Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Years Worth of Soft, Fresh Laundry for about 10 Bucks!

Want to know the secret about why I won't need to buy fabric softener until my toddlers start middle school (or thereabouts!)? I read, some years ago, in a magazine or online or on a blog or somewhere about how to save money on laundry. There were a lot of suggestions on how to save a few pennies here and there. Not really being the type to make my own detergent (though, I might try it at some point) I thought about what my next biggest laundry cost is- my fabric softener habit.

Now, yes, I read that throwing a cup of vinegar in the wash would soften without the need for an extra product in the dryer. Or, that line drying was the freshest scent in the world. But, truly, I just want some Snuggle softness and freshness. I just can't make do without that darn little bear.

Floating around in my head since I read that story a few years ago was the idea of using liquid softener to make my own dryer sheets. It seemed easy enough but, as I have often found, I was afraid that it was deceptively easy in the story....and maybe not so much when I actually tried it.

Me being me, I just decided to go all in and I bought a huge warehouse sized jug of liquid softener. I really had no idea what I would do with it all if this experiment didn't work. I assume that I could have waited until I learned to CVS shop well enough to get some free softener but, I'm not really the patient type once I set my mind to something.

For the sheet part of the equation, I used an old receiving blanket from the boys' baby days. I cut it into squares about the size of a regular fabric softener sheet. Then, I used a food storage container (which will never be used for food again!) and put some of the liquid softener in. I stuffed the fabric squares inside, put the lid on, and shook it up to cover all the fabric. I let it sit in the softener about an hour.

Then, I took them out, squeezed the excess off them (into the container for future use) and hung them using a pants clamp-type hanger until they dried. I was amazed how little softener was gone from the container. These sheets can be used for 7-10 loads before they need to be refreshed with softener so, I figured there would be more softener used up by the process of making essentially a month's worth of dryer sheets.

It was then that I realized that I had a huge mountain of softener left over for future loads if this actually worked!

So, I washed my first load, put it in the dryer, and threw one dry sheet of liquid softener soaked baby blanket (doesn't THAT sound promising??). Anyway, when I took out the laundry, it was static free, soft and smelled so fresh that I couldn't stop sniffing it while I was folding.

The softener sheet came out and still had plenty of softener left on it so, I hung it back up for the next load. I have been using them for two weeks and each load is just as soft and fresh as the first. And, I still have 2 sheets that I made that I haven't even touched. The used up ones are back in the softener container ready to be dried again and reused.

I am super excited about this because I spent just under $10 for the softener and it looks like it is going to last, literally, YEARS. I won't have to buy softener until my boys are old enough to throw in their clothes themselves!

This was definitely an experiment worth doing. Even Husband remarks on how great the laundry feels and smells and that this money saving method isn't even hard or inconvenient to use.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


  1. I nominate you for a national Mommy Blog! I love all your money saving ideas and your writing skills deserve an A++!!

  2. Thanks, Debi!

    Do you have any money saving tips you love or anything you would like to save money on that you would like me to cover? Or even something you are putting of trying that I could test run?

    I am always looking for new ideas! :)

    1. Stephanie...I sent you a few consumer articles I wrote. Check your private messages on Facebook.