Homemade Fabric Softener

To go along with my homemade laundry detergent I posted a while back, today I am posting my homemade fabric softener recipe. It is super simple and comes together really quickly. I had a recipe I got from some blog somewhere, but over the past couple years it has gotten lost and I have played with it a little bit to make the recipe I like the best.

The basic recipe is a 2:1:1 ratio of water, conditioner, and vinegar.

I normally buy the super cheap conditioner at whatever store I am at that week. Sometimes I get coupons for V05 and can pick it up for almost free, other times I will buy the Suave when it is on sale. It honestly doesn’t matter, I have found no difference between conditioner brands.

I always use the big jugs of white vinegar that you can get at WalMart for a dollar or whatever.

If you are partial to a particular scent then you may want to use that. I enjoy the water/ocean/outdoor scents. But the raspberry is also quite nice.

I keep my old Downy bottle and store my softener in it. When I make the softener I do follow a few steps:

  • Heat up the water
  • Add the conditioner and whisk it together
  • Add the vinegar and whisk it together

That’s it!

The first few times you make it, you may want to be careful and do it in a bowl or sauce pan. For the most part, I just run about 6 cups of hot water (we keep our water heater really high), dump it in the Downy bottle, squeeze in 3 cups of conditioner, and 3 cups of vinegar. Then I shake the shit out of the bottle.

Regardless of how I make it, I always shake the bottle real quick before adding it to the washing machine to make sure anything that has floated to the bottom gets stirred back in.

Hope you like it!

Laundry Detergent

I have said before, in previous posts, that I make my own laundry detergent. It is simple, easy, and WAY cheaper than buying it at the store. I have been making it myself for a little over two years, I had a little break while I was pregnant because Wonderful Husband decided he wanted to go back to using Tide. He still does buy a small bottle to travel with him and will give me the left overs, but it is a luxury to use it.

There are a billion different recipes online for homemade detergent, and I am just going to add to it by posting my own. Most recipes call for some type of laundry bar (Fels Naptha, Zote, Castille, etc), Washing Soda, and Borax. I have played with my recipe and use the following breakdown:

1/2 bar Fels Naptha
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
5 Gallon bucket
Larger Stock Pot

Using your big stock pot, put about 4 cups of water in it and turn it on to boil. While it is heating up, grate up your Fels Naptha (I seriously use my old cheese grater). When the water is at a rolling boil, add in the Fels Naptha and stir it gently until it is dissolved. Don’t whisk it or anything intense because it will get super bubbly. Once the soap is incorporated, stir in your Borax and Washing Soda. Stir it all together for a minute or two and then turn off the heat.

Get your faucet running hot water, the hotter the better, and fill up your 5 gallon bucket about halfway. Then add in your pot of soap mix. Stir it all together for a minute, and then add some more hot water into your bucket. I don’t really measure, but I would guess I end up with about 4 gallons when I am finished. Now, let your mixture set over night.

The next morning, it will be like a giant bucket of jello. Very carefully mix it up. I use Wonderful Husband’s paint stir attachment on his power drill. Once it is all stirred up and smooth it will really look like laundry detergent!

I saved old Tide bottles and fill them up so it is easier to dispense, but it is also fine to leave it in the bucket, put it in old milk jugs, pretty beverage containers, whatever you feel like doing!

It is a huge money saver for us. Fels Naptha is about 75 cents a bar, Washing soda is $2, and Borax is $2.50. You can get all of the ingredients to make a years worth of detergent for less than $10! Compared to $17 for only 50 loads with Tide. It gets the clothes very clean, and doesn’t smell unpleasant at all. I suppose if you wanted add essential oils to make it smell prettier you could do that too.

I also make our own fabric softener, but that’s for another day!