Today I’m going to share a recipe for DIY Fabric Softener. It works just as good as the expensive brands for only pennies per load. As a frugal person, I love a great deal, and I loathe wasting anything. So, I was particularly psyched to find shampoo and condition on clearance at my local Dollar General a while back ago. It was marked down to $4.50, which wasn’t a great price, but it was again reduced by 75%. What really made me happy was that I had two dollar-off coupons. I think I only paid 12¢ each for the shampoo and the conditioner.
My enthusiasm waned the first time I used my great deal. The shampoo worked the same as most shampoos, but the conditioner left my hair a weird combination of oily and brittle. Needless to say, it promptly went under the bathroom sink. I just couldn’t bear to throw away my hard-won prize so there it sat unused for a couple of months. But it wasn’t forgotten. As I said, I loathe to waste anything, so I kept on the lookout for a use for it.
And the other day, while fulfilling my daily addiction to Pinterest, I happened to find a great use for my unwanted conditioner—DIY fabric softener. I love using fabric softener in my wash, but because I like to save money, I don’t often splurge to simply make my clothes softer and smell nicer. This DIY fabric softener is the best of both worlds. I’m able to make my clothes that comfy softness that only using fabric softener provides while spending next to nothing to accomplish it. Now, you don’t have to have a bottle of unwanted conditioner to try this fabric softener. You can pick up a cheap bottle at Dollar Tree for only a buck, so it won’t cost much to give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how comparable this recipe is to its more expensive counterpart.
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Well, let’s get to it, shall we? Here’s the short list of ingredients.
- 1 cup Conditioner. (Use one that you already have on hand or pick up a cheap bottle that you wouldn’t use on your hair in a million years. Just make sure it smells good because you’ll be wearing that scent all day.)
- 1⅟₂ cup White Distilled Vinegar
- 3 cups Hot Water (Hot tap water works fine.)
I used a half-gallon pitcher to mix this up in. Measure out the conditioner first because it’s the thickest. That way you can rinse out the measuring cup with the vinegar, which comes next, and then the hot water.
Mix the ingredients together until the conditioner is fully blended. You can see in the pic above how the conditioner will be separated when you first add all the ingredients, but since you’ll be using hot water, it will only take a minute of stirring for it all to be incorporated together. Once there are no more conditioner chunks, pour the concoction into a bottle using a funnel to make it easier. I used an old 64 oz vinegar bottle to store it in since I didn’t have an old fabric softener bottle.
You can obviously double the batch if the container you’ll be using is larger. This made roughly 44 oz, which filled my bottle almost ¾ full. I use about one-quarter cup in each load, which fills the softener compartment of my h.e. washing machine to the fill line. You can also use one of the plastic cups that come with liquid laundry detergent, filling it halfway. To test if I was using the right amount, I used my measuring cup, to measure out ¼ cup of water and then poured it into the laundry cup I had, and it filled the cup halfway. I then used a sharpie to mark the fill line on the cup to make it easier to know how much fabric softener to use each time I wash.
I’ve been using this recipe for several weeks now, and I love the feel of my clothes. I had forgotten how different clothes feel when fabric softener is added to the load. Even better, I found a use for something that would have otherwise taken up space until the day finally came when I’d just throw it away. Upcycling, saving money, and improving my laundry—sounds like a win to me.
Do you have any other ideas for uses of old bottles of conditioner? If so, I’d love to hear about them. You never know when a great deal might turn out to be a bust.