fabric softener/anti-static products

I don't like the way the commercial products take away all of the absorbent quality of bath towels and dish towels but need the anti-static use. Is there a homemade version that will work without losing the absorbency?
  40 answers
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Oct 31, 2012
    That's a great question. I don't have the answer, but I'm thinking perhaps @Z @Bernice H or @Susan S might have some tips?

  • Susan S Susan S on Oct 31, 2012
    It's funny you asked @Donna M!! Thank you @Miriam I for the 'referral'!! Not too long ago a group of were discussing NOT using fabric softners either in liquid form or softner sheets with your towels. It lessens the absorbancy. I've never had my towels get staticie but they can feel sort of rough after awhile. That's usually from a build up of laundry detergent. Are you drying your towels w/things that are nylon because cotton all by itself, at least as far as towels go, don't usually have a static build up. Anyway - I use white vinegar in the rinse dispenser of my washer when doing towels. It gets rid of the detergent build up and still leaves them soft, plus it helps keep your washer from smelling. I also use white vinegar on my husbands clothes because he says fabric softner makes him itch. No, your towels will NOT smell like vinegar. Hope this helps!!

  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Oct 31, 2012
    Oh, yay! I know my girls :) Thank you so much for your help, @Susan S!

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 01, 2012
    So, Susan S do you have a solution

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 01, 2012
    @Susan S ha! You took the words right out of my mouth! Yep, vinegar in the rinse cycle dispenser.I use it in almost all my loads, to remove detergent buildup, static. @Donna M you also want to make sure you wash with soap and water the lint dryer screen in the vent, every so often. If water drops don't go right through the screen, it has a buildup of fabric softener. WAsh it with soap and water , maybe a soft brush, Maybe once a month if you continue to use fabric softener. Clothes will dry faster if the screen is not coated with softener. Hope this helps.

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 01, 2012
    I guess I'm missing something because I don't see all the posts, just replies. It looks like Susan wrote something about vinegar but I don't see it, just Bernice's comment.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 01, 2012
    @Donna M Susan did write some more...click on the blue arrow for the full post.

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 01, 2012
    Oh my gosh, and I know that too. I guess it is just too early to be thinking right now. Thank you all, vinegar will do it. I use it for everything, why I didn't think of this I don't know.

  • Pat aka Queen of Thrift Pat aka Queen of Thrift on Nov 01, 2012
    how much vinegar would you add to a large load of towels?

  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Nov 01, 2012
    Ive been using white vinegar for over a week and no static .. and no vinegar smells ;-) VERY happy about this!

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 01, 2012
    Ha! @Pat aka Queen of Thrift Pat, you wont like this answer if you are the queen of thrift..but I fill the fabric softener dispenser with it to start..then if I am in the laundry room, i might splash a little more in the rinse cycle... I dont know how much the dispenser holds. Usually tho just the dispenser full.@Donna M Hope this works for you, it does for us.

  • Susan S Susan S on Nov 01, 2012
    @Pat aka Queen of Thrift - Hmmm - good question. This is kind of like using a cooking recipe with no specific measurements!! I just pour some into the tray for fabric softner so I never measured it!! LOL @Donna M - It's ok Sweetie!! We ALL have those DUH MOMENTS!!

  • Susan S Susan S on Nov 01, 2012
    @Bernice H - Now that's a great tip. I hadn't thought of fabric softner coating the lint screen!! I didn't mean to steal your words - does that mean I just have a bigger mouth?? LOL

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 01, 2012
    Who would know that asking a fabric softener question would promote such a discussion and now I have new friends on top of it all. Thank you for all the help. Will let you all know when I try this what I think.

  • Pat aka Queen of Thrift Pat aka Queen of Thrift on Nov 01, 2012
    I don't have a softener dispenser, so when I washed a load of towels today, I added 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse. They came out soft and fresh. I hope they stay fresh in the linen closet longer than they have been. I did not know what the problem was, but after reading all the posts in this conversation I think I had detergent residue buildup.

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 01, 2012
    @Pat aka Queen of Thrift yes...I have used towels that were useless after showering. But boy! they smelled good and were sooo soft! But useless because they had so much buildup! I also run my dryer lint screen under soap and water about every 2-3 months, because I do use dryer sheets for a lot of stuff. And every few months we try to get the lint out of the back of the dryer, and we also run a long brush down the dryer vent hole.to get out the lint collected in there. Where did I read the other day about using the METAL vent hose instead of the plastic, the plastic collects much more lint and lint hangs on to the accordion folds until it can really get plugged or blocked or at least impede the flow of hot air out and slow down drying time too. Kevin @KMS Woodworks might know more about that. Pat you might try just once or twice throwing your towels in a wash without detergent and just vinegar, to wash out residue, it also will help clean out residue in your washer.@Donna M Hey Donna ..you are very welcome..and .....you are my neighbor!!ha! Quite a while ago I had mentioned to @Miriam I that all the posters seemed to be from the East Coast or South, very few from our neck of the woods...now I see Northwesterners popping up all ove the place! I loveit! I dont feel so alone. Good to hear @Designs by BSB And no @Susan S I can be very loud. In fact... off topic, the other day I was sin a car group with a lady who talks nonstop, yada yada yada..so finally I started interjecting and interrupting, Hubs took me aside when we got alone, and said, stop it, you and soso are fighting to get the last word in and it is driving me crazy! hahahahahaa Poor baby! so...no problemo amiga!

  • I have two really absorbent dish cloths that I soaked in dollar store liquid fabric softener, then line dried them. Put them in the dryer with all my clothes - I actually just take them out every three months to re-soak and line dry-and the cloths work to dispel static and leave very little of the scent behind. I have not noticed at all that my towels are the least LESS absorbent than when line dried, but they are softer and I have NO static. One carton of dollar store fabric softener lasts me about one year this way.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 02, 2012
    @Bernice H I did write an article on dryer vents recently http://www.networx.com/article/diy-tips-venting-a-clothes-dryer

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 02, 2012
    SO cool @KMS Woodworks Kevin I will read it later, we took the back off the dryer but there is one little "chute" coming from the vent it self we couldnt get off, I am assuming it is full of lint also. So maybe we didnt do much good. This is an old Kenmore, still puffing away.Hanging in there with a little repair now and then. The washer is a Whirlpool whisper quiet, probably 10 or so years old, but it is not whisper quiet..hah, liar liar pants on fire...but it has been relatively pain free too, considering how long we have had it.

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Nov 02, 2012
    @Bernice H @Susan S @Donna M , In addition to using the vinegar and washing the lint screen, about twice a year I take the bottom off the dryer where the controls are located and vacuum out the lint with the hose....I am always stunned and amazed at how much lint is under there...but it'll keep you from having a lint fire if you keep it vacuumed off and hold down the utility bill too because it'll dry more effeciently

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 02, 2012
    Wow! Some of these posts are all out of sequence! And I just lost one to @KMS Woodworks REPEAT>>>>I did just go back and read your article, very good and informative! Hubs doesnt know a lot of this stuff and I have to walk a fine line and not crow too much when I am right, which is most always of course! :) His dad didn't teach him hardly anything so he feels incompetent most of the time. His gift is in teaching and public speaking, not tools and mechanics.Anyway I like that site, do you run it or contribute? There are a lot of articles I would like to read, and will, but I spend so much time HERE! @ I trust you are teaching your kidlet to use tools, even at this early age, right? How fun. I would love to learn how to use power tools and build stuff, I love hardware stores , I would be thrilled to know how all that stuff goes together! I do have a power stapler, but I am not strong enough to use it. anywaayyy..tata for now..

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 02, 2012
    HA! I just read the one about the squatty potty!

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Nov 02, 2012
    @KMS Woodworks Hubby used the straight duct pipe when we got the new dryer and I go out side to vacuum out the "louved outflow pipe" but the down side is that it makes it extremely difficult to move the dryer even a little to try and get back there an vacuum out any lint or take the vent off and clean it out...I DO wish they would make the Washer dryer area in homes larger...YES you only need 6 " inbetween the wall and the dryer...but how many of us can fit into a 6" space to hook up the wall vent? LOL neither hubby nor I are contortionists... Lol Lol... so if you have a chance to pass that along to home builders and planners...please DO cause we all but killed ourselves trying to get that dryer vent run...

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 02, 2012
    @Sharron W BOY do I know what you are talking about, even my arm is bigger than 6 inches! (snort) And hubs built a platform for the dryer out of plywood, no fancy shmancy pedestal for ME ha! And It is hard to move the dryer now because the freezer is directly across from the dryer! I have a love /hate relationship with this dblmobile hme, can you tell from many of my posts? Sharron you have to read the one about the squatty potty! ha! cute! Butt good info! (snicker here)

  • Becky P Becky P on Nov 02, 2012
    boy, you guys sure would hate to use my bath towels after they have been hanging on the clothesline all day! I call them my loofah towels. (only in summer.....never use softener on towels otherwise.)

  • 3po3 3po3 on Nov 02, 2012
    Bernice, my son has a set of toy tools he is getting handy with. He sort of gets the screwdriver, I think. I'm terrible about tool safety, so I'm leaving the real tool training to his mom or something.

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 02, 2012
    oohhhh @ sounds like my hubs! You shouid see his rickety broken ladder. I am thinking of a ?fiberglass? ladder....for Anniversary. I know it wont ring his bell but this one has got to go! Tool safery? hmmm doesnt work here. I usually dont hang around when he is doign something , but I LISTEN for shouts of pain or help. Does Mom use tools and builds and fix stuff too?

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Nov 02, 2012
    @ Oh now that's funny! I'm fixing my grandson a tool bench for Christmas...I seriously thought about getting him "real" but tiny tools...Until I thought about an unsupervised 3 yr old with Metal tools... now I'm thinking fat plastic tools....

  • 3po3 3po3 on Nov 02, 2012
    @Bernice, yes, his mom and I both volunteered for about 10 months rebuilding homes in New Orleans, so it was a great crash course in all kinds of home improvement. I was literally the cautionary tale (I caught my finger in a router, which was I think the most serious injury that happened to anyone on this volunteer organization's worksites), and my wife gave safety seminars.

  • Lin R Lin R on Nov 03, 2012
    I use a cup of vinegar in my rinse cycle for my towels and they turn out great. I have been doing this for several years. The vinegar gets all the soap residue out and the towels are then soft.

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 06, 2012
    After cleaning my lint trap, I have now used only vinegar on the fabric softener cycle and not dryer sheets I find that my clothes and towels are softer, definitely more absorbent and less wrinkles. It works great, thank you all for your suggestions. This is a great venue for resolving all of those little things that we all dislike and don't know how to fix.

  • Susan S Susan S on Nov 06, 2012
    Glad we could help you @Donna M!! Happy laundering!! ;~)

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 07, 2012
    yep I love Hometalk! @Donna M did you wash the lint screen? Did you see how water bounces off the screen because of fabric softener? I am always amazed. If I have to use fab soft sheets, i only use 1/2. But still the screen builds up over time even if it is a longer time. My dryer is old, so I dont want to rush its end by making it work Too hard due to the lint screen and fab softener.

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 07, 2012
    I did wash the lint screen, but I do that anyway but probably not as often as I should. My biggest surprise with the vinegar is that wrinkles on some clothes are gone and the softness of all the laundry.

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 12, 2012
    @Donna M Another thing I noticed is i use whatever is on sale, i usually get non fragrance detergent, well by mistake I got a fragrance det..and I hate it, so I am sure to add vinegar to the rinse dispenser to take the "fragrance" away. There is a senior I take to do stuff, and she uses a det that has such a strong fragrance, you can smell her coming and going! ha!

  • Donna M Donna M on Nov 12, 2012
    Thanks Bernice. Actually I make my own detergent for pennies and love it. I don't do well with any fragrance so always avoid those products.

  • Becky P Becky P on Nov 12, 2012
    I love Tide with Febreeze! I want my clothes to smell good, just hate spending the $$ to get the detergent that does it.

  • Lin R Lin R on Nov 14, 2012
    My husband and I don't like the perfumed detergents and fabric softeners. He is very sensitive to smells. So we use unsented Cheer and also a homemade detergent I get from my local Farmer's Market. The vinegar also works great since it does not leave a smell. I think all the chemicals they put in those products now are really not good for us....but then again what is......everything seems to have artificial everything in it!

  • Brenda Martin Brenda Martin on Feb 21, 2015
    @Donna M what I do to make my things anti-static is wrap a hard object (like the measure cup off of the detergent, since they can be used in high heat) with aluminum foil. It bounces in the dryer and de-statics at the same time. The clothes are soft and static free but it is noisy. Saw that someone used foil balls on another site but found that they go flat and don't bounce in the clothes which helps soften them. Just wrap the cup good with some foil down in the hole so it won't come off, it will crush around the cup when used, but still work for a lot of loads.

  • Tish Tish on Sep 09, 2015
    Just saw on TV that you can take a piece of Aluminum Foil and ball it up, put it in your dryer and it takes the static out, with no chemicals.