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Thursday, June 18, 2015

DIY Fabric Softener


I grew up with my grandmother consistently using Tide laundry detergent and Downy fabric softener. She told me with certainty that they were worth the money.

As an aside, my grandmother had used Salvo laundry detergent that came in tablet form, but she stopped using Salvo when housewives were dropping dead because they poured bleach directly onto the tablet releasing deadly chlorine gas.

But I digress.

Quite some time ago, I stopped using Tide or Cheer or whatever big brand cash raped my wallet the least. Foca is half the price and works as well as the "name" brands. 

I also stopped buying Downy because Suavitel—originally from Mexico—costs a lot less and works as well.

The name of Suavitel is derived from "suave" which means soft and "tela" which means cloth. 

Thus, Suavitel gives softness to the cloth your clothes are made out of.

The time has come for an even less-expensive solution of fabric softener. Yes, I know I can also make laundry detergent from Zote, but Foca costs me seven dollars for two months, so the work of cooking up Zote just isn’t worth it, but I'll probably give it a go sooner or later.


My new fabric softener started with an empty Suavitel bottle and an online recipe.

I’ve seen several recipes for making fabric softener and virtually every one of the sites I’ve checked out has the homemade softener in lovely Mason jars for display.

Why not just use the empty Suavitel bottle?

No reason not to.



Believe it or not, hair conditioner and fabric softener work along similar principles.

Thus, my daughter and I headed to our nearby Dollar Tree store where we purchased two, 15-ounce bottles of hair conditioner—her choice of scent—for our project.

The Suavitel bottle is a 1 1/8th gallon bottle.

At home, we squirted both bottles of White Rain coconut and hibiscus hair conditioner into the Suavitel bottle.

Whatever fragrance of hair conditioner you choose, you’ll need about 4 cups per gallon of fabric softener.


The next ingredient is white vinegar.

My concoction required 4 ½ cups of vinegar, but I used a portion of the vinegar to clear out the remaining conditioner in the White Rain bottles.

Because vinegar is such a great cleaning agent, it pulled virtually all the remaining conditioner from the bottles.

I then poured the remaining vinegar into the Suavitel bottle, put the lid on, and inverted the bottle a few times to mix the two ingredients.

The final step is to fill the Suavitel bottle up with water. That will be about eight cups of water.

Some would laugh that I’m saving just four dollars a month and some would say that 48 dollars is not worth the trouble of making my own.

But small efforts like this—when taken together-add up over time.

My dryer has literally run one time in the month of June.

That is saving me gas and electricity.

Electricity in California is always expensive and even more so during the summer. By my calculation, not running the dryer for a month will save be about 25 dollars.

I can line dry—for certain—five months out of the year.

And yes, some would say that saving 125 dollars is not worth the hassle of a clothesline.

Couple these efforts with not running the air conditioner 24-7 and shading windows that cause solar gain and—yes—I do believe incremental efforts at frugality pay off.

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