How to Naturally Soften Laundry

Looking for a way to soften up your laundry without using any harsh or commercial chemicals? Well, look no further! There are actually plenty of ways you can naturally soften your laundry, and chances are you already have everything you need at home. Check out this handy-dandy list of options you can use to find the softening solution that works best for you.


[Edit]Baking Soda

  1. It can both soften your clothes and reduce odors. Turn on your washing machine and wait until the washbasin is filling with water. Add ½ cup of baking soda (90 g) into the water and let it dissolve before you add your laundry. If you have a front-loading washing machine, just add the baking soda into the compartment where you put laundry detergent.[1]
    Naturally Soften Laundry Step 1 Version 5.jpg
    • Baking soda also helps regulate the pH level of the water in your washing machine, which can help reduce wear and tear and keep your laundry softer for longer.

[Edit]White Vinegar

  1. Just plain old vinegar can make your clothes softer. Wait until your laundry is in the rinse cycle and then add in of vinegar. If your machine has a fabric softener dispenser, pour the vinegar in there instead.[2]
    Naturally Soften Laundry Step 2 Version 5.jpg
    • The vinegar helps remove residue and excess soap from your laundry, which can leave your clothes feeling clean and soft.
    • Make sure you only use the vinegar in the rinse cycle so there isn’t any odor on your laundry.

[Edit]Baking Soda + Vinegar

  1. Combine the two ingredients for a stronger fabric softener. Add about 1 cup (200 g) of baking soda into a bowl and pour in about 7 cups (1.7 liters) of white vinegar. Stir the mixture well until it’s fully combined. Add about ⅓ cup (80 mL) of the mixture into your machine’s fabric softener dispenser or add it during the rinse cycle to soften up your laundry.[3]

    • While baking soda and white vinegar can naturally soften your laundry on their own, they can also be combined to form a super effective and super simple fabric softener!

[Edit]Epsom Salt + Essential Oils

  1. Naturally soften your laundry and add a nice scent. You can actually simply add about 1 tablespoon (25 g) of Epsom salt directly to your wash to help soften your laundry. But if you want to spruce it up a bit, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to make your laundry smell even better.[4]

    • For instance, you could use lavender or pine essential oils to add a fresh scent.
    • Warning: There's a chance that using essential oils in your dryer could increase the fire risk.[5]

[Edit]Hair Conditioner + Vinegar

  1. Use this as a simple two-ingredient liquid fabric softener. Take a large bowl or container and combine of water, of white vinegar, and of hair conditioner. Stir it really well, but don’t shake it or it could foam up. Add the mixture during the rinse cycle and use the same amount as you would for a commercial fabric softener.[6]

    • Choose a conditioner with a scent that you like so your laundry smells nice.
    • You could also spray the mixture onto a clean washcloth and toss it into the dryer with your laundry as a dryer sheet if you like.

[Edit]Homemade Dryer Sheet

  1. All you need is a piece of cotton cloth and some essential oils. Take some scrap cotton fabric such as a cut-up T-shirt or a washcloth, soak it in water, and wring it out so it’s damp but not sopping wet. Add about 5 drops of an essential oil of your choice all over the cloth and then toss it into the dryer with your laundry in the last 10 minutes of drying. That’s it![7]

    • The moisture on the cloth will keep your laundry soft and prevent overdrying.
    • Orange, lavender, vanilla, and tea tree are all great options, but you can use any essential oil that you want!
    • You can even re-use the cloth. Just wet the cloth again and keep using it until the scent runs out.
    • Warning:Using essential oils in your dryer could pose a fire risk.[8]

[Edit]Wool Dryer Balls

  1. They’ll reduce static in the dryer and soften your clothes. Dryer balls work to remove the static electricity that can make your laundry stiff and uncomfortable. Wool dryer balls are a great natural choice and all you have to do is toss 2-3 of them into your dryer with your laundry and you’re all set![9]
    Naturally Soften Laundry Step 7 Version 5.jpg
    • You can find wool dryer balls at your local department store or home goods store. You can also order them online.

[Edit]Aluminum Foil

  1. Toss 2-3 balls of aluminum foil in your dryer to prevent static. If you don’t have any dryer balls, you can make your own! Take about 3-4 square feet (0.279-0.377 square meters) of foil and crumple it up as tight as you can into a ball. Make 2-3 of the aluminum foil balls and add them into your dryer with your laundry.[10]

    • The aluminum foil discharges static and prevents your clothes from sticking together.

[Edit]Hang Dry

  1. Air-drying your laundry can reduce wear and tear. But it’s important that you hang your laundry the right way. Match the inner leg seams of pants and hang them by the legs with the waist hanging down. For shirts and tops, pin them to the clothesline from the bottom hem and at the side seams. Hang socks in pairs and pin them to the line by the toes so the opening hangs down. Fold sheets, blankets, and towels in half and pin each end to the line.[11]
    Naturally Soften Laundry Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • Try to leave room between the items if you can they’ll dry faster.
    • Don’t hang colored clothing items in direct sun or it could bleach them.
    • If you’re hanging your laundry indoors, use a drying rack and lay the items flat in an area with good circulation.


  • Don’t worry about salt or vinegar affecting the color of your clothing items. They won’t damage or discolor them.


  • Always check the tag for specific washing instructions before you add an item to your washing machine or dryer. If it’s marked as dry-clean only, don’t try to wash it in your machine or it could damage the material.

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