A clothes washing revelation

I have read on zero waste blogs, and FB groups, about not using store bought fabric conditioner (also called softener) and thought I would give it a go.

What is in fabric conditioner anyway?

A fabric conditioner or softener is applied to your laundry during the rinse cycle to make the items feel softer, reduce drying times, reduce creases and give them a fragrance. This works by coating the surface of a fabric with chemical compounds that are electrically charged, causing threads to “stand up” from the surface so the fabric feels softer and makes it fluffier. These chemicals and perfumes can cause skin irritation. They also add to the cocktail of chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis. See my post on cleaning products for more details on this issue.

The recipe

This was so easy that it seemed too easy, it was with slight trepidation I gave it a go.

  • 50/50 white vinegar and water
  • 30 drops of essential oils or to personal preference
  • An old leak proof bottle
  • Funnel if your bottle neck is quite narrow

Simple ingrediants

Cost comparison

  • Lenor  (one of the leading mainstream UK brands) approx. £1.38 per litre with a 3 litre bottle.
  • Bio-D approx. £1.84 per litre, we were buying the 5 litre bottles to save plastic.
  • White vinegar 73p per litre.

The recipe is half vinegar, half water so the actual cost is approx 36p per litre! Assuming you already have some essential oils to use up.

White vinegar can be bought in bulk from Ebay. Although not plastic free, buying in large sizes reduces the amount of plastic used, and this is made of bottle plastic, so can be recycled in most peoples council waste streams. I haven’t come across a bulk shop where you can fill up your own containers as yet, but hopefully one day!

The results

Nothing seems to have suffered so far. The clothes still come out smelling fine. Looking fine and feeling fine. Towels don’t feel any different than they did before. Note; we used natural Bio-D fabric softener and we don’t own a tumble dryer.

The other bonus is the washing machine draw is not getting gunked up. I used to have to pull it out and give it a good clean every few weeks. Haven’t had to do this so far 🙂

Why not give it a try and save?

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