Because it’s affordable, non-toxic, and it reduces static cling, a cup or two of white vinegar in the washing machine is our fabric softener of choice. Tip: Get the feeling like straight vinegar isn’t working for you? Try adding 1 cup of baking soda for every 6-7 cups of vinegar; then add a cup of that mixture to your rinse cycle.
Another fun idea for fabric softener in the dryer is to use a homemade fabric softener sachet.
And here’s how:
1. Make a simple pouch — one that measures 5 in. x 5 in. or 4 in. x 6 in. — it does not have to be fancy at all. To make this one I used this tightly woven hemp muslin fabric. And then I went outside to pick a handful of lavender and rosemary.
2. Gather the ingredients…
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/8 cup arrowroot powder
- a handful of lavender petals and rosemary leaves
- a few drops essential oils (in this case lavender and rosemary)
…and begin by mixing the baking soda, arrowroot powder, and herbs.
3. Add the mixture to the sachet.
4. Then add the essential oils.
5. Tie up the pouch tightly.
Now it’s ready for the dryer!
-Refill the sachet as needed. If you mostly hang your clothes to dry on the line, and rarely use your dryer, this sachet should last quite a while.
-Don’t have the herbs? Leave them out 🙂
-Other great herbs and essential oil combinations for the laundry include:
- Rosemary and thyme
- Patchouli and cedar
- Peppermint and eucalyptus (especially good when some one is sick)
- Sweet orange and lemon
- Tea tree
-A tennis ball or a wool dryer ball are also great additions to the dryer for softness. Tip: Check Etsy for handmade wool dryer ball or look here for DIY inspiration.
What tips can you share for a homemade fabric softener?
Oh my gosh! I have SO much lavender and rosemary in my yard I could probably sell these. 😀 I will definitely try it, thanks!
Sarah @ Nature's Nurture says
This is so great, Andrea! I’d always heard of dryer sachets but always thought they were too hard to make. This little tutorial is really inspiring 🙂 For now, I use baking soda in the wash, and vinegar in the rinse cycle. And in the dryer, I use a homemade “dryer sheet”, which is nothing more than a wet wash cloth with a few drops of essential oils on it. I only use it for the linens and towels though. I’m totally excited to try out these dryer sachets though!
Here’s my link for my laundry freshening routine: http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2011/06/01/how-to-naturally-freshen-your-laundry/
Thank you so much for sharing your link Sarah! I just love your blog 🙂 If you end up trying the sachets, let me know what you think! I bet you love them 🙂
I do what you do, Sarah! It is easy and convenient once you get into the habit.
Andrea, I make something very similar to your dryer sachets (minus the bag) for mattresses, carpets/rugs, and sofas (and other such items). I grow lemon verbena and lemon balm and spearmint and peppermint for this purpose (and other herbs and more uses, of course!). I actually switch off between the two lemon herbs and the two mint herbs. I also use dried citrus peels that I grind up. Now, I want to try the dryer sachets, too!!! Thanks for your time and dedication to your terrific blog!
Is there a alternative to using vinegar as a fabric softener? I tried it awhile ago and it make my husband’s arm pits break out so I cannot use it. I know there are various types of dryer balls, but they don’t help when I want to hang clothes out instead of using the dryer.
Great question Stacy! We mostly line dry ’round here and adding vinegar and baking soda has made all the difference! But as an alternative to the vinegar…try adding 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda to each load along with your laundry soap/detergent. That really should help 🙂
Is this one pouch per load? I am curious about how many loads you get per sachet?
Hi Beth! One sachet, made this way, lasts me about 4 loads.
Thank you.. I’m going to give them a try
Dawn Rose says
I started using vinegar in place of liquid fabric softener a few months ago and it works great. Having a one year old in the house that likes putting everything in his mouth, I hate having toxic dryer sheets in the house, especially since he is always finding the straggler stuck in the towels. I can’t wait to try this.
Yes it’s so true Dawn! Nothing to worry about with these 🙂
Love it! Thank you! Something I hadn’t thought of:-).
Do the powders not come through the holes in the fabric and get all over your clothes?
Hi Kelli! Great question…and that is why you must use a tightly woven fabric like this one. A bit will naturally come out but nothing that is noticable 🙂
Angela Lierman says
Did you post this for ME??? And all my questions??? 🙂 I have been using this method a while and love it! Just made up a HUGE batch as I have figured out my rhythm. I put about a Tablespoon in reseasable tea bag I got from Mountain Rose Herbs and in my dryer, I have to do it each load. I have 5 bags that I rotate using. LOVE the fesh clean scent. Now off to make another big batch of laundry soap. I LOVE your recipes!!! 🙂
Yes just for you Angela:)
I use wool dryer balls. They work great and you can use them over and over again. 2 balls for a normal dryer load and 4 balls for heavy loads. Azure Standard carries them, but you can probably find them somewhere else if you do not have a drop site near you…or maybe figure out how to make them. I’ve used vinegar in the rinse cycle if I forgot about a load in the washer and it sat too long. Takes out any moldy or off smell.
Peggy "Honeybee" Williams says
I have a question for you….
I really like this sachet idea for the dryer and plan on trying it real soon, my question is:
Do you think that this method could be used for the vaccuum cleaner as well or do you have a recipe for just that purpose? My vaccuum has this nasty smell and I am trying to figure out how to make it smell fresher!
I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for listening. 🙂
I put a few drops of essential oil (I like “Purification” or “Thieves” from Young Living) on a piece of toilet paper then suck it up with the vacuum. This keeps it from getting a funky smell and freshens the house too.
I found out years ago that dry instant coffee, about 1/2 cup, put in your vacumn cleaner, either in the bag, or in the dust cup of a bagless vacumn cleaner, would kill the musty or bad vacumn smell that sometimes happens when vacumning. My dad has old carpet, that soon will be replaced, and this makes the room smell better also when running the vacumn. The coffee smell does not linger also.
Carole Davis says
Have you ever mixed vinegar and baking soda? I wouldn’t advise premixing these before adding them to your washing machine. It’ll make a big foamy mess!
I LOVE dryer balls too!! I bought mine several years ago and the same 6 are in my dryer right now. I bought them from a mom at http://www.WoolDryerBalls.com They really do dry laundry faster and soften totally WITHOUT softeners!
Thanks Andrea for all of your wonderful shares : )!
I bought pharmaceutical tea tree oil the other day and it stinks to high heaven…is it b/c it is a different type than what people use for “smell good” stuff? I keep hearing to go to natural food stores, but have no clue how to find one in my area. Great advice here, I would love to try the drier bag! (we already use vinegar as fabric softener :D)
You can also find good quality essential oils online, Fantacy. Meanwhile, tea tree oil stinks to me and I have two different brands (both high quality; one is called “tea tree light” and I was hoping it would “stink less” LOL). It is a STRONG smell. However, essential oils should be used by the drop. One single drop is plenty for tea tree oil in most home uses.
Leslie Kneeshaw says
Andrea – I am always awed by your creativity! Could you please tell me what the purpose of arrowroot powder is in the dryer sachets? Could it be substitued with another item (more easily located) such as cornstarch or perhaps leftover talcum powder? I’d appreciate your response! Thank you – Leslie Kneeshaw, Algonquin, IL
Leslie Kneeshaw says
Andrea – I am always awed by your creativity! Could you please tell me what the purpose of arrowroot powder is in the dryer sachets? Could it be substitued with another item (more easily located) such as cornstarch or perhaps leftover talcum powsder? I’d appreciate your response! Thank you – Leslie Kneeshaw, Algonquin, IL
I believe that arrowroot powder is cornstarch.
I love this idea as I love all natural products and this one is a winner for me thanks so much 🙂