I don’t know about you, but I have really hard water where I live, and it often leaves my clothes and towels feeling a little stiff and scratchy. I haven’t used traditional store-bought fabric softener for years because of my sensitive skin—those store-bought options often leave me feeling itchy and cranky.
Not only that, but after while they started making my throat and eyes burn whenever I was around the stuff. The solution? Easy, all-natural DIY fabric softener crystals made from only two ingredients!
I’ve seen a lot of recipes that call for epsom salt in homemade fabric softeners. But I read that if you have hard water, epsom salt will add more minerals, making it even harder than before.
The solution? Basic, everyday table salt! It’s what people put in their water softeners, right? So that’s what we’re using here.
I’ve also seen softener recipes that combine baking soda and vinegar. But when you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you basically end up with club soda (ahem, ineffective at best) after the fizzing subsides. So, salt it is!
Salt and Essential Oil DIY Fabric Softener Crystals
To make your clothes smell nice, adding a few drops of essential oils to your crystals can give it a fresh scent without staining your clothes or messing up your machine. I typically add jasmine, bergamot or lavender to each laundry load, depending on my mood or the particular kind of aromatherapy I need.
But mixing up a large batch of fabric softener crystals with my essential oils ahead of time eliminates that small step.
Just be sure to choose oils based on your needs and the needs of your family.
– Lavender is gentle on sensitive skin and helps promote rest and relaxation.
– Bergamot is warm and woodsy. I usually use it during cooler months because it reminds me of winter.
– Jasmine helps boost mood and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
How much fabric softener do you need? It depends on the size of the load you’re washing and how hard your water is.
A really big load might need 1/4 to 1/2 cup for really hard water—or as little as 1-2 tablespoons for a small load. More or less won’t damage the clothes or gum up your washing machine, so you can experiment to see the amount that works best for your water.
And the best part? Everything smells oh-so-nice and feels oh-so-soft when it comes out of the dryer!
Looking for more DIY natural solutions to add to your laundry routine? I love these recipes for natural liquid laundry detergent and homemade tea tree and rosemary laundry detergent. And if you’re looking for a fabric refresher to use between washes, check out our recipe for DIY lavender linen spray.
DIY Fabric Softener Crystals FAQ
When should I add these DIY fabric softener crystals into my washing machine?
You can add the fabric softener before you start the cycle when you’re adding in your detergent, which is the method I opt for because I’m worried I’ll forget otherwise. I add the detergent and softener as the washer is filling up, then add my clothes.
Any remaining salt is washed away during the final rinse. But you can add it during the rinse cycle if you prefer, and you also can place it inside a fabric softener ball.
Is this fabric softener safe to use on front-loading washers?
Yes, it should be a suitable option for most kinds of washing machines.
What essential oils should I use to add scent to my DIY fabric softener?
Adding a few drops of essential oils to your crystals is a great way to add a fresh scent to laundry without staining your clothes or messing up your machine. You can add jasmine, bergamot or lavender to each laundry load, depending on your mood or the particular kind of aromatherapy benefits you might need.
But mixing up a large batch of fabric softener crystals with my essential oils ahead of time eliminates that small step. I find that lemon and citrus essential oil also makes for a fresh, cheery load of clean laundry that boosts my mood. But I like to use lavender for bedding and linens to promote relaxation for a better night’s sleep.
How much fabric softener should I use?
It depends on the size of the load you’re washing and how hard your water is. A really big load might need 1/4 to 1/2 cup for really hard water—or as little as 1-2 tablespoons for a small load. More or less won’t damage the clothes or gum up your washing machine, so you can experiment to find the amount that works best for your water type.
Salt + Essential Oil DIY Fabric Softener
- Large jar with lid
- 4 cups kosher salt
- 20 drops essential oils
- Mix well and store in a jar. Add a 1-2 tablespoons for small loads and 4-8 Tablespoons for large loads.