Here are several quick tips for cutting costs on fabric softeners and sheets, each point is a separate tip. Next you’ll find two recipes for making your own (one scented), plus instructions for reusable dryer sheets, bags and wool balls.
- Using 1/4 cup vinegar in your laundry’s rinse cycle keeps clothes soft. You can set aside a vinegar jug just for laundry and add about 2 dozen drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar if you’d like (or as much EO as you feel necessary).
- In a pail mix 1 gallon of water and 1 cup concentrated liquid fabric softener. Dip a sponge or washcloth in the liquid, squeeze out excess and toss in the dryer with your laundry. Seal pail when not in use.
- Pour liquid fabric softener and hot water in a spray bottle (50/50 mix) and lightly mist wet laundry before starting the dryer. Two or three good shots should do it. You could also just spritz a clean washcloth and toss that in the dryer.
- Cut dryer sheets in thirds or halves, use one strip per dryer load.
- Mix equal parts hair conditioner and water and store in spray bottle. Mist a washcloth or sponge and toss in dryer with wet load.
- Use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the liquid fabric softener that they recommend on the bottle.
- 1/8 cup baking soda added to laundry and 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
- Use a Downy ball if you have one–just use vinegar instead.
- Soak a washcloth in full strength liquid fabric softener. Wring out excess, then lay out to dry first before using–helps prevent staining laundry the first time. To use: toss the dried washcloth in the dryer and use again and again until it no longer works. Resoak when needed (you should be able to do a few dozen dryer loads per soak).
1 part Vinegar
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Hot Water
- Place a pail large enough to hold double the amount of ingredients in the kitchen sink or bathtub. Mix the baking soda and water in the pail, stir till the powder is dissolved. Then add the vinegar.
- Remember that baking soda and vinegar reacts with fizzing, so use a big pail to account for this. Once it’s stopped fizzing, pour into clean bottles, cap, then use 1/4 cup per rinse cycle.
- Updated Info: The baking soda won’t be completely dissolved, just shake the bottle to mix the batch up before adding to the rinse cycle.
Cheryl sent in this recipe that is scented with your favorite essential oils.
I’ve had good success with this fabric softener and enjoy trying different fragrances just to keep things interesting. The scent is light once clothes have been dried and you can increase the amount of essential oils if the fragrance isn’t strong enough for you.Thanks for sharing this recipe Cheryl!
1 cup baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
8 cups white vinegar
- First mix the vinegar and water together then add the baking soda gradually, stirring the whole time. You will want to make sure to use a large pail to accommodate the fizzing activity from the baking soda and vinegar reaction.
- Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a washed, gallon sized milk jug (plastic), add 1/3 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, cap and seal then shake well.
- To use: Shake each time before use, adding 1/2 to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.
For essential oil ideas, consider germ fighting gems like Eucalyptus or Tea Tree. If scent is what you’re after, consider lavender or even citrus favorites like orange or lemon.
Reusable Dryer Sheet Instructions:
4 TBS liquid softener
10 TBS water
- Cut fabric sheets from old flannel pajamas or leftover flannel fabric from sewing and cut into 3″ x 5″ strips (approximately).
- Stack flannel strips in a cleaned margarine tub (large size) or plastic container (cleaned baby wipes container works well too). Mix the liquid softener and water together, then pour evenly over top of stacked flannel strips.
- Seal container and shake well.
Herbal Lavender Bags:
*First published September 27, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
Fresh and fragrant laundry can be achieved chemical free with easy to make lavender dryer bags. Using lavender buds gives the benefit of a natural moth repellent, sleep aid and a natural antibacterial.
Skip the fabric softener sheets, use 1/4 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle (for static cling help, up the amount to 1/2 cup if needed) and toss the herbal sachets in the dryer for fresh smelling laundry. For optimal benefit, use organic lavender.
5″ x 5″ cotton muslin or cheesecloth squares (2)
- Sew large “tea bags” out of the muslin or cheesecloth squares, leaving an opening at the top to fill with lavender. Sew the top shut. No need to sew fancy, just place the squares together and sew a single seam along the top about 1/4″ from the edge.
- Roughly squeeze the bags before tossing in the dryer with wet laundry. When laundry is done the scent is light, not overwhelming at all. Especially nice to use on loads of bedding (sweet, fragrant dreams).
- Bags are reusable! When the lavender is no longer doing its job, take a seam ripper and open about 2″ on one end, empty the bag, refill and sew shut. For one last kick at the can, crush the used lavender and toss it around your carpet. Let sit for about an hour then vacuum.
How To Make Wool Dryer Balls:
*First published July 30th, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization
Never buy fabric softener again with today’s feature from Good Mama: Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls, how cool are these! The balls will cut your drying time yet leave clothes soft, fluffy and static free without the use of chemicals or dryer sheets. Based on the old “tennis ball in the dryer” trick, but without the tennis balls!
What You’ll Need:
- Wool Yarn: Use 100% wool or a good felting yarn for best results. . . Great yarn stash buster!
- Old Pantyhose: You can also use a sock
- Cotton or Acrylic Yarn or String: Use to tie closed the hose (or sock). Don’t use wool yarn for this part–scraps are good for this too.
- Small Crochet Hook
- Measuring Tape
- Optional – Sachet of Dried Flowers or Herbs: Make your own scented dryer balls by winding your ball around a little sachet of fragrant dried herbs & flowers. The scent doesn’t last forever, but still a nice touch!
- First make the core by winding small balls of yarn (tight), then tie them off in a nylon stocking or sock. Wash the batch in preferably hot water and dry to felt them (keep the balls attached together in the stocking, you don’t need to cut them off to separate at this point). Wash and dry again if you want to felt them more.
- Next cut the balls loose from the stocking, wind more yarn around the balls to the size you want, tie them off in a nylon stocking again and wash then dry to felt. Doing this in two steps keeps the inside of the balls tight and will hold together better than a ball done in one step.
- Once they’re at least slightly felted, the balls are good to use. They will continue to felt and get harder as you use them.
- If the yarn is machine washable, don’t use it for this project.
- Use a crochet hook to tuck in the ends of the yarn so the ball stays tight and doesn’t loosen up through use.
- Wind the balls about 10-10.5 inches in circumference prior to felting, they will shrink as they felt.
- When first making the balls and felting them, you can toss them in with loads of laundry to save water and time. Be aware there may be some dye bleeding though if it’s not colorfast yarn–throw them in with a load of towels in similar colors.
- When ready to use, start with a couple balls in the dryer then work your way up to the amount of balls that give you the best results.
- The wool balls may get pills on them with use, just give them a shave with a sweater shaver as needed (if you want–otherwise ignore!).