Some people firmly believe that fabric conditioner is very bad news. According to the these folks it's full of scary chemicals that don't biodegrade and it's bad for your health. Now, I have no real standpoint on this, I just don't like the way it makes things feel, I like my towels CRUNCHY.
Here's a recipe on how to make your own fabric softener from Wikihow:
- 1 cup vinegar (white)
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup water
- Drops essential oil (good choices include lemon, lavender, mint, geranium)
- Bottle for storage (flip-cap if possible)
- Assemble the items from the Things You'll Need section.
- Mix together the washing soda, white vinegar and water.
- Add a few drops of essential oil. The scent is up to you. Or, you might wish to leave it scent-free.
- Stir together one more time.
- Bottle the fabric conditioner for storage. A bottle with a flip-top lid is good for ease of use but any bottle with a lid is suitable.
- Use the fabric conditioner in the same way that you would use a commercial fabric conditioner.
I'm not sure how well it works or how widely available washing soda is. Also, it I was making it I'd think about using distilled water.
What I do in the interests of softness, and well, cheapness, is cut the amount of detergent I'm using down by between a half and a third , less soap equals less crispy soap residue. As an interesting aside, North American bottle-top doses are set for top loader machines, front loaders use less detergent.
I also throw about a half a cup of vinegar in each wash. The vinegar makes things softer, and if you've got hard water, keeps your washing machine limescale free. It doesn't gum up the fabric softener drawer either, (that totally gives me the 'bleargh').
Also, Vinegar? WAY cheaper than fabric softener.