11 Fabric Softener Alternatives

Wash your clothes? In the past you probably washed them in a bathtub or by hand. But times have changed, and a whole new world of washing options exists. Today’s modern washing machines feature a host of programs that can make your laundry cleaning easier, more efficient, and, of course, more enjoyable. But if you’re looking for a new fabric softener, there are a number of options, including dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and liquid fabric softeners.

As you are perhaps well aware, fabric softeners are a commonly used household product, and for good reason. They are supposed to keep your clothes soft and free from static electricity, which makes them less prone to getting wrinkled. However, the chemicals used in fabric softeners can be quite damaging to the environment. So, here is my list of 11 alternatives that should do the job just as effectively, if not better.

As we all know, fabric softener is basically a liquid that is designed to be used to remove the water from your clothes, making them feel softer. But there are many alternatives to fabric softener. Here are 11 alternative lubricants that will make your clothes softer.

Most people like the sensation of soft, fluffy towels straight from the dryer, but did you know that you don’t have to use a store-bought fabric softener to accomplish this? We’ve compiled a list of 11 fabric softener options.

Fabric Softener Consequences

Chemicals are present.

One of the reasons why so many people choose natural fabric softener alternatives is because most store-bought fabric softeners include chemicals related to health problems. Chemicals like phthalates have been linked to cancer, asthma, and developmental issues. Fabric softeners include chemicals that may aggravate skin problems and allergies, as well as trigger responses including skin redness, rashes, and itching. Because of the widespread problems with fabric softeners, many individuals are looking for natural alternatives to safeguard their families from harmful chemicals.

Packaging Debris

Fabric softener usually comes in big plastic single-use bottles, so if you want to be more environmentally conscious and minimize your usage of single-use plastic, you may want to discover an alternate method to soften your clothes. Even if these bottles are recycled, the fact that they were created in the first place has a detrimental effect on the environment.

Washing Machine Clogs

Fabric softener creates a residue in washing machines that may accumulate over time, clogging the machine or causing it to run inefficiently.

What Causes Fabric Build-Up?

Cloth softener causes a build-up on the fabric, which may cause a variety of issues. Fabric softeners will interact with the fibers of moisture-wicking fabrics like towels and bath mats, causing them to become less absorbent over time. Fabric softener build-up on clothes may also hinder washing detergent from entering the fabric completely, making it less efficient at eliminating stains.


Laundry detergent may be costly, causing your weekly food expenditure to skyrocket. If you’re looking for ways to save money, there are a number of alternatives to store-bought fabric softeners that are far less expensive.

Fabric Softener Alternatives

Soda (baking)

Baking soda is a common ingredient in baked goods, but it may also be used as a home cleanser in a variety of circumstances. Baking soda is also renowned for its ability to absorb smells and soften textiles, making it an excellent substitute for fabric softener. Baking soda is extremely cheap to purchase and is often available at the dollar shop. It’s also very flexible, so if you don’t like it as a fabric softener, you can always use it in baking or cleaning instead.

To use as a fabric softener, pour half a cup into the main drum compartment of the washing machine before running the final rinse and spin cycle. It won’t have the intended effect if you put it in too early, but it will be somewhat difficult to use. If you want your homemade fabric softener to have more of a smell, you may add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda to perfume your clothes.



Vinegar is a natural substance that may be used for cleaning as well as cooking. It’s well-known for cleaning glass and other gleaming surfaces, and it also works well as a floor cleaner, but did you know it’s also a great natural fabric softener? Vinegar is a fantastic low-cost alternative since it can be purchased in bulk for less than a dollar per gallon. Because you only need two or three tablespoons each cycle of washing, it will last a long time as a fabric softener. It’s also handy since you may add it to the laundry during the final rinse cycle, or you can place it in the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine when you initially load it, and it will release it into the drum at the appropriate moment.

If you’ve been using fabric conditioners for a long time and want to freshen your clothes and eliminate the residue on your laundry, vinegar is an excellent choice. White vinegar is the finest vinegar to use for cleaning and washing, although apple cider vinegar may also be used. Many people are turned off by vinegar’s pungent odor, yet when used as a fabric softener, there is no residual vinegar odor. If this is a problem, you may add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar to assist fragrance the textiles.

Essential Oils are substances that have been extracted from plants.


Essential oils are a wonderful natural alternative to fabric softener if you want to have delightfully perfumed washing clothes, towels, and bedsheets right out of the dryer. Essential oils will not soften your clothes; instead, they will smell them, so you’ll need to combine them with a natural softener like vinegar, baking soda, or Epsom salts if you want the softening benefits of fabric softener.

To use essential oils in your laundry, add five to ten drops to the load during the rinse cycle, or place it in the fabric softener drawer while you’re doing the wash if you’ve combined it with a liquid like vinegar. There are many different essential oils to choose from, so choosing one that you like shouldn’t be too difficult; lavender oil is one of the most popular. Essential oils are costly to purchase, therefore this isn’t a cost-effective choice. You should also study essential oils before using them, since some, such as tea tree oil, are not advised for use around youngsters or pregnant people.

Dryer Balls Made of Wool


Wool dryer balls are tennis ball-sized balls made completely of wool that you place in the dryer to speed up the drying process. The balls twirl around and divide the laundry, allowing for greater heat circulation and preventing damp clothes from sticking together. Wool dryer balls are said to cut drying time by 20%, which helps conserve energy. However, a far more ecologically friendly alternative would be to skip the dryer entirely and dry clothes on a washing line, which would eliminate the need for power entirely.

Wool dryer balls also produce more fluffier and softer clothes, as well as fewer creases, making them an excellent fabric softener substitute. If you want your clothes to smell good when it comes out of the dryer, add a few drops of essential oil to the wool dryer balls before tossing them in. Wool dryer balls may be reused, which means you’ll be helping to reduce packaging waste.

Dryer Balls Made of Bamboo

Bamboo dryer balls function in the same manner as wool dryer balls do, except they’re composed of bamboo fibers instead of wool. Bamboo is a highly sustainable material since it grows so fast and is therefore regarded very environmentally friendly. Bamboo plants may grow to be several meters tall in a matter of months, while other trees might take decades to reach the same height. Bamboo dryer balls are clearly plant-based, as opposed to wool, which is animal-based, making them a vegan-friendly choice.

Conditioner for hair


By combining hair conditioner, vinegar, and water, you may create your own fabric softener. This recipe asks for six cups of water, three cups of white vinegar, and two cups of hair conditioner, yielding a batch that should last about 20 loads of laundry. Enjoy soft and aromatic clothes by adding half a cup to the fabric conditioner chamber in your washing machine, or by adding it straight to the load during the final rinse cycle.

This method appeals to some since it allows them to personalize the fragrance by combining their favorite hair conditioners, and it’s also a cost-effective choice because all of the components can be found at a dollar shop. If you want a chemical-free fabric softener, this isn’t the product for you since the hair conditioner does include chemicals. Hair conditioner is often sold in single-use plastic containers, so you won’t be minimizing packaging waste with this DIY fabric softener.

Epsom Salts are a kind of magnesium sulfate


If you enjoy the fabric softener crystals you can purchase in the grocery store’s home cleaning department, this is a chemical-free DIY version. Instead, two cups of Epsom salts and around 15 drops of essential oils are all that’s required. Then, during the rinse cycle, add one to two spoons of the mixture to your clothes. This is an excellent choice for a chemical-free and packaging-reduced fabric conditioner; but, essential oils are pricey, so it isn’t especially cost-effective. To save money, you may just use Epsom salts without the essential oils, which would produce soft but scent-free washing.

Foil made of aluminum


To make homemade dryer balls, tear this frequently used household product into sheets and roll into balls. If you really want to save money, you may use aluminum foil that you’ve previously used to wrap leftovers in your refrigerator when you don’t need it (but make sure it’s clean, since spaghetti sauce on your pants isn’t a good look!). These cheap, handy, and easy-to-find DIY dryer balls are a great way to save money. If you run out of fabric softener and have some aluminum foil stashed in your kitchen cupboards, you can use them in a hurry. Dryer balls made of aluminum foil assist to decrease static and soften textiles, yet they won’t smell your clothes.

Tennis Racket


Tennis balls function in the same manner as dryer balls do, by tumbling about in your dryer and separating your clothes. This causes the textiles to dry quicker and become softer and fluffier. Tennis balls are composed of a hollow rubber sphere with a wool fiber coating on the exterior. One tennis ball should last many loads of washing, however tennis ball prices vary widely, so it may save you money or increase your laundry expenses. Some people think of this as a chemical-free alternative to fabric softener, however the tennis ball may be colored with chemicals. Tennis balls will not smell your clothes, but you may add a few drops of essential oils to the ball’s outside if you want to.

Glycerin from Vegetables

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Vegetable glycerin, also known as glycerol, is derived from a variety of vegetable and plant oils, such as soy, palm, and coconut. Because it provides a smoothing and relaxing effect on the skin, it is often used in soaps and moisturizing treatments. It gives your laundry a pleasant feel in a similar manner. Vegetable glycerin is a low-cost, fully natural alternative that can be purchased for about a dollar in drugstores. Simply add two teaspoons to your washing machine’s fabric softener compartment or to the clothes during the rinse cycle. This fabric softener substitute is scent-free, which may be beneficial to those who are sensitive to fragrances.

Soap Nuts


Soap nuts have become popular as a natural and environmentally friendly alternative to laundry detergent, but they may also be used as a fabric softener. When the soap nuts are wet, tiny quantities of saponin are released, which softens the skin naturally. Soap nuts are renowned for being both cost-effective and ecologically friendly, and if you use them instead of laundry detergent, they will also act as a fabric softener, making them a handy two-in-one solution.

Fabric softener is still great! Fabric softeners do a great job at cleaning your clothes, but they can be expensive. You will want to avoid fabric softeners that contain dangerous chemicals such as triclosan. Instead, look for natural fabric softener alternatives!. Read more about eco friendly alternative to fabric softener and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should you use instead of fabric softener?

You can use vinegar to help remove any buildup from your clothes.

What is the number 1 fabric softener?


What is the best homemade fabric softener?

You can make your own homemade fabric softener by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar.

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