Certain fabrics not only feel nice against your skin, but also give a bit of that “fresh from the laundry” smell. This is because they have been treated with fabric softener. Fabric softeners are chemicals put in washing machines to detangle and clean cloth fibers.
They have a high pH level so they can break down the nasty stuff collected on clothes, as well as neutralize any acidity collected during wash cycles. Fabric softener also has various aromas which makes all those used clothes smell much better right out of the dryer or off of a clothesline after being hung up outside to dry.
Fabric softener does not provide protection against static cling.
Fabric softener is so popular because it makes clothes feel better and smell nicer, but the fact is that fabric softeners are loaded with petrochemicals, all of which come from oil. After your washing machine has diluted the chemicals in the water to their proper concentrations they are released into local waterways where they can do damage to marine life.
Fabric softeners also reduce the absorbency of fabrics, meaning more energy is needed to dry your clothes – whether on a line or in an electric or gas-powered dryer. So using alternatives like vinegar/water, white vinegar/dissolved baking soda, borax (a natural mineral), wool balls (for non-liquids) or even just leaving clothes out to dry can save you money, protect the environment and keep your skin happy.
Fabric Softener #2
For each load of laundry you wish to soften:
Add 1/2 c. White vinegar to the wash.
This also helps remove urine/ pet odors from the wash as well. If you want the laundry to have a light scent, mix 8-12 drops of your favorite clear essential oil into the vinegar prior to adding to the wash. We’ve found lavendar to be exquisite!
The kids actually like peppermint added to their schoolclothes. Peppermint essential oil increases concencration. View additional homemade fabric softeners here.