If you ever thought about the money spent on dryer sheets or fabric softener, the amount would astound you! The average household does six loads of laundry each week (about 312 loads each year). That's about eight boxes of dryer sheets and 15 bottles of fabric softener (well over $50).
This 5-minute project can save your budget and the environment by using all-purpose, reusable dryer sheets. Save even more and make this easy fabric softener solution, too!
DIY Dryer Sheets
- One large multipurpose cloth (think Sham-Wow!) approximately 13.5" x 20"
- One bottle of fabric softener (you’ll only use a few tablespoons each month). Or create your own fabric softener by following the recipe below.
- 1½ cups warm water
- Empty tub (re-use an empty baby wipes container)
- Cut the multipurpose cloth into strips that will fit into the container. My strips were 6.4″ x 9″ and I was able to cut nine strips out of a 13.5″ x 20″ sheet.
- Mix warm water and fabric softener in a pitcher.
- Stack three sheets into the tub. Pour 1/2 cup of the water/fabric softener mix over three sheets. Stack the next three sheets into the tub. Pour another 1/2 cup of the water/ fabric softener mix over three sheets. Repeat with the remaining sheets. Close lid and gently shake side-to-side to mix and get the water through to the bottom. Let sit for an hour before using.
Add one sheet to each dryer load. When changing loads, pull the used dryer sheet from the dryer load and place in between layers of sheets to absorb softener for the next use.
The sheets will dry out over time as they absorb the water and softener. This is normal. Even though they are dry, they still contain fabric softener and will continue to act as dryer sheets when activated by damp clothing. Add 3 tablespoons of softener and 3/4 cup of water every 3-4 weeks to re-introduce softener to the sheets.
Savings: The cost for supplies is between $4 and $5 and about $0.02 per load. Retail dryer sheets average about $3 for a box of 40 sheets (for Bounce) and about $0.08 per load.
DIY Fabric Softener
- 2 cups hair conditioner
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 6 cups hot water
- Empty container to mix it in (If you are almost out of your current commercial fabric softener, repurpose the container.)
This recipe yields 11 cups. If you use ¼ cup for each load, it is just $0.05 per load.
Mix the water, vinegar and conditioner together. I used a big pitcher because it is easy to mix in and easy to pour into another container. Gently stir (don't shake) to mix ingredients. It takes a few minutes of stirring until it is all mixed together and there are no more conditioner clumps.
Add 1 to 2 ounces to your fabric softener dispenser in your HE washer, or pour it onto your homemade reusable dryer sheets.
Alternative: Combine fabric softener and water (50/50 mix) in a spray bottle and give your dryer about 5 to 10 good sprays before tossing in the wet clothes, depending on the size of the load.
Savings: Depending on the cost of the conditioner and vinegar used, the total is an estimated $5 for 11 cups of softener (88 ounces) or $0.05 per ounce. Cost for 103 ounces of Downy Ultra Fabric Softener is $9 or $0.09 per ounce.