Recipe #2: Add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda to the wash cycle

Simply pour the baking soda into the bottom of the washer’s tub before you put your clothes in. It will make your detergent work better, which in turn will make your clothes softer. Keep in mind, this particular fabric softener recipe won’t help to remove static cling though — which is why you may want to combine this recipe with the dryer methods mentioned below. BONUS: while synthetic fabric softeners can interfere with fire-retardant finishes on children’s pajamas and bedding, baking soda can be used safely!

NOTE: Do NOT combine baking soda or vinegar with bleach! It could cause a chemical reaction that will result in noxious fumes.

Fabric Softener Recipe #3 – Use Vinegar and Baking Soda to get the best of both worlds

Put 1/2 cup of baking soda in the wash tub before adding your clothes. Then put 1/2 cup of vinegar in the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine before you hit start. This will result in softer clothes with no static cling.

Here’s another recipe that combines baking soda and vinegar:

  • In a gallon size bucket, combine 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of water. (You don’t have to mix them together or try to dissolve the baking soda.)
  • Next, add 6 cups of white vinegar. (Don’t be alarmed at the extreme fizzing action, this chemical reaction is normal. Allow the mixture to fizz for 3 to 4 minutes.)
  • Then, add 6 cups of water and stir well.
  • If you like the idea of having a scented fabric softener, then add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture.
  • Finally, clean out an empty liquid laundry container and fill it with your homemade fabric softer.
  • When you’re ready to do laundry, add 1/3 cup of your homemade fabric softener to the final rinse cycle. (TIP: Shake thoroughly before each use.)

Fabric Softener Recipe #4: Add 1/2 cup of Borax to the wash cycle

Are you surprised to learn that Borax is a fabric softener? Yes! Borax helps to soften the water — which in turn softens your clothes. Just be sure to add it to the tub of your washing machine before adding your clothes. You can find Borax in the laundry section of just about any grocery store.

Fabric Softener Recipe #5 – Add Hair Conditioner, Vinegar, and Water to the rinse cycle

Combine 2 cups of hair conditioner (try to use natural or organic), 3 cups of vinegar, and 6 cups of water. Keep this mixture in an old liquid laundry soap (or fabric softener) container.  Add it as you would normally add fabric softener to the rinse cycle when you’re washing clothes. BONUS: This also works wonders to remove pet hair from your washer when you’re laundering pet toys, blankets, and bedding.

3 All Natural Ways To Stop Static Cling In The Dryer

See how to prevent static cling with clothing removed from the dryer.

These DIY laundry solutions will prevent static cling when removing your clothing from the dryer:

#1  Add 2 tennis balls or natural dryer balls to your clothes dryer.

These will not only help to soften your clothes, but they will also help to cut down on static cling. This video shows how to make your own all-natural dryer balls

#2  Spray a rag with vinegar until it’s thoroughly damp and toss the rag into the dryer with your clothes.

Think of it as a great way to make your own homemade dryer sheets! It’s inexpensive, plus you can recycle the rag over and over which is a definite plus.

#3  To stretch your fabric softener dollars even farther (whether you buy all-natural fabric softener or make your own), try this:

  • Empty 1 large bottle of fabric softener into a 5-gallon bucket.
  • Add 2 large bottles of water to the bucket (use the same fabric softener bottle, so the ratio is correct).
  • Add a few all-purpose sponges (cut in half) to the mixture.
  • Stir the fabric softener, water, and sponge pieces together.
  • The next time you add a load of clothes to the dryer, squeeze the liquid out of 1 piece of sponge and add that sponge to your dryer load.
  • After the clothes are dry, drop the sponge back into your fabric softener bucket to use again later!

Related: How To Make Your Own Dryer Sheets

4 Ways To Remove Static Cling On Clothes You’re Currently Wearing

Here are 4 things you can do if the clothes you're currently wearing have static cling!

To get rid of static cling from clothing that you’re wearing, try these hacks:

1.  The metal hanger trick can be used on already-clean clothes that you’re wearing:

  • If it’s a skirt or dress… reach up underneath the garment with a wire hanger and brush the inside of the garment with the metal hanger from top to bottom.
  • If it’s pants… elongate the hanger and reach up inside each pant leg, brushing the metal hanger downward inside the pant legs.

2.  If you have static cling with a skirt or dress, put some lotion on your hands, then lightly rub your hands on your hose, tights, or the underside of a dress or skirt.

3.  Rub the underside of the garment with a dryer sheet.

4.  Spray hairspray or water on your hose to remove static cling from a dress or skirt.

Read next: Fabric Softeners & Dryer Sheets: Myths vs Facts!

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5 best DIY natural fabric softener recipes + Ways to get rid of static cling from the dryer (and on the clothes you're wearing)