DIY Fabric Softener

  I love the smell of fabric softener especially on my sheet and towels, so when I saw this idea here I decided that I really wanted to try this out!  It is a very simple, inexpensive way to make your own fabric softener and it only has 3 ingredients!


  • 6 cups HOT water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups Hair Conditioner (I used Suave, but you can use any that you like the smell of)    Whisk the hot water and conditioner together.  Make sure that the conditioner is completely mixed with the water and there are no clumps.  I just did mine in this empty ice cream bucket.  You might have to stir for a couple of minutes to get all the lumps out.

Add Vinegar and mix well (I read that the vinegar is the actual softener- the conditioner I think is just for scent.  Vinegar also helps with static sling).  I put mine in an  big empty Downy bottle and you use it just like you would any liquid fabric softener!  This makes quite a large batch, so if you do not have a big bottle or container to pour it into, you may only want to make half a batch.

I like how inexpensive this was to make.  You need to pick a conditioner with a lot of scent if you are a smell freak like me.  This particular scent is not a real strong one, so next time I make it I will go for a different scent.  But as far as the fabric softener goes, it works like a charm and it is so much cheaper to make your own!

49 thoughts on “DIY Fabric Softener

  1. I only have 2 cups of distiller white vinegar, could I substitute a cup of apple cider vinegar? I had enough but my bucket had something in it and I didn’t realize it..now I have everything measured out ready to make and I don’t have enough vinegar.. Please let me know.. Soon! Lol

    1. I am not 100 percent sure on the apple cider vinegar, but I would think that it would be just fine! It may affect the smell, but I don’t think that it will affect the softening agent. Sorry, I don’t know for sure. Good luck and let me know how it works!

  2. I love the idea of homemade fabric softener! I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about 6 months and its great that I’ll be able to make my own fabric softener too! I do have a concern though. I have a newborn with sensitive skin. I currently use Fragrance and Dye Free fabric softener for her and when making my laundry soap I do not add any scents to it. Is this recipe safe for infants?

      1. when making your own laundry soap, just add your vinegar to the mix. You don’t need the conditioner at all for this to work. I’ve been using vinegar for a long time and it works wonderfully for so many things! I buy the biggest bottles I can and try to always keep some around.

  3. This works wonderful !!!!!!!!!!!!! I find that one bottle of conditioner has just a little more than the two cups so I just kinda measure it out and add more vinegar as well as a little more water to use up the remaining conditioner. Still works perfect.
    Thanks for sharing.

      1. I also have an HE washing machine and some fabric softeners gum it up. If anyone else with an HE has used this successfully, please share!

  4. you can skip the conditioner and use essential oil(s) instead. the vinegar is what softens the laundry.if you purchase cheap conditioner,the scent may not be as strong as you expected…essential oils,however,you can customize the scent and the strength. :)

  5. This seems like a great idea! Thanks for sharing it! Do I just put it pour it in my dryer or do I pour the softener in my washer? How much should I use?

    1. Pour it in your washing machine where you put your liquid fabric softner. Use the same amount that your washer recommends. Usually about 1/4 cup.

  6. @ Rita
    Thanks for sharing! Were do I pour the softner, my dryer or washer what part? Also how much would I use for each load

    1. You would use the same amount that you use for any liquid fabric softener. I use about 1/4 cup, but use what your washing machine recommends.

  7. I have made two batches of this. I think it is great. I have been cleaning with vinegar for quite some time and always have some on hand. I buy two of the smaller size bottles of Suave. Each small bottle has a little over 1 cup, almost 2 cups. The conditioner is only $1.00 per bottle. I store it in a milk jug. It fills the jug 3/4 of the way. I put it in my Downy ball.

    1. Barb, thanks for your comment, I love to hear from you and I appreciate your taking the time to write. Thanks also for your support! I also, love that it is an inexpensive way to make a good fabric softener!

    1. Autumn, I just used an old cap from a bottle of softener to measure my fabric softener, and it depends of the size of fabric softener that you use, as to how many loads you will get. As to price comparison, it mostly depends on the price of your softener. I have always found it to be cheaper than buying the fabric softener though.

  8. I love your journal pages that you featured in your last post,but when I clicked on the link I couldn’t find the cover pages or the journal sheets that you were showing. Could you help me find them please.


  9. Essential oil of your choice may help intensify the scent too:) I have lavender on hand and may have to test this out bc we go through fabric softener so fast. Thanks for the pin:)

    1. I would be careful adding oil to your softener for fear of it staining your clothes, so try this out first before adding to the whole batch.

  10. The home made softener sounds wonderful. I have often used conditioner for tights and underwear. So this will be a good idea to try on regular laundry. The measurements make about 2.7 litres of conditioner.
    Thanks for a grand site and sharing your ideas.
    Annette – South Africa

    1. Annette, Thank you so much for your kind comment. I love hearing from you and your sweet support. I hope that you have a great day in South Africa!

    1. Francine, I am so glad that you like it! It is so much cheaper and works so well! It sounds like you have a job now making more for your family members! Maybe they will have to make you a treat in return! :)

  11. I made this and I love using it! I had some organic conditioner left it turned out great. Thank so much! If you any other ideas I like to try them.

    1. Maggie, so glad that you like the fabric softener! It is a great DIY project and I love that you used organic conditioner! Hope you have a great day!

  12. Hi Rita!
    I actually went on Pinterest today in search of a fabric softener recipe because, well let’s face it- I’m broke! I am a single mother of three kids and lost my job last month. Luckily I was able to find something quickly but waiting two weeks on pay while already living hand to fist isn’t an easy task. Luckily I found your recipe first thing and had the ingredients on hand. Thank you so much for this post and if there is a way to subscribe to your fabulous ideas, please let me know!

    1. Krista, I am so glad you found this recipe. It is a great one and it is inexpensive to make! You can subscribe at There is a box to put your email in and you will receive and email every time I post. Thank you for your kind words and your support. Hope you have a great day!

    1. Valerie, I really do not know because I use the batches that I make right up, but I would assume it will last as long as the conditioner is good.

  13. I have been using this in my HE washer with no issues at all. Make sure though that you complete your monthly cleaning of the lint filter just in case.

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