DIY Fabric Softener

Who doesn’t love a good DIY cleaning recipe?

The good news is, you can make your own, residue-free fabric softener for a few cents!

What the Heck is Fabric Softener, Really…

Fabric softener is designed to remove static cling and soften the clothing so that when it comes out of the dryer, clothes are fluffier and softer.  Traditional fabric softener leaves a waxy-like coating on the fibres which is designed to repel static cling.  This also leaves residue behind on the clothing and the innards of the machine, not to mention the strong and sometimes irritating scent it leaves behind.

Hold Up, I Don’t Want That!

Don’t sweat it!  Try making your own for a very few, teeny tiny cents.  I’ve got two options in case you don’t like or can’t find white vinegar.

Recipe 1: Vinegar Option

Attention: Fear not, your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar when done.  Add 10 drops of essential oil of your choosing to 1 litre of white vinegar.  That’s is, so simple!  Essential oil usage is optional and won’t affect the scent of your clothing, but it can help with brightening, stain removal or will act as an antibacterial agent.  I am going to add a mixture of lemon and rosemary to mine, but feel free to research the various properties of essential oils and add whichever you wish to your vinegar.  Vinegar on its own will work just fine

Add 1/4 cup to HE loads and 1/2 cup to top load washers during the rinse cycle.

Recipe 2: Epsom Salt Option

If you despise vinegar, here’s a cool idea.  Make your own fabric softener crystals by adding 40 drops of essential oils of your choosing to two cups of epsom salts (or coarse salt), and a half cup of baking soda.  Add ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to coat all granules.  Again, you can skip the essential oils if you wish, but why?  They smell nice and they can add some extra cleaning wizardry.  I’ll take it!
Add  2-3 tablespoons depending on the size of the load and to the washing machine during the rinse cycle (that way they don’t dissolve early).
There you go – two easy and effective DIY fabric softeners!

If you’re looking to up your cleaning game check out our E-Book Bundle! It gives you three amazing e-books (The Complete Guide to Essential Oils, My 3-Wave Cleaning System, and 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes) and is the perfect gift for any cleaning fanatics out there!

diy fabric softener

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Hi, Just wondering if the epsom salt recipe for fabric softener can be turned into liquid. As this recipe i added to the middle part (softener section) of my front loader, but it didn’t go down for some reason. Can i add vinegar to this??

  2. Hello Melissa & Chad, I Wonder if you have an adress where to find all the recepies for DIY cleaners, It would be so much.

    • No, unlike fabric softeners which leave kind of a waxy substance on the towel, the vinegar mixture/salt is changing the ph levels in the water. Vinegar works into the fibers and makes them more “pliable” like when you begin to wear out a shirt. If your water is very hard where you notice white rings around it, I recommend the vinegar route. It will not leave your clothes smelling like anything. Just be sure to add it to the rinse cycle and not in with your soap. =]

  3. For the vinegar (liquid) fabric softener, you told us how much to use for high efficiency washers as well as conventional washers. However, for the epsom salt (granular) version, I did not hear whether or not this can be used in a high efficiency washer, which I have. Can this version be used in HE washers? If so, how much?

    • Hi! Did you ever happen to find out if it’s ok to use the Epsom salts in HE washers? If so do u place them where you typically put it? Or in the drum with the clothes?

  4. Thanks for this Melissa! I’ve always appreciated your videos & info, but now that my daughter just had a severe allergic reaction to our fabric softener, I appreciate these solutions even more.

  5. great information – do you a safe way to clean a bird cage (cockie) of the build up of poop etc especially to stop it smelling – l really don’t have the time to clean it out every day

  6. Can you add the vinegar to the automatic fab. softener dispenser in the washing machine? Or do you have to add by hand when it reaches the rinse cycle?

  7. Hi Melissa,
    Our rental has bad mold and mildew problems in shower, kitchen and toilets. I can get it out of the toilet where you can see if you look straight into the toilet bowl but when you look under the rim it looks disgusting and the toilet brush can’t clean it and I use comet. So can you help? I would love to see you clean a really disgusting toilet like what I described and a shower that has mold growing up through the caulking.

  8. cut down on soap powder by using half soda crystals instead brings clothes up clean with out the cost. Also can be used with floor cleaner.

  9. Hello Melissa,
    I just discovered your cleaning videos about midnight….and, well it is now close to 4 am and I have been enthralled with your no nonsense approach to cleaning. Watching you with your perky smile and funny gestures makes cleaning look fun. I have watched more videos tonight than I can count and I’m still smiling. You have inspired me to tell my friends about you and to take on the challenge of even more housecleaning ! Yes, I have a micro fiber cloth in my hand and a bottle of white vinegar….lookout kitchen here I come.

    PS How do we get those nasty black shoe marks off the linoleum floor ? and …. What is your DIY solution for getting rid of moths and flying bugs who feel it is their sole responsibility to consume every whole grain product man ever created ? Keep up the good work, you now have a new devoted fan…you know like the ones those pretty ladies in Japan use to cool off. Just kidding : ) Now, where did I put that cleaning tool kit ???? 🙂 I think my honey just took it to work for his construction job !!!! UH OH 🙂

  10. I have never heard of the Epsom salt option but may have to try that. I do use vinegar in my laundry all the time. My children have eczema and vinegar is safe to use on their clothes and won’t irritate their skin.

  11. Love your videos! Any suggestions on how to get post it note dye out of my husband’s shirt? Neon yellow post it went through the wash in his shirt pocket. Unfortunately then went through the dryer. Any hope?

  12. Commercial fabric cleaners are not the best for one’s health, especially for the health of the environment. They almost always contain chemicals, scents and irritants that are known to trigger skin allergies and can end up in our rivers and lake. It may be hard to let go of something that you have come to heavily rely on. But these homemade alternatives don’t look too shabby!

  13. Melissa, Hi and thank you so mcuh for your cleaning inspriation. I really want to try this and I just have a couple of quick questions. Would you use this on items such as microfiber cloths with shouldn’t get regular fabric softener? I am a little hesistant about towels…do you find that yours come out really soft and fluffy from the dryer with this diy softener alone and no dryer sheet?

  14. Hi Melissa, I got the Spring Cleaning bug last week. I live in San Francisco. Found your site and videos after quick Google search. I love them all! Thank you so much for all your practical tips – and love your delivery! Cleaning can be fun =)


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