In your next load of laundry, opt for our homemade fabric softener using simple all-natural ingredients. This DIY solution actually softens, whitens, and reduces odors.

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fabric softener in a basket of laundry

This idea comes from our friend Ashley PoskinFabric softeners are a cocktail of chemicals and fragrances, many of which are known carcinogens (limonene and chloroform, to name a few) and have been known to irritate skin. Detergents nowadays are formulated to clean and soften your fabric, which makes adding storebought softener unnecessary. If you have hard water at home, we have a simple eco-friendly alternative for you: scented vinegar fabric softener.

"Adding vinegar to your load actually softens, whitens, and reduces odors—and it's good for your septic system!" she says. "Worried about your laundry smelling like it's pickled? Don't be! Once the clothing dries, the vinegar smell will disappear." If you're looking for that "fresh laundry" scent, just add your favorite combo of essential oils to the mix for added fragrance.

To use: Keep a measuring cup handy and pour 1⁄4 cup of the vinegar mixture into the fabric softener dispenser for each load of laundry. Shake the bottle well before each use. (If you're worried about static cling, toss a few ​wool dryer balls​ into the dryer for all-natural, static-free laundry that dries in less time than usual.)

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

pouring oil into a glass bottle of fabric softener
Step 1

Add five drops of essential oil for every two cups of vinegar. (Note: The bottle pictured here holds four cups of vinegar, so we used ten drops of essential oil.) If you like a really strong smell, add even more essential oils. Play with combinations to create signature scents: five drops of lemongrass plus five drops of peppermint create the most delightful spring scent.

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