Continuing on from yesterday's post on homemade laundry powder, I thought I'd offer up my attempt at homemade fabric softener.
One of the most popular versions on the web seems to be one which uses hair conditioner (for the scent), mixed with varying amounts of water and vinegar. As the whole point of this exercise, for me anyway, is to become as chemical-free as possible, this one certainly isn't for me. Especially when you consider some of the ghastly chemicals that are stuffed into conditioners!
Not only that, from a frugal perspective, it makes no sense to me to buy a bottle of 'cheap' conditioner at around £1, plus the cost of the vinegar, when a bottle of chemical fabric conditioner can cost as little as £1 by itself. Until recently, these are the ones I've been buying and as they're concentrated, have been decanting a one litre bottle into a larger three litre container, and topping up with water.
My homemade solution? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Actually, this formula contains no lemon at all - although a good dollop of lemon juice in the softener dispenser works wonders with a white load, especially if you're able to line dry in nice bright sunshine. The lemon juice combined with sunlight acts as a natural bleaching agent for sparkly whites :)
No, my fabric conditioner consists of nothing more exotic than a vinegar and water mix. I used a 568ml bottle of white vinegar (around 49p at ASDA), topped off with around 2 litres of water, to which I added 15 drops of essential oil. My preference is for the woodsy aromas and I might actually up the number of drops a little next time around. I'll leave it up to you which essential oil you add, or you could create your own blend of two or more oils for your own unique aroma.
Just remember (having of course first made sure you've screwed the lid on tightly!!) to give the bottle a good shake before each use to disperse the oils evenly throughout the mixture.
Don't worry that your clothes will come out stinking of vinegar; they don't. And as an added bonus, using vinegar in the final rinse gets rid of any soap residue on both your clothes and the innards of the washing machine as well. A definite win-win solution :)
As well as being a great natural softener, vinegar is also a good machine descaler, an absolute must if you're in a hard water area like I am.
Unlike me, you did remember to tighten that lid before you shook the bottle, didn't you?!