Homemade All-Natural Fabric Softener with Essential Oils DIY

The Plant Therapy website uses cookies for a variety of reasons. By accessing or using the Plant Therapy website you agree to the use of cookies. You can read our cookie policy here.

Your cart is currently empty.

Everyday Essentials by Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy Lavender Homemade Fabric Softener

Homemade All-Natural Fabric Softener with Essential Oils – DIY

By: Retha Nesmith, Certified Aromatherapist

Fabric Softener DIY

Homemade Fabric Softener Ingredients with Tea Tree OilWe received a request for a homemade, all-natural, fabric softener recipe. I did some research, tested some out, and this is my favorite! I originally found a similar recipe on Pinterest for getting the mildew smell out of towels. I added Tea Tree essential oil to it to help kill all the bacteria that can build up on your towels over time. I loved it! My towels were so soft and smelled so clean!

Here is the recipe for it:

-Add your towels to the wash like normal. Add 1 cup of Vinegar (I used White Distilled Vinegar). Then wash towels with the vinegar on the hottest setting available.

-When the load is finished wash towels again on hottest setting but this time add 1/2 cup of Baking Soda and 10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil.

-Then dry. Towels will come out so soft and clean! Don’t worry, they won’t smell like Tea Tree or vinegar. They just smell fresh and clean!

-I will wash my towels like this whenever they start smelling again. Probably once every couple of months or so.

Fabric Softener with Lavender Essential OilThe Fabric Softener Recipe is very similar. I found this recipe on a lot of different sites and love it:

-Take a gallon of vinegar (I again used the White Distilled Vinegar) and add 25-30 (or play with the amount if you want the smell stronger or less) drops of your favorite essential oil, the essential oil is only for the smell. I like Lavender or Lemon. You could also add your favorite Plant Therapy  Synergy. Or add Plant Therapy’s Calming the Child Synergy for your children’s clothes!

-Mark the vinegar mixture as Fabric Softener so you don’t accidentally use it somewhere else!

-Add 1/4 cup of the vinegar mixture to the rinse cycle. Or you can add directly to where you would normally add your fabric softener.

  • Don’t add bleach to your wash cycle when using your homemade recipes with vinegar. 
  • You should not need bleach anyways because vinegar is a natural whitener!
  • This recipe should be good for a couple of months.


This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Plant Therapy and it’s representatives are not intending to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


45 thoughts on “Homemade All-Natural Fabric Softener with Essential Oils – DIY”

  • We’re starting our all natural home cleaning products with this fabric softener recipe. Thanks for sharing. Now onto laundry detergent.

  • Would I be able to put it in with (on top of) the towels or do I need to put it in the fabric softener spot? Should I use store detergent-that goes in a hole
    Or homemade that I put on top?-has washing soda,borax,& zote flakes.

    1. You could put it on top of the towels, it does not have to be in the fabric softener container. It’s best to add it during the rinse cycle, though. 🙂 As far as which detergent to use, that is personal preference. You can use store bought, or you can make your own. 🙂

  • I have used vinegar in my Downy dryer ball for a couple years now, & I love it! I always have a batch of white vinegar that is infusing with citrus peels or fresh herbs, so I use that. Also, I make my own detergent, and I include sodium percarbonate, which is simply powdered hydrogen peroxide. It is the active ingredient in OxyClean, so using vinegar with regular OxyClean should be no problem!

      1. Beth, it is known as sodium peroxide and available on Amazon. Be careful using this, if not diluted properly it can take out the color on some fabrics.

  • Could you use this fabric softener in the dryer? I’m thinking of putting it in a plastic bowl with a lid, cut up sponges, soak the sponge, and throw it in the dryer. What do you think???

  • If I use lemon or lavender essential oil for the fabric softener recipe would it be safe to use for washing baby clothes (my daughter is 6 months old) or just adult clothes? Thanks!

    1. Nearly *all* the essential oils rinses out, so there shouldn’t be a concern with baby clothes. However, if you do have reservations use plain vinegar instead (surprisingly, the scent doesn’t linger but softens clothes nicely!)

  • Thanks for the post, although I do not have smelly towels, I live alone and in AZ things dry so quickly. I have heard of using baking soda as a laundry additive and a home made fabric softener recipe using vinegar and hair conditioner, so this makes a lot of sense and adding essential oils is a great idea! I love Plant Therapy products and sent a family member one of the Pre-Diluted Roll-Ons as a gift.

  • If I wanted to just make a single use sample of this softener, what would the ratio be (approx.)? I have also seen recipes using Epsom salt and vinegar. Your opinion?

    P.s. A friend recommended adding a few drops of EO to a dry washcloth or a (homemade) wool dryer ball to soften towels/laundry in the dryer? She claims it also lessens drying time.

    1. I would make up about 1/4 cup worth. So just shy of 1/4 cup of vinegar and about 2 tsp of baking soda with a few drops (maybe 4-5) of essential oil.

  • Another front loader question, do you put the baking powder on top of the clothes or in the dispenser? Can’t wait to try this!

  • I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure
    whether this post is written by himm aas nobody else know such detailed abouut my difficulty.

    You are wonderful! Thanks!

  • Hmm is anyone else experiencing pproblems with the pixtures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if iits a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • I made this fabric softener yesterday and have washed about 4 loads with it… I am finding that my clothes and towels are FULL of static electricity… Does that happen for you? I love that it is so easy… My clothes smell nice, just wish the static was not an issue… I never noticed static when I used Downy fabric softener…

      1. I noticed static as well, I will try baking soda to see if it works, kinda bummed because I love the smell, and they feel soft coming out of washer

    1. I use wool balls in my dryer to eliminate the static electricity, I haven’t used fabric softener in over 10 years and these seem to work pretty well, and they help to ‘fluff’ up the laundry items. (I got them on etsy, just google wool dryer balls) I am really looking forward to trying this recipe as my towels do all have a funky smell, hoping this helps!

  • Vinegar is not good for rubber therefore I worry about putting it in my machines softener dispenser. However I do not listen for the rinse cycle like in the olden days (as my kids would say). I put my vinegar in a Downey softener ball. Yes they have rubber but I’d rather replace a $3 ball when needed rather than risk damaging my washing machine.

  • I use a homemade version of detergent that has oxyclean which is oxygenated bleach but without chlorine. Would the mixture of vinegar and this item not be recommended as well?

    1. Honestly I am not sure about the mixture of those two items. I have used bleach on a really bad shirt and still used the vinegar in the rinse cycle and I did not see a problem.

  • I was wondering, for the towels, could you not pre-wash the vinegar then follow washing in the baking soda mix? Just cuz I have a front load system and the cycles are long?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.