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7 Alternatives to Fabric Softener: What Can I Use Instead? (2023)

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Starting off your day in a scratchy, uncomfortable shirt is no way to live. But fabric softener can be expensive and loaded with chemicals that could harm our health and the environment. Thankfully, there are alternatives that provide all of the same benefits without costing you an arm and a leg or putting your health at risk.

Key Takeaways

what can i use instead of fabric softener

  • Fabric softener alternatives such as wool dryer balls, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, aluminum foil balls, and tennis balls can be used instead of traditional fabric softeners.
  • These alternatives offer several benefits, including being cost-effective, eco-friendly, reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals, saving money, and reducing environmental impact.
  • Wool dryer balls are effective in reducing wrinkles, fluffing up items faster, reducing static cling, and providing long-lasting fluffing power. They have been confirmed as effective by researchers at Virginia Tech.
  • A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is a natural alternative that can soften laundry without harsh chemicals, reduce static cling, and remove stubborn stains. It should be dissolved in warm water before use.

Alternatives to Fabric Softener

Alternatives to Fabric Softener
Discover eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives that keep your clothes soft, fresh, and free of static – all without fabric softener!

DIY Softener such as aluminum foil balls, tennis balls, and wool dryer balls can make a difference.

Hair conditioner mixed with warm water and vinegar is another great option for reducing static while leaving garments feeling softer than ever before.

You can also add essential oils like lavender or lemon to the mix to give them a pleasant scent.

Baking soda and vinegar are both natural ingredients proven effective in softening laundry loads too!

Soap nuts provide an even more sustainable alternative – just put several pieces into mesh bags, then toss them into the washer along with your load of clothing.

All these options will help you reduce wrinkles, fluff up items quickly and efficiently without using harsh chemicals found in traditional dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners!

Natural Fabric Softener Alternatives

Natural Fabric Softener Alternatives
Looking for a natural alternative to fabric softener? Try wool dryer balls, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, and essential oils. You can even give soap nuts a go! These are all great eco-friendly alternatives that get the job done without harsh chemicals.

Wool Dryer Balls

Try wool dryer balls – handmade with wool yarn and nylons. They reduce wrinkles and fluff up items faster than traditional fabric softener! Not only are they a sustainable alternative to chemical-laden products, but using them can save families over $200 each year.

DIY Wool Dryer Balls offer natural softening that is eco-friendly. They have benefits like reduced static cling in clothing. Plus, you can use vinegar for an added boost of freshness without worrying about harsh chemicals damaging your garments.

For those looking for a dryer detox tip or recipe to try at home, this is an excellent choice! These easy DIY instructions will have your laundry feeling softer than ever before.


Add a bit of vinegar to the mix for an extra boost of freshness without harsh chemicals! Using vinegar is an effective and safe way to soften fabric.

Here are some benefits you should consider:

  • Vinegar leaves no residue on clothes after washing.
  • It helps reduce static cling.
  • Organic essential oils can be added for fragrance.
  • Pure essential oils have antibacterial properties when used in combination with sodium bicarbonate and vinegar recipes.
  • Alternatives such as baking soda, hair conditioner, aluminum foil balls, or tennis balls can also be used instead of fabric softener if desired.

So why not try using this natural solution? With its numerous benefits, it could save you time and money while being gentle on your fabrics!

Sodium Bicarbonate

Experience the amazing power of sodium bicarbonate as a fabric softener alternative – it’s like giving your clothes a luxurious spa treatment! Sodium bicarbonate is bubble-free, static-free, and offers great softening benefits.

Plus, its cost-effective nature makes it an ideal choice compared to fabric softeners or dryer sheets.

You can also create scented mixtures by combining essential oils with laundry detergents or baking soda for extra freshness without harsh chemicals! Sodium bicarbonate is an easy-to-use, eco-friendly solution that leaves your fabrics feeling softer and smelling fresher than ever before.

Get ready to experience the incredible power of this natural alternative today!

Essential Oils

Adding essential oils to your laundry routine can give a luxurious scent and soften fabrics without harsh chemicals. From safe scenting with Marilee Nelson, drops of essential oils replace chemical-based products while providing natural benefits.

Aromatic additions offer fragrant solutions that are free from environmental implications such as quaternary ammonium compounds. Enjoy aromatic blends that provide fabric softening and freshness beyond traditional methods; it’s the perfect way to upgrade your classic cleaning routine! Scented solutions add an extra layer of luxury – leaving clothes feeling softer than ever before without compromising health or the environment.

Soap Nuts

Feel the luxurious softness of your clothes without any harsh chemicals by using soap nuts – nature’s own fabric softener! This natural alternative to store-bought options is derived from dried berries in the Sapindus Mukorossi tree.

Benefits include a reduced environmental impact and DIY recipes for scented variations, all from items found in most kitchen pantries. Soap nut liquid fabric softener can be used as an excellent substitute for synthetic detergents and provides a safe way to soften fabrics naturally with no toxic residues or irritating odors left behind.

Create your own natural fabric softener today and enjoy softer, fresher laundry with every wash!

Tossing the Toxins

Tossing the Toxins
Throw away the harsh chemicals and switch to natural fabric softener alternatives – you’ll be amazed at how soft your clothes will get! Buying organic, chemical-free items for laundry is a great way to reduce environmental impact.

Natural ingredients like wool dryer balls, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate with essential oils are reusable items that work well as an alternative. For a unique scent, add 5-10 drops of your favorite oil in the pair of nylons used for making wool dryer balls or keep it plain without any fragrances.

A short list of potent chemicals such as phosphates and optical brighteners should also not be overlooked when considering fabric softeners, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Tossing out conventional fabric softener has never been easier with all these options available today! Switching over can save money while keeping the family safe from exposure to hazardous materials found in traditional brands.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum Foil
Try using aluminum foil to naturally soften your clothes – like the case study of one family who successfully replaced their fabric softener with it! Aluminum foil is an eco-friendly, chemical-free option for those looking to switch from traditional brands.

This green benefit allows you complete scent control and a gentle softening option that’s easy on cloth diapers too.

To use, simply tear off a sheet of aluminum foil and roll it into 3-4 inch balls prior to throwing in the load of laundry. The warm water will help activate its natural properties during washing cycles for optimal results.

Not only does this method save money, but it also aids in reducing environmental impact by lowering emissions from dryer exhausts while keeping families safe from harsh chemicals.

Tennis Balls

You can add a bit of bounce to your laundry with tennis balls – they’re an effective fabric softener alternative! When petting the tennis balls, make sure you use clean ones that won’t introduce any lint or dirt into your washing machine.

Choose washer-safe varieties and avoid reusing them too often as their effectiveness will diminish over time.

For optimal results, try combining them with heat-activated dryer sheets and adding cups of Epsom salts when washing for extra softness. Set the dryer on a reduced heat setting so that items don’t shrink due to excessive drying temperatures.

To further maximize benefits from this fabric softener alternative, consider using less laundry detergent than usual since it can leave residue on clothing after rinsing cycles are complete.

With all these tips in mind, you’ll be able to experience softer clothes without sacrificing comfort or quality!

Wool Dryer Balls

Wool Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls are a great way to naturally soften your laundry – why not give them a go? Handmade using wool yarn and nylons, these eco-friendly fabric softener alternatives can reduce static cling and provide long-lasting fluffing power.

To ensure their effectiveness, make sure they get felted by washing in hot water and drying on high heat.

Make the better choice for your fabrics with this natural fabric softener alternative that eliminates the need for chemical products.

So don’t rely on synthetic solutions when you can opt for something more permanent – try out wool dryer balls today.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking Soda & Vinegar
Mix up a batch of baking soda and vinegar to naturally soften your laundry without harsh chemicals! This cost-effective substitute uses just hot water, baking soda, and vinegar with the option to add essential oils for scent.

It can help reduce static cling on different types of fabric while removing stubborn stains – all without negative environmental impacts.

When washing your favorite clothes in this mixture, be sure not to shake it as you would with liquid fabric softener since that will cause the solution to foam up. Instead, use one-quarter cup per load and let it dissolve into warm water before adding clothing items.

With proper usage of baking soda and vinegar as an alternative fabric softener, you’ll have softer clothes free from wrinkles or static electricity while still keeping them fresh smelling too! So go ahead, ditch those chemical products once and for all – choose natural solutions like this instead today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much fabric softener should be used for each load of laundry?

For each load of laundry, a quarter cup of fabric softener should suffice. Eco-friendly alternatives are cost-effective and keep clothes fresh.

Are there any potential risks associated with using alternatives to fabric softener?

Yes, there are potential risks associated with using fabric softener alternatives. These risks include the use of unclean tennis balls or aluminum foil that is too small, as well as the failure to properly felt wool dryer balls.

Additionally, essential oils can be irritating if added in large amounts. It is important to carefully follow instructions for the best results.

How long should wool dryer balls be felted?

Felting wool dryer balls is a straightforward process and only requires one cycle in the washer and dryer. For best results, wash them on a hot setting with an additional rinse cycle, and then dry them on high heat.

Can essential oils be added to other fabric softener alternatives?

Yes! Essential oils can be added to fabric softener alternatives like baking soda and vinegar for a fresh scent.

How often should fabric softener alternatives be replaced?

Replace fabric softener alternatives frequently for freshness and softness. Keep tennis balls clean, make aluminum foil balls 3-4 inches in diameter, felt wool dryer balls by washing and drying on high heat, and replenish conditioner mix regularly.


Your laundry can be soft, fluffy, and fresh without the need for fabric softener. There are a few natural alternatives that are easy to use and won’t break the bank. Wool dryer balls, vinegar, baking soda and vinegar, essential oils, and soap nuts are all great options for softening your linens.

With these natural alternatives, you can give your clothes a luxurious feel, like a gentle hug from a friend, without any of the harsh chemicals. So, next time you do laundry, reach for a natural fabric softener alternative and toss the toxins for good.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.