Making your own fabric softener is both easy and inexpensive. It can be as simple as buying a jug of vinegar, or a little more complex if you'd like to have added scent. Vinegar does a great job not only softening your clothing, but also in brightening colors and removing odors. Following are a few easy recipes to get you started.
Fabric Softener #1 - Plain
Place 1/2 cup of white vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser per load of wash. (Pretty darn simple!)
Fabric Softener #2 - Scented
1 gallon jug of white vinegar
A big handful of your favorite herb (such as lavender, chopped orange peels, or peppermint)
20 drops of a matching essential oil (optional)
You will need to remove some of the vinegar from the jug in order to infuse the herbs in it. Just pour a cup or so into a jar or bottle. You can save it to pour back into the jug of vinegar once it is infused, or use it for something else (perhaps some homemade all-purpose cleaner).
Place the herbs into the jug of vinegar, cap, and shake. Allow the herbs to infuse the vinegar for a couple weeks, shaking every few days.
Strain the herbs out of the vinegar by pouring the vinegar through a mesh screen into a large pitcher. Once the herbs are strained out, you can pour the vinegar back into the jug, and add the essential oil. Cap and shake well.
Use 1/2 cup per load as a scented fabric softener.
Fabric Softener #3 - For Tough Odors
2 cups hot water
1 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar (scented if you'd prefer)
Combine hot water and baking soda in a large pitcher. Add vinegar (watch for the fizz-up!) and stir well.
Store the mixture in a quart jar, and shake well before each use. Use 1/2 cup per load.
Other Laundry Tips & Ideas
*Cut an old t-shirt into squares. Place a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto a square, and toss it into the dryer with your load of wash to add a little fragrance.
*Add 1/2 cup of washing soda to your wash with your laundry soap at the beginning of the wash cycle for heavily soiled loads.
*Add 1/2 cup of borax to your wash with your laundry soap at the beginning of the wash cycle to help remove stains.
*Add a tablespoon of salt to your colored loads to help keep colors vibrant.
*Add 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to your wash with your laundry soap at the begining of the wash cycle to brighten whites.
*Add a splash of lemon juice to your wash with your laundry soap at the beginning of the wash cycle to brighten whites.
*The best way I have found to remove blood stains is to saturate the stain with hydrogen peroxide, then sprinkle with baking soda, and rub the stain out.