Easy to make, low-cost, and totally customizable, these “crystals” will leave your laundry soft and smelling lovely. The baking soda added in will naturally make whites whiter, and pull out even the toughest stains. Being an alkaline substance (opposite of acidic) it can neutralize the acid in stains that come from various cleaners, urine, or vomit. It is also environmentally friendly and perfect for people who have sensitive skin.
To top it off, it won’t harm fragile fabrics, and it is a brilliant odor remover in the sense that it actually gets rid of smells…it doesn’t mask them with perfumey scents like other fabric softeners do.
You will need…
-2 cups of Epsom salt or course sea salt
-20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend of scents
-1/2 cup baking soda
-A container with a tightly fitting lid
Mix together 2 cups of Epsom salt or course sea salt and add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil-we used lemon for its bright, refreshing scent.
Stir in the essential oil before mixing in ½ cup of baking soda (alternately, you can leave out the baking soda, and add it separately, which works well.)
After mixing together pour into a container with a tightly fitting lid and label it if you plan on making more with different scents. Use 2-3 tablespoons and toss in with your clothes before rinsing. If using the baking soda separately, add half a cup to each load.
You can double this recipe if you’d like, and adjust the amount of essential oil if you want it to smell stronger/weaker.
Why make your own fabric softener?
I make homemade fabric softener because, like so many other mass-market products, what seems like it should be harmless actually contains some pretty nasty stuff. Fabric softener sounds innocent enough, but it’s far from it. Not only are many kinds bad for the environment, but they contain chemicals that impregnate fabrics that can be released over time and absorbed into your skin or inhaled. Among softener components are benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (irritates the upper respiratory tract) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen.) To top it off, many of them are petroleum based, which takes a toll on a non-renewable resource and is not very bio-degradable.