fabric softener

beatleDecember 7, 2002

I'm new to this particular forum, I usualy post in house plants.

My mother, who grew up during the depression, taught me frugality. My newest frugal thing is dryer sheets, if you use them do you know they can be cut into at least 1/4s and give you the same softening effect? An even more frugal act would be to buy some inexpensive liquid softener, moisten a washrag with it and toss it in the dryer.

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Somewhere along the line, another poster suggested dropping the fabric softener in favor of vinegar in the rinse. I liked the idea, since we're on a septic system, and fabric softener gunks up the treatment field. I've eliminated fabric softener altogether. The vinegar seems to work just as well at lower cost, and triggers no allergies. If we want fragrance, we wear it on our skin instead.

It's funny how we accept the need for all kinds of specialized products, and sometimes use them to excess. I'm continually amazed at the simple suggestions that people come up with that would never had occurred to me in a million years!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2002 at 9:06PM
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Hi, I love the idea about the vinegar and will try it. How much do you use? Currently, I buy my softner sheets at our local Dollar Tree. Love that place. Monica in TX

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 11:08AM
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I put a little vinegar in a downey ball and put it in the washer with the load. I like the extra "kick" it gives to truly rinse the soap out of the clothes. (But I may not need it now, as I only use 1/8th tsp of detergent anymore, remember that thread?)

The vinegar doesn't stop static on our bad static days so I still use a fabric sheet (cut in 4ths, of course!) in dryer loads when the weather is especially dry.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 12:24PM
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I use about an 1/8 cup of vinegar in the rinse reservoir of my washer. I add about a 1/2 cup of water to it to help disperse the vinegar. I don't have too much trouble with static. I have dryer sheets left over, but almost never use them for static.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 10:29PM
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I use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Occasionally, however, I do need to use dryer sheets. This is what I did.

Fabric Softener Sheets
1 package Handi-Wipes
about 1/2 to 3/4 cup thin fabric softener - if using "ultra," dilute with water to thin it out
1 wide-mouthed container (I use a Ziploc/Gladlock "Deep Dish Container")

Cut Handi-Wipes into 4- to 5-inch sections. Separate and place into wide-mouthed container with tight-fitting lid. Pour softener over Handi-Wipes, allowing wipes to be saturated, but not standing in it. Replace cover.

To use: Squeeze excess softener out of one wipe and place in dryer with clothes as you would any other softener sheet. After load is done, set dried sheet ON TOP of softener sheet container. Do not put back in container yet. For next load, turn wet sheets over and select and squeeze one sheet. Add to dryer. USE PREVIOUSLY DRIED SHEET to wipe excess softener off fingers and hand. Drop sheet into container. Turning the sheets over before selecting one allows this sheet to "work its way into the softener."

After softener is used up, rinse out container and add new softener. Do not just add softener or you may allow mold to grow.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 11:14PM
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Ditto here on the vinegar. Although the last two weeks I have noticed a small amount of static, I think I used to end up with just as much static in the dryest months even with fabric softener or sheets. I love how great my towels turn out with vinegar instead of softener. And very cheap!!

(and also - as long as we're on saving money on laundry:
Read the instructions on your detergent and use ONLY what it asks for, even if it seems crazy to use only 1/4 or 1/3 of a scoop. They always put in a scooper way bigger than what you actually need.
I use 1/4 scoop for all loads. If I check it halfway thru the wash there are plenty of suds. And even DD's stinky sweaty school clothes come out smelling clean.

Another $$ saving side-effect. Less detergent means better rinsing, and I have noticed I have to run the dryer much less time than I used to in my full-scoop days.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 7:36AM
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Vinegar helps cut the detergent out of the clothes, too. That's a real plus when you have sensitive skin or small children.

Do you want to know if you are using more detergent than you should be? Wash a load again without detergent and check for suds.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 9:45AM
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I haven't switched to vinegar yet, but I have cut my fabric softener sheets in half for years, now I guess I will try the 1/4 and see how that does. I don't use any for towels cause they dry better without the softener. I use the Fels Naptha laundry bar soap and a hand grater and just "scrape" some in my laundry load. No fuss, no bother and nothing heavy to lug home from the store. Now about the vinegar. Last time I made pickles I noticed vinegar was a bit expensive...how much are you paying for it that makes it cheaper to use?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2002 at 7:22PM
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Most grocery stores in the area offer vinegar in a wide variety of sizes. The real cost saving comes when you buy the stuff a gallon at a time. Out in San Francisco, I pay about $3/gallon for generic distilled white vinegar. Everything is more expensive out here, so everyone else can probably get it much cheaper. I remember in Texas I saw it for $.99/gallon. If you're only using 1/8 cup per load (which is a good amount -- any more, and you do get a vinegar smell), a gallon will last you a long time.

I've used vinegar for a while. It works great!

My mother also sometimes does a "vinegar rinse" on her hair to get all the shampoo build-up out. 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water does the trick. No vinegar smell.

And, while we're on the miracles of vinegar, I've also heard that you can get smoke smell out of clothes by filling the tub with very hot water, adding some vinegar (amount I don't remember), and letting clothes hang in the bathroom for a while -- the vapors get the smoke smell out. Also works for curtains, linens, etc.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2002 at 8:38PM
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Local Sam's Club price: $1.58 per 5 quarts of vinegar

    Bookmark   December 18, 2002 at 8:39AM
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I usually pay around $1.25/gal for vinegar.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 10:49PM
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Hi newcomers,

I hope that some of you who didn't see this thread on its first time around may find it helpful.

(Possibly some old-timers may have forgotten.)

Check through some earlier pages at times (especially the last page, before those items fly away into never-never land) to find some really interesting and helpful issues dealt with.

Good wishes for a great summer,

joyful guy

    Bookmark   August 9, 2003 at 1:40AM
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I buy my white vinegar at WalMart for $1.38 a gallon here in AL.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 5:26PM
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Thanks for the reminder Ed. I use vinegar when I want a fabric softener. But for the most part I just don't use it. I have a water softener and it seems to be fine for the most part. I quit using the softener first just because of the smell. I don't like the perfume smell.

Around MN, vinegar runs anywhere from $1-$2/gal depending on the time of year, location and brand. Even at $3/gal it's still much cheaper to use than fabric softener when you figure how little of it you use in comparison.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 11:19PM
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I haven't used fabric softener since the 1970's. Haven't missed it yet! Look at all the money I've saved. Never have static cling that I have noticed either. Just don't dry things totally dry in the drier! Take out damp and hang up, saves $$.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   October 9, 2003 at 7:32PM
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I give my shirts a shot of "fluff" in the dryer to reduce some of the wrinkles, then hang them on hangers on the shower rod.

Sheets over the shower rod, as well.

Undershirts, shorts, socks scattered around over sofa, chairs, beds, etc. Pants, as well.

In the winter.

In summer, I hang them all on a line outside.

My dryer lasts longer than my washer!

Recently visited a friend who has a collapsible wooden clothes horse. It seems to me that one could easily build one using broken hockey sticks.

Enjoy your savings program - if someone wants to roll their eyes at your effort to tread lightly on the earth - let 'em.

You wouldn't think of dropping your candy wrapper, coffee cup, fast food wrapper, etc. on your friend's living room floor while visiting.

The street, the park, etc. is the living room of our city, the place where we all live - let's keep them clean.

Good wishes to all.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 15, 2003 at 6:02AM
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If you're out of fabric softener, you can use a squirt, or two, or hair conditioner in the rinse water. May not be good for "nice" clothes (not sure if it would stain--never tried it) but towels and other things---works fine.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2003 at 5:55PM
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I put about 3 or 4 caps of Downy into a 64 oz spray bottle and fill with water. I use an old washcloth that I might spray with that solution 4 to 10 times, depending on the load size, and throw it in. I tried the way where you squeeze out the extra but it was too messy. The original bottle of fab. softener lasts forever! That old washcloth has been through a lot of loads in the dryer and as I mentioned above...I do use vinegar in the machines final rinse.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2003 at 6:12PM
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HEY! My Asko dryer's Owners Manual says DO NOT USE dryer sheets - - clogs up the pores in the lint screen or something like that!

Next comment: What brands of liquid fabric sofeners have given you the best satifaction in the washing machine?


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 11:43PM
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Downey,April Fresh scent! I havent found anything that is as good and effective as Downey. Gain is good too but it is a bit too perfumey for me.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 8:39AM
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It's important to wash the lint screen periodically no matter what softener product you use.

I use white vinegar in the rinse and NO fabric softener of any kind - liquid OR sheets. I hang my laundry out on an inside or outside clothes line, thus avoiding the cost of the dryer and the need for a softener.

Since using Charlie's Soap, there are NO stiff clothing items - even those hung on the line.

If I do use the dryer, I have added a couple dryer balls which help to reduce wrinkles, reduce drying time by 25-50% and reduce static (although it does not completely eliminate static). Avoiding man-made fabric is a good way to eliminate static in the dryer.

Fabric softeners in the forms of sheets and liquids are a dangerous comfort I choose to eliminate from my laundry, and you may want to reconsider using it - especially if you have children's clothing or a smoker in the house, where accidently lighting clothing or bedding on fire might be a high possibility, or you have someone in the family who has respiratory (breathing) difficulties.

"Fabric softeners used on fluffy materials like your childÂs fleece pajamas or your terrycloth robe and towels can increase flammability."

"Fabric softener perfumes often contain ethyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol (which is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list), limonene, linalool, and a-Terpineol. These chemicals cause respiratory irritation and even failure, headache, nausea, dizziness, anemia, liver and kidney damage, CNS disorders, and respiratory edema  and many of them have the EPA warning to wash hands after handling!"

"Most of the dangerous chemicals in fabric softeners are most dangerous when inhaled  whatÂs the first thing you do when you take your fluffy, sweet-scented clothes out of the dryer?"

If you've ever eliminated these toxins from your laundry, the next time someone passes you with these heavy-scented laundry products on their clothing, you'll gasp from the exposure to the toxins.

I consider use of fabric softeners unnecessary for soft clothes, and it may actually be putting your family at risk.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 4:31PM
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Someone posted a thread in another forum about the amount of detergent to use, they said1/4 cup was enough. Well, I tried it and it doesn't get the smell out of work clothes. I was on to my husband, asked if he had stopped using deodorant. he swore he had not, then I realized his shirts were not getting clean enough. I went back to 3/4ths of a cup and no odor. Poor guy.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 6:51PM
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I use Shaklee's Green Fabric Softner -

The reason I use them is that they are the only dryer sheets are 100% biodegradable. They are veggie based, not like Bounce which never goes away, ever...

You can 1/2 them and they will last and last.

I like them becuase they are:

No fragrance
Biodegradable sheets
Recyclable sheets

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Dryer Sheets

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 6:16PM
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I started cutting my dryer sheets in half last month and notice that the laundry is fine. The bonus is that it doesn't leave as much of that smell that every manufacturer seems to think we need on our clothes. I teach school, and often when I work with children, I can tell which brand of fabric softener is used at home by the way the kids' clothes smell. I may begin cutting the sheets in fourths. I don't use fabric softener on cottons and sheets and towels. They seem to come out of the dryer fine. But anything with synthetics in it needs to have it added. In winter, without softener, you could almost start a fire with the sparking that comes off the clothes when I try to fold them!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 11:53AM
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