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Fabric Softener Recipes & Reusable Dryer Sheets

Here are several quick tips for cutting costs on fabric softeners and making your own dryer sheets, each point is a separate tip. You’ll also find a few recipes and projects to try (listed at the bottom of the page). Lots here!

  1. Soak a washcloth in full strength liquid softener. Wring out excess, then lay out to dry first before using–helps prevent staining laundry the first time. To use: toss in the dryer and use again and again until it no longer works. Resoak when needed (you should be able to do a few dozen loads per soak).
  2. Using 1/4 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle can do the job. You can set aside a vinegar jug just for laundry and add about 2 dozen drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar if you’d like (or as much EO as you feel necessary).
  3. In a pail mix 1 gallon of water and 1 cup concentrated liquid softener. Dip a sponge or washcloth in the liquid, squeeze out excess and toss in with the load. Seal pail when not in use.
  4. Pour liquid softener and hot water in a spray bottle (50/50 mix) and lightly mist wet laundry before starting the dryer. Two or three good shots should do it. You could also just spritz a clean washcloth and toss that in.
  5. Cut dryer sheets in thirds or halves, use one strip per load.
  6. Mix equal parts hair conditioner and water and store in spray bottle. Mist a washcloth or sponge and toss in with load.
  7. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount that they recommend on the bottle.
  8. 1/8 cup baking soda added to laundry and 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
  9. Use a Downy ball if you have one–just use vinegar instead.

Here’s a recipe you can try:

1 part Vinegar
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Hot Water


Cheryl sent in this one that is scented with your favorite essential oils.

I’ve had good success with this recipe and enjoy trying different fragrances just to keep things interesting. The scent is light once clothes have been dried and you can increase the amount of essential oils if the fragrance isn’t strong enough for you.


1 cup baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
8 cups white vinegar
Essential Oils


  • First mix the vinegar and water together then add the baking soda gradually, stirring the whole time. You will want to make sure to use a large pail to accommodate the fizzing activity from the baking soda and vinegar reaction.
  • Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a washed, gallon sized milk jug (plastic), add 1/3 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, cap and seal then shake well.
  • To use: Shake each time before use, adding 1/2 to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.

Thanks for sharing Cheryl!

For essential oil ideas, consider germ fighting gems like Eucalyptus or Tea Tree. If scent is what you’re after, consider lavender or even citrus favorites like orange or lemon.

Flannel Strips Instructions:
(can be reused over and over again)

Flannel pieces
4 TBS liquid softener
10 TBS water

You can use several dozen strips with this mixture. Leave sealed for 2 or 3 days, then use one flannel strip per load–squeeze out excess if necessary (it should be just damp). Keep container sealed at all times. Wash strips after use, then use again to make another batch when needed.

Herbal Lavender Bags:
*First published September 27, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Fresh and fragrant laundry can be achieved chemical free with easy to make lavender bags. Using lavender buds gives the benefit of a natural moth repellent, sleep aid and a natural antibacterial.

Use 1/4 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle (for static cling help, up the amount to 1/2 cup if needed) and toss the herbal sachets in the dryer for fresh smelling laundry. For optimal benefit, use organic lavender.

Materials Needed:

5″ x 5″ cotton muslin or cheesecloth squares (2)


Tip: Make more than one bag so that the same one isn’t in one load after another, alternate them so each bag has a chance to cool down before being used again.

Also see these tips for making wool balls from goodmama.typepad.com [1].