I mentioned in my last post that as I run out of store-bought cleaning products, I am replacing them with my own DIY version. At the beginning of the week, I shared with you a dry DIY laundry detergent recipe. Today, I’m going to share with you frugal, smell-good fabric softener crystals.
Store bought fabric softener averages anywhere from $4-6 a bottle for 32 loads. My new DIY fabric softener cost $1.65 a batch for the same 32 loads. Before I tell you what I use for my fabric softener, let me just say that in my research, I found there to be a few things that can be used as natural fabric softeners for the frugal soul. One of those is baking soda. It won’t leave your clothes scented, but it does supposedly make clothes soft and could possibly be the cheapest fabric softener out there. I’ve also read that vinegar has been known to get laundry soft. I personally can’t stand the smell of vinegar and try to avoid it when possible in my cleaning products, but it is a common natural fabric softener for many people. The fabric softener that I chose to use is……Epsom salt. Yep, I read that it makes laundry soft and you can also put essential oils in it to make it smell good. It's also supposed to help with stains, so that's a plus. Since my store-bought fabric softener of choice was Purex crystals, I decided to give Epsom salt a try. Coarse sea salt is also supposed to work, but Espom salt is less expensive than sea salt.
4 cups of Epsom Salt
40 drops of Jasmine Essential Oil
(Can be found at GNC or health food stores. Any essential oil can be used. I found the scent of jasmine resembled traditional fabric softner smells more so than other scents of essential oils.)
This is hardly a recipe since it only has two ingredients, but here it is. Mix one cup of Epsom salt with 10 drops of essential oils. My container held four cups of salt, so I used 40 drops of oil per batch. You don't have to use oil at all if you want a fragrance-free softener. You can also use as much Epsom salt as you think necessary in a load of laundry. Either way, you will still save money using Epsom salt instead of store-bought softener.
Using the lid that I use for the Purex crystals, I will be able to get 32 loads out of my four cups of fabrics softener. I should note that just like the Purex crystals, this recipe is to be added to the actual laundry in the washing machine before the wash cycle starts. It does NOT go into the part of the washer labeled "fabric softener".
Now, the next question is "How did it work?" I have to say that the results of the Epsom salt were good. It succeeded in making my laundry nice and soft. The only downside to my recipe was that I couldn’t really smell the jasmine in the finished laundry even though it was very fragrant in the actual batch of fabric softener I made. I even tried adding a few drops of jasmine to the beginning of the wash cycle and still nothing seemed to make it smell as fragrant as the Purex crystals. I may have some tweaking of this recipe to do in the future, but for now the results are good enough for me to finish this batch.
Now let’s break down the cost. Cost of ingredients is as follows: one bag of Epsom salt - $1.98, one bottle of jasmine essential oil - $5.99. That’s a total cost of about $8. Cost of ingredients in each batch of fabric softener is as follows: 4 cups of Epsom salt - $.65, 40 drops of jasmine essential oil - $1. That brings the cost of each batch of DIY fabric softener to $1.65 for 32 loads, compared to the $4.76 I was spending on my Purex Crystals. Saving money on fabric softener was a sucess!!! The next recipe I'm going to share is dishwasher detergent, so stay tuned folks.