I was at the grocery store a couple weekends ago and was ready to grab some fabric softener. The price SHOCKED me! I think I have always just picked it up and not paid that much attention to how much it really costs. At my local store, I was looking at paying $4.29 – $5.79 for 51 ounces. Then I read a little closer and realized it was going to do 60 loads ending up costing me 7 – 9 cents per load. Ok, I get that it is literally pennies, but I remembered my mom making Homemade Fabric Softener and thought I would make some at home and see the difference!
Have you ever noticed that some of the wacky things our parents did while we were growing up, we rebelled against as adults? I think making my own fabric softener was one of those things. Now that I have done it, I shake my head in disbelief that I haven’t been making my own all along.
So let’s start this experiment! You will need the following:
- White vinegar
- Hair conditioner
- Baking soda
Cost Breakdown for Homemade Fabric Softener
I went to Walmart to shop since that would be the most common spot for most of us to comparison shop.
/ means divide
X means multiply
Water Free – Six cups of tap water is the base.
Vinegar $2.48 – Let’s first break that gallon into cups. 16 cups in one gallon.
$2.48/16 cups=$0.155 per cup of vinegar
$0.155 x 3 cups needed = $0.465 for vinegar
Hair Conditioner $0.94 for 15 ounces. You need 8 oz or about half of this bottle.
$0.94/15 ounces=$0.062 per ounce of conditioner
$0.062 x 8 ounces = $0.496 (round up to 50 cents)
Baking soda $0.52 for a one pound box. There are roughly two cups of baking soda per one pound box. We need half of a cup for this recipe.
$0.52/2 cups= $0.26 per cup.
$0.26 per cup/2 =$0.13 per half cup
So, the grand total for a jar of nine cups of Homemade Fabric Softener is:
$0.00 for the six cups of water + $0.47 for 3 cups of white vinegar + $0.50 of hair conditioner + $0.13 for a half of a cup of baking soda for a grand total of $1.10 for the fabric softener.
How to Make Fabric Softener at Home Even Cheaper
Do you want to save even more money? My mom swears that the hair conditioner is not needed and wasn’t used “back in the day!” so…
$0.00 for the six cups of water + $0.47 for three cups of white vinegar + $0.13 for half a cup of baking soda = $0.60 for nine cups of fabric softener.
There are nine cups in this fabric softener. Each load of wash would use one ounce, so this will make enough for 72 loads of laundry.
How Much Do I Use?
One ounce per load, just like the store-bought version.
How Much Money Did I Save to Make My Own Homemade Fabric Softener?
To complete this version of the Homemade Fabric Softener, it cost me $1.10 for 72 ounces vs the 51 ounce bottles of Downy ($5.99) or the Generic brand ($4.29). Plus I made more than their bottle sizes. So let’s take this one more step:
- Downy – $5.99/51 ounces= $0.11 per ounce
- Generic – $4.29/51 ounces= $0.08 per ounce
- Homemade $1.10/72 ounces= $0.015 per ounce
- Homemade minus the conditioner $0.60/72 ounces= $0.008 per ounce
So, would I do it again?
Absolutely! It took about three minutes to make and I saved my family budget by simply taking a few everyday items that you probably even already have on hand. I sure won’t argue saving the money from my grocery bill.
I am not a big fan of the perfume smells of the store-bought fabric softeners and I probably won’t include the hair conditioner next time, just to eliminate the smell. If I can avoid the extra chemicals, I will – especially when I can save this much money at the same time.
How To Make Homemade Fabric Softener
- 6 cups of hot water
- 3 cups of white vinegar
- ½ cup baking soda
- 8 oz hair conditioner (Optional – go cheap here if you use it)
- A few drops of Essential Oils (Optional)
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Glycerin (Optional)
Mix: Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and store in a container. I used a large mason jar.
For use: pour one ounce of fabric softener for each load as you normally would.
Alternatives: Some of my friends swear by adding essential oils and glycerin to the mix. I didn’t find that it was necessary, and I’d rather save the money.