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Front Page - Friday, December 25, 2015

Homemade fabric softeners

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

We have been dealing with some serious skin problems in my household here recently, and frankly, I am tired of them. Both of my youngest kids have skin irritation to some degree and this weekend I started to eliminate everyday household items to try to figure it out.

Unfortunately, one of the first items to go was my Gain laundry detergent product. The reality is that the soap is loaded with chemicals that my kids’ skin just cannot tolerate; I will have to live without my favorite Gain scents. (Oh, that smell)!

I have made my own laundry detergent many times before, and knew I loved the homemade laundry soap, so I was hoping I would get the same results with the homemade fabric softener. Honestly, I was sold after the first wash. 

I made and tried small portions of five different recipes this past weekend and elimated the ones that were not worth the money or time. Here are the two recipes that work amazingly! I fell in love and am a firm believer in both of them!

Items needed for the first recipe:

– vinegar

– epsom salt

– baking soda

– essential oil, any scent you like

– water

– large storage container

First, add 10 drops of the oil you have chosen – I used lavender and lemon – to one cup of Epsom salt. Stir the salts around very well to distribute the oil. Next, take a ½ cup of the salts and mix  with 1 cup of warm water. Stir until the salts dissolve. 

Place one cup of baking soda into a large container (one that will hold at least 8 cups of liquid, with extra space for shaking.) Very slowly, add 6 cups of white distilled vinegar. I would suggest warming the vinegar in the microwave first, which will allow the baking soda to dissolve more easily. Stir the ingredients until they are combined. Next, add the dissolved salts to the water in the container, place the lid on tightly, and give it a good shake! The liquid will separate as it sits so just shake before use. Recommended amount per load: ½ cup 

This one my daughter seemed to love, which makes sense when I stop to think about it. The baking soda regulates the pH level of the rinse water, which would counteract the stiffening effects of mineral deposits and leftover detergent. The vinegar removes the soap residue, softens water, and reduces static. Nice!

The next one is even simpler to make and consists of only three ingredients. For this one you will need water, vinegar, and Suave Professionals Conditioner in your chosen scent. 

The original recipe used Suave Rosemary and Mint Conditioner but you could go with a different scent if desired.

Mix 6 cups of water, three cups of white vinegar, and two cups of the Suave conditioner in a one-gallon container; stir. Do not shake it, as this will cause foaming. Use the same amount you would normally use in a rinse cycle.

If you don’t like to add softener straight to the wash process and prefer dryer sheets – the fix is pretty simple. Buy six or so cheap washcloths from any store and soak them in whichever softener you have made. Once they are nice and soaked, lightly remove some of the excess and hang them up to dry. Once dried, fold them up and toss one in with the laundry. You can use these approximately twelve times before you will need to re-soak them.

To keep them sorted out between the laundry, I did white washcloths for my colored clothes and colored washcloths for the whites. Please make sure to wash the colored washcloths a couple times beforehand if you choose to do this. This will ensure no bleeding of the dyes.

I hope you try one of the recipes! Last night when we were driving around enjoying the Christmas lights, and our daughter told us her skin was not itchy! Whew

 April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.