Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals Recipe {2 Simple Ingredients!}

DIY Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals Recipe

Did you know you can make your own Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals like the ones Purex makes? All you need is 2 ingredients too – Epsom salts and your favorite essential oils.

If you have ever used those fabric softener crystals in the store you will know one little container of these will cost you upwards of $5.00-$6.00 depending on the size. My own homemade laundry recipe costs around $20 for a year of detergent and one of the ingredients I use is the Purex crytals.  The Purex Crystals in the recipe is the most expensive ingredient, so I attempted to make my own fabric softener crystals recipe to save money. And I was able to save $4.12 off the recipe.

How to make Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals

purex-crystals

First  I turned over a container of Purex crystals to read what was inside of them.

Sodium Chloride, PEG Distearate, Bentonite, Sodium Silicate, Fragrance, Silica, Liquitint Red ST, Liquitint Blue HP.  

Okay – so Sodium Chloride is salt. The rest of the ingredients are basically fragrance, colorants and thickeners. Stuff we don’t really NEED, right?  The more natural the better I say, because I have a little girl who has very sensitive skin.

epsom

Epsom salts + essential oils for fragrance are all you really need!

Just take your Epsom salts, and pour them into a bowl. A 2 lb. box (a little over 4 cups) of Epsom salts only costs $0.88 at Walmart!

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Then add about 40 drops of your favorite essential oils.

I use DoTerra Essential oils because they are therapeutic pure grade. They are very concentrate and pure, and although you can find other essential oils for less,  you get what you pay for. The quality of DoTerra is really amazing. In fact I love DoTerra Oils so much I signed up as a consultant. I find myself reaching for my essential oils several times a day for all kinds of natural healing, they truly have changed my life.

oils

My favorite scent for my homemade fabric softener crystals is a combination of 20 drops of Lavendar and 20 drops of Lime. The combination is heavenly. But you can really just add whatever scent you love the most.  In fact you could probably have it be non-scented if you wanted to as well which would save even more money. The salts alone would soften your clothes.

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After you add in the oils, mix it all up until thoroughly blended. It took less than 2 minutes of mixing to be totally incorporated.

And Voila!

You have homemade fabric softener crystals!

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Store them in an air-tight container or just pour the whole 4 cups into your homemade laundry recipe. If you use store bought laundry detergent you can just add a small scoop (1-2 tablespoons) of these crystals to your wash to soften your clothes.

Oh and try not to sit and just sniff your jar all day long. I know it’s tempting…. I know.

While the smell is strong in the jar, it’s not as strong on my clothes coming out of the dryer.  Purex crystals were stronger, but they also had a lot of strange fragrances, mine are pure essential oils that I know are good for me to be breathing in.  My clothes do smell lovely still and they are so soft using this recipe.

The next time you make homemade laundry detergent make sure and also make this homemade fabric softener crystals recipe along with it to save you money. This takes the price of my detergent down to just around $16.89 vs. $20.21. Sweet!

Recipe for Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals

  • 4 Cups Epsom Salts ($0.88 for 2 lb. box at Walmart)
  • 40 drops Essential Oils (about $1.00)
  • Mix them together and you are done.

Final price $1.88 for homemade vs. $6.00 for Purex Crystals at the store!

Thoughts? Have you tried to make your own fabric softener before? Have any other great homemade recipes you would like to share?

Here are more DIY recipes you might be interested in:

Find more frugal living recipes and DIY ideas here.89 Comments

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Comments

  1. You amaze me! I will be trying this!

  2. Do you get discounts on the oils?

  3. Wow! I’m totally going to try this. I’ve also been wanting to make home-made detergent too! I’ll have to give that a try too! And I had no idea you were a doTerra consultant. I’m totally getting some from you! I love in the same city as you so I’m going to keep it local! Woo-hoo!

  4. Do you put this in the detergent spot or the fabric softener spot?

  5. stephanie says:

    Amazing Karrie. I can’t believe Epsom salt alone will act as a fabric softener. Much more natural. I will have to try this. Thank you!

  6. I already do this in my homemade a laundry soap, I just wanted to tell those that have hard water that this will help your bright yellows and greens from graying.

  7. Heather says:

    Love this…saving the recipe! It will go right along with the laundry soap I made from your recipe last Spring! I have a few questions though: Any issues with fading on your clothing when you launder them…like Jeans? Also, are the oils staining anything?

    • Hi Heather, no I haven’t had any issues with fading or oils staining anywhere…so far no issues at all except softer sweet smelling clothes.

      • Heather says:

        Awesome…I was hoping you didn’t have any issues. Making this up today! I have some friends who want to sample your recipe before making their own big batch! Will use this! Thanks a bunch!

  8. Love this post! We love to save money, and make our own more natural products :).

    I was wondering if you’ve tried using plain table salt instead of epsom salts? In our area, regular salt (sodium chloride) is cheaper than epsom salts (pound for pound), so I’d like to try plain salt first, but don’t want to ruin the laundry detergent in case it isn’t a suitable substitute.

    • Hmmm.. I don’t see why not, my only concern is how quickly it can dissolve down. You should try to wash a load with just the salt in it to see if your clothes come out softer or not. I used epson because they were crystals like the Purex ones.

      • How about using Kosher salt or large granular salt that you put in a salt grinder? Or maybe ice cream salt? Of course, those are all more expensive than table salt.

      • Ann Marie Forbes Jones says:

        Actually I do believe regular salt will ,, if too much is used draw dyes. It can be used to set dyes in the proper amount (very little) but if too much is used it will draw the dye to the point of fading.

  9. Where do you find essential oils in the grocery store? Does Walmart have them? For front loading would you put this in fabric softener bin?

    • I believe you can find some essential oils online or at natural food stores. Walmart I don’t think carries them and if they do they wouldn’t be pure. Most likely a carrier oil soaked with lavendar, but not 100% pure lavendar oil.

      • You can find essential oil at AC Moore or Michael’s in the candle making department. You can buy a kit with 6 different scents for $21.99–in my area. On Labor day I used a 50% off coupon. Use the 40% off coupon that is in the paper every week and you can try it for a decent price.

        • Michaels does not carry 100% pure essential oils, they carry fragrance oils for candle making.
          I would not use these in my laundry for fear of the oil staining my clothes. JMO

    • I add mine to the washing detergent dispenser in my HE front loader.

  10. How much epson salt do you put in for your softener to a load of laundry?

    • I just mix the whole thing into my detergent recipe, so I am not sure how much each bit is. However if you were just adding some to your wash I would say toss in a tablespoon maybe?

  11. I might try this. Right now for softener I put vinegar in the Downy ball. Works better than Downy I think.

  12. April M says:

    I LOVE this idea!!! Thanks so much for posting a “greener” recipe for our homes. :)

  13. I’m guessing that I would use this just as you would the Purex softener crystals? Just throw in a tablespoon inside the washer with the clothes, not the fabric softener tray? I’ve used vinegar and it’s great for fresh smelling clothes, but it doesn’t help with static cling in my dryer. Thanks for the tip!

    • Yes, you can throw it in with the wash just like you would with the Purex crystals. No, I would NOT put it in the fabric softener tray as I would think it would gum it up.

  14. Epsom salts are not sodium chloride – its seems to work since you said your clothes are softer so that’s good to know but its not the same thing as salt if that is what you were originally going for. I wonder if something like kosher salt what also do the same thing?

    • I was going to say that, too… Epsom salt is Magnesium Chloride, which is different from Sodium Chloride, or table salt. But I remember my mom telling me as a little girl that her grandma taught her to soak clothes in water/epsom salt to prevent colors from bleeding. It might help with colorfastness.

  15. frances ponce says:

    I went to walmart n walgreen n did;nt find the oils where can I find them

  16. Karrie!!
    I am so excited that you posted this on the home page! I searched for it last week, and made it on Saturday. I love it. I have converted my Mother (very tuff sell) to the homemade laundry detergent, and we both omitted the store bought fabric softener crystals in favour of making our own. We noticed that while the laundry soap was amazing- it needed softener because we both hang our clothes out on a line. So this weekend we added it to our large tubs of soap! I really did the trick. I wished I had gone online to get the oil to save money and get multiple scents, but I really wanted to
    support a local business. I will be going online however for the next batches of oil because I plan to make scrubs, etc.
    FYI we are now giving out samples to friends & neighbors with a little homemade tag with your website and follow info. We love sharing GOOD IDEAS!
    Thanks Much!

  17. I just got done making mine! Just in time for a huge load of laundry! At my Walmart, I could only find plain epsom salts over by the first aid aisle by the bandaids. They only had a 4 lb. bag, which was $2.86. Not as cheap as I was hoping, but still much cheaper than Purex Crystals. Thanks for posting this! Gonna try making homemade soap next week!

    • they have them at the dollar store

    • Jessica kiefer says:

      Dollar tree has several different types of epsom salt….Vanilla….Rose…Etc….Not very big bags though…..I prefer to buy my stuff in bulk and make laundry soap, dish washing soap and fabric softener all at once…Even my glass cleaners and other cleaners….Just buy bulk and make everything…..Saves me a lot of money..But, if it’s just yourself and your spouse it could be more than you need….However, the stuff keeps forever!

  18. Hi there,
    I just made mine yesterday and put the directly into the washtub, but I was wondering-do you still push the fabric softener button on the washer? I can’t figure out if that button is just to flush out the fabric softener dispenser or if it creates some kind of extra rinse or something during the wash cycle. Thanks so much!

  19. Cindy Laidlaw says:

    Hi, I use soap nuts for my laundry.I put some washing soda in the laundry compartment. Would it be safe to add this to the same compartment?. I have been using vinegar for my fabric softener. Would you have an opinion on which is better?

  20. can i use warming oil instead or not thanks

  21. Claudia Phillips says:

    I’ve been using Epsom Salts with essential oils as a fabric softener for about a month in my HE machine. LOVE IT! My favorite scent is lemon oil and peppermint oil. Smells so fresh and clean.

    • How do you use it in your HE? Do you just mix the salt in with your detergent or do you have to put the Epsom in water and then pour into the detergent slot? We make our own detergent so if this works for us better than the vinegar I’ll mix it into our next batch. But I’d like to try it first, just adding it in. Tips on how to do that? Dissolve first then add or just dump a spoonful in with the soap?

  22. Rudi Pittman says:

    Have you compared the epson salt solution to the homemade recipe that uses vinegar, water and some cheap hair conditioner? I’ve been using that for a while and it works quite well. I was curious which had a lower cost per usage.

    The recipe in question is here: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/homemade-fabric-softener.htm

    Homemade Fabric Softener
    2 cups cheap hair conditioner
    3 cups white vinegar
    6 cups warm water
    Pour everything into an old fabric softener bottle or other container and mix well. If you are using a bottle, just give it a few good shakes.

  23. Kristin Egelund says:

    Does this help with static cling as well?

  24. How much of the homemade softener crystals did you add to how much homemade powder detergent? Just looking for a ratio for mixing the two. Recommendation for ratio if mixing it with DIY liquid detergent also. Can’t wait to try this. I just used the last of my purchased softener and have the ingredients on hand.

  25. Yes, if you sign up with doTerra you get wholesale pricing on your oils :)

  26. L'lani Ramirez says:

    What about Dr Teal’s Epsom Salt with Lavender? I know it probably doesn’t have pure oil, but just wondering if it would be ok to put it in a load.

  27. love the idea of this but what about static?? i am sensitive to static electricity.

  28. Salt is corrosive. Do you not worry it may corrode something in your washing machine over time? I know when we scuba dive we have to thoroughly rinse all equipment whether it is metal or not because the salt in the water will ruin it fairly quickly.

  29. So if I am ready this right is goes in the wash cycle?

  30. Hi, love your ideas. I use the Purex Crystals in my homemade laundry detergent so I was surprised to see your fabric softener idea. When I checked my bottle of PC, it says “Laundry Enhancer” for keeping laundry fresher longer. In fact, it says not to put it in the fabric softener dispenser.

    I use a homemade fabric softener made from water, vinegar, and hair conditioner. It seems to work on all the laundry that I use it on. I don’t use it on towels or washcloths.

    • I use all my homemade laundry products in an HE washer without any issues. The homemade products seem to keep the scum and smell out of the washer. When I was using commercial liquid detergent, both were pretty bad. I would guess it’s the vinegar in the homemade fabric softener (vinegar, hair conditioner, and water version).

  31. Hi!

    I have been looking for more frugal and more natural methods for housekeeping. I have read that some people use vinegar as a fabric softener and skip the dryer sheet. If I use epsom salts in my detergent do you think I can skip the vinegar idea? (I have very hard water and have an HE wash machine)

  32. For static cling I’ve read about using foil balls in the dryer.

  33. Hi there- Just saw your DIY Fabric softner and was wondering – What happens to all the salt that is in the dryer- does it melt or what happens to it? Thank you

  34. not to worried about softness but it would really interest me to know what this recipe does for static cling. gads i hate getting zapped!!!

  35. Ben Pauley says:

    I’m slowly starting to convert to natural laundry care as well as other natural products for cleaning. So far I love using vinegar as my fabric softener of choice as I feel it does help reduce static and remove any extra residue my commercial detergent (since I have yet to find something that cleans thoroughly and not fade/leave holes in my clothes). But I love, and do mean LOVE Downy Unstoppables. I was wondering if I could use this recipe in place of downy more as a scent booster than a softner? Will the Epsom salt and vinegar combo cancel each other out as a softner (like recipes that call for a vinegar and baking soda mixture as a softner)? And then one last question since I have only smelled essential oils and not used them. I love the smell of this beard balm and the essential oils in it are juniper, lavender, rosemary and bergamot; should I be concerned with this combo or is it a safe mix?

  36. Thanks so much for this recipe! I tried it this weekend and I LOVE it! I wrote about it here (and gave you credit): http://modern-simplicity.com/2014/01/fresh-laundry.html. Thanks so much for freshening up my laundry!

  37. You spelled lavendEr incorrectly. Also, this is not a fabric softener but a laundry booster. The bentonite clay is a natural mineral from the earth and it absorbs and adsorbs all the pollutants and dirt in your clothes. It is also very healthy to soak in with some Epsom salt for a cheap detox. For fabric softener that whitens and softens clothes, use coffee filters and out them in a baby wipes tub. Pour vinegar and your favorite essential oils in. Use one coffee filter for three loads of clothes at least. It works great in conjunction with homemade laundry soap andEpsom salt/Pyrex crystals.

    • I think it is both a great fabric softener and booster. Also…. *OUT* them in a baby wipes tub.?. I assume you meant put them in…….

  38. Jenny Lynn says:

    I would think that actual salt (Sodium Chloride) would be a better choice than Epsom salts, which are not actually salts at all. Epsom salts are made from Magnesium Sulfate. I would be interested to hear if anyone has done a comparison between the two.

  39. Melinda Brooks says:

    I would like to order some of the essential oils from DoTerra but I am not interested in becoming a consultant– can we order through you?

    Thanks for your site — it is wonderful

  40. I began using homemade fabric softener a year ago last Christmas (the version with water, vinegar, baking soda, & essential oils). Some things I have noticed as an improvement:

    1. Our towels actually absorb water now when were drying after a shower/bath, and when doing dishes!

    2. Clothes feel softer not ‘waxy’!

    3. Not so much sneezing in the house (we have our dryer vented in during the winter months), though this might be in addition to added moisture in the air.

    4. And the best saved for last… my husband and I along with our 2 children had bumps on the back of our arms, looked like ingrown hairs. Now, we are all ‘bump free’!

  41. Hi! I Tried your Home Made Fabric Softener Crystal Recipe & LOVE it!! I LOVE that it is SUPER EASY to make! I Followed your Suggestion of Using 20 Drops of Lavendar Oil & 20 Drops of Lime Oil, but I wasn’t too Crazy about the two scents when Combined together & I don’t like them enough to use them seperately. Do you have any Essential Oil Scent or Blended Scent that has a Nice CLEAN Scent to it….something that smells Similar to The Purex Crystals “Fresh Spring Waters” Scent?? That is my FAVORITE SCENT….the Fresh Spring Waters Scent that Purex Offers. Do you have any Scent Available to that scent that smells Similar that you would Recommend Using? Thanks!

  42. I LOVE this fabric softener. It works amazing!! However….. I bought Epsom Salt Technical Grade from a hardware store. Would this be safe to use? I didn’t realize there were different types of Epsom Salt.

    Thank you!!

  43. Does the Epsom Salt ruin your water pipes?

  44. It is fascinating that Epsom Salt works, since chemically you are making hard water and making soap less effective. The minerals that make water hard usually contain calcium and magnesium. you made water hard by adding epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate. Calcium and magnesium in water interfere with the cleaning action of soap and detergent. They do this by combining with soap or detergent and forming a scum that does not dissolve in water. Because they react with soap and detergent, they remove the soap and detergent, thereby reducing the effectiveness of these cleaning agents. This could be overcome by adding more soap or detergent. However, the scum that is formed can adhere to what is being washed, making it appear dingy supposedly.

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