Natural, Cheap Fabric Softener


White washing machine filling with waterIn this previous post I shared with you how you can make natural laundry soap that costs about half as much as store-bought, chemical-ridden detergent. (Could be even cheaper if you do fewer than 365 loads per year!). Today I want to give you a similar ‘recipe’ for natural, inexpensive fabric softener:

Natural, Cheap Fabric Softener


White Vinegar


Add ½ cup to the rinse cycle. (If you have a fabric softener dispenser, add the vinegar as you would normally add fabric softener. Or you could use a Downy Ball.)

The Details

Right now you’re thinking one of three things:

  1. Cool!
  2. Yuck!
  3. Really?

(If you had a reaction other than those three…  just… don’t tell me, ok?) Let’s address each reaction.


Really. According to an article on Mother Nature Network:

“Vinegar is cheap and nontoxic, effective and antimicrobial. It naturally softens and as a bonus, it helps to remove soap residue. Finally, vinegar aids in static reduction during drying.”

I’m no scientist so I can’t tell you how it does all those great things, but I can tell you from experience that it works! And not only is the vinegar good for your clothes but it also helps to clean the inside of your washing machine.

I also saw a tip that if you pin a couple of safety pins to clothes in the dryer it helps to reduce static cling.


Plain old white vinegar is not the tastiest or best smelling stuff on Earth. So maybe the thought of it touching your clothes grosses you out a smidge. Don’t worry, friends! Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar, I promise! However, if you use an automatic fabric softener dispenser that may retain a (small!) bit of vinegar smell. If you’re freaked out by the idea of putting something less than rosy-smelling in with your laundry, you could amend your vinegar fabric softener with a tablespoon of aromatic hair conditioner. A natural hair conditioner would be best if you’re going for, well, natural. If price is your main concern, go for something cheap like Suave.


Yeah, it is cool! White vinegar is natural, it’s cheap (less than $2 for 1 gallon) and it works! Someday I intend to learn how to make my own vinegar at home, making it a sustainable solution as well.

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