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DIY Anti-Microbial Fabric Softener: Easy, Green and Cheap!

February 28, 2014 49 Comments

DIY Anti-Microbial Fabric Softener:  Easy, Green and Cheap!

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I've made the switch to a simpler, greener laundry routine because it's just so darn rewarding and versatile!  One of my favorite finds for DIY Laundry products is Epsom Salts.  One bag of Magnesium Sulfate, a naturally occurring salt gives you eight cups of environmentally safe fabric softener for up to 16 to 24 loads of soft, bacterial, viral and fungal free clothes, towels and sheets.  

I'll show you how!

How many times have you needed to get the ICK (microbes) out your laundry? Somebody in the family has been sick, the bedding needs to be stripped and sanitized.  Or, the kids constantly bringing home bacteria or virus from school and daycare on their clothes or, one of the dogs had an accident on the bathroom rug. Catch my drift? The real power in Anti-Microbial Fabric Softener is in the infusion of pure essential oils, these oils will do a better job killing virus, bacteria, and fungi than any bottle of toxic bleach in the hottest of water. This simple, cheap and green DIY fabric softener can sanitize your laundry even in frigid temps, a bonus when the water heater dies!

You may recognize this Triple Threat.  I use Lemon, Lavender, and Melaleuca together in Camp Wander All Purpose Healing Salve, for its powerful anti-microbial properties! Lavender is recognized as an antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, natural antihistamine, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory Lemon is an antiseptic, disinfectant, detoxifying, calming, antifungal, anti-viral Melaleuca shows powerful antimicrobial activity against all three of the infectious organisms: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When diffused, it helps to prevent the spread of infection. Melaleuca is an ally in combating many illnesses and ailments. Be sure to add this recipe to your DIY Laundry Arsenal and feel free to lighten up on the oils when wellness reigns.  Lavender alone or, Lavender and Lemon essential oils together is a favorite fabric softener combination of ours!  

DIY Anti-Microbial Fabric Softener: Easy and Cheap!
Recipe Type: Antimicrobial Laundry Sanitizer and Softener
Author: Camp Wander
Prep time:
Total time:
Add to the wash cycle for microbial free laundry, especially useful to reduce illness in the household.
Ingredients
  • 1 - 64 ounce bag of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)
  • 40 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops Melaleuca essential oil
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil
Instructions
  1. Pour Epsom Salts into a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Add the essentials oils and stir well to combine. Store in a glass jar. Use 1/2 cup for medium to large loads in the wash cycle at any temperature. 1/4 cup for small loads.



49 Responses

Amanda
Amanda

May 10, 2017

This may sound like a silly question, but is this used at the detergent? Sounds wonderful!

Loretta
Loretta

May 10, 2017

How much should I use for a front loading machine that is a HE washer?

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Yes, very safe for baby clothes and sensitive skin…100% chemical free. No, this won’t replace detergent however, I often add a tablespoon or two of Dr. Bronners unscented castille soap and make it an all in one detergent and softener. That combination would also be safe for baby :)

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Thanks Amanda! This works to soften and sanitize, it’s in addition to detergent.

Jessica Mitchell
Jessica Mitchell

May 10, 2017

I have 2 questions: (1) is this safe to use on infant clothes? My son has very sensitive skin. (2) does this replace laundry soap or do I use this in addition to laundry soap?

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

All you would need to do is add a little water, let the salt dissolve then pour.

Joyce
Joyce

May 10, 2017

Just wondering if this helps with static cling. I just tried another homemade fabric softener and it doesn’t help with static cling.

Thanks!

Tracy
Tracy

May 10, 2017

Wow! This sounds great for summer time too when the humidity is high & towels get a little mildewed.

heather
heather

May 10, 2017

I have the same question as Loretta. How much for a front load HE machine and also where do I put it?

Jennifer Hykes
Jennifer Hykes

May 10, 2017

Can this be used in a front loader and if so how do I put it in. My machine has the little pull out drawer compartment at the top that you generally pour the liquid softener into. I’m not sure about this being epson salt if it would be o.k. To put into this little compartment.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

It should be the same amount for an HE machine – 1/2 cup for a medium to large load and 1/4 cup for a small load. You can put it in your fabric softener dispenser. Just add a little water, let the salt dissolve, and then pour into your dispenser.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Loretta, it depends on the size of the load. Use 1/2 cup for medium to large loads and 1/4 cup for small loads.

Speck
Speck

May 10, 2017

I have two questions. First do you add this to the fabric dispenser located in my machine or directly on the clothes? Secondly, will I need to worry about the oil getting on my clothes and ruining them?

Stephanie
Stephanie

May 10, 2017

Joyce, try this for static cling.

http://themamasgirls.com/reusable-dryer-sheets-with-fabric-softener-diy/

Use the above recipe but just add enough water for the Epsom salts to dissolve (as stated by Rebecca in above posts.)

Hope it helps!

Jen
Jen

May 10, 2017

Yes, and a mineral is a kind of chemical. :) From Merriam-Webster—Mineral: a chemical substance (such as iron or zinc) that occurs naturally in certain foods…

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Magnesium sulfate is a mineral.

http://www.drugs.com/cdi/magnesium-sulfate.html

Jen
Jen

May 10, 2017

100% chemical free? Do you mean harmful chemicals? All things are made up of chemicals and you even gave the chemical name, magnesium sulfate, for the Epsom salts!

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

You can put it in your fabric softener dispenser. Just add a little water, let the salt dissolve, and then pour into your dispenser. And no, the oils shouldn’t ruin your clothes!

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Here’s two studies you might find enlightening…

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/6/39
http://www.journalissues.org/articles/1389771157.pdf

Chris
Chris

May 10, 2017

I can’t find any scientific proof that these oils kill any germs. Can you please provide sources for your statements? The Red Cross includes chlorine bleach in their clean up kits for flood victims, so I know that does disinfect. I’m hoping that these oils are proven as effective. As of now I would not depend on them.

Jennifer K.
Jennifer K.

May 10, 2017

Would you explain why you use Epsom Salts? I currently use vinegar as a fabric softener and odor remover and was wondering if Epsom salts would be better. Thanks!!

Sue
Sue

May 10, 2017

Are you just here to argue. Don’t use it if you’re skeptical.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Yes, they kill the “yuck” but there isn’t much of a scent left behind. Add three drops of essential oil to a wash cloth and toss into the dryer with with your wet clothes, then you’ll have your fragrance :)

Aimee
Aimee

May 10, 2017

Do you clothes come out with a scent when you use this or are the oils just to kill all the yucks?

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

A pure essential oil is simple plant essence that would break down as green matter naturally. I can’t imagine that pure EOs could be harmful to septic systems but it something you may want to research further.

Joy
Joy

May 10, 2017

What do you know about the effects on your septic system? We always try to avoid anti-bacterial products due to the damage to septic system. Also – what about the effects of essential oil on a septic system? I have been using the DIY laundry detergent for about a year now w/o essential oils (at the time I just didn’t have them and didn’t want to spend the extra $$) I now have started to buy a few essential oils and will be adding to them. I am just curious about long term effects..

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

White vinegar is a great option too Jennifer! I don’t think one is better than the other, both green and it’s all good.

Carol
Carol

May 10, 2017

My daughter is allergic to lavender. Is there another oil that can be used as a substitute. Also, my son-in-law has problems with citrus.

Laetitia Russ
Laetitia Russ

May 10, 2017

Hello,
I love this site!! You said you put 1 or 2 tbsp of dr. bronner soap in with fabric softener for a 2 in 1. so you add that to your recipe or the soap to each laundry load? thank you

Sara
Sara

May 10, 2017

Quick question: I have an allergy to Citrus fruit, is there an alternative EO I can use in place of the Lemon? If i increase the Lavender and Melaleuca oils, will that work?

Kate
Kate

May 10, 2017

I can’t wait to try this. I have a front loader HE machine and will probably just throw the mix into the washer with the clothes. Having to dissolve it in water before adding it to the little softener compartment on top sounds like an extra step that will just make things take longer and I’m not a big fan of doing our never ending laundry piles as it is. ; )

Nicky
Nicky

May 10, 2017

Actually sulfates are harmful many people are sensitive to them or allergic to them like me there the base to most chemical commercial soaps, shampoos, body products, detergents, cleaners & worst toothpaste. I would use 100% pure salt (canning salt) or sea salt.

Linda
Linda

May 10, 2017

Agree!
Don’t use it if you feel it is not for you for heaven’s sake!

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

I suppose you could although I’ve never tried it! Makes sense though :)

Veronica
Veronica

May 10, 2017

I came upon your recipe when doing a search on Pinterest and love the idea. I’m new to the whole DIY/homemade products and am seeking to go back to the old ways of doing things. My question is, I have homemade detergent, is this something I can mix into my detergent batch or should I keep it separate? I have limited space and would like to condense as much congainer clutter as I can.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Rosemary and Spearmint might be a better option and, they smell so good together!

Sandra
Sandra

May 10, 2017

Is there a specific reason for using stainless steel or glass for storage? Could plastic storage be used?

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Thats a good question and I don’t know the answer! I don’t have an HE machine, my ancient washer just won’t die. Maybe a nice person will come along with a more helpful response :)

Geri
Geri

May 10, 2017

For an HE washer, how much would you use of the laundry soap/ fabric softener? Your 2 in 1 recipe? They use so much less water I am afraid of using too much! Thanks!

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Tea Tree and Melaleuca are the same :)

jackie
jackie

May 10, 2017

Hi, looks like a great recipe. Do you think you could substitute tea tree oil for the Melaleuca and have the same effectiveness? Thanks so much!

Megan
Megan

May 10, 2017

Do you have a recommended EO brand? I’m new to using them and there are so many brands not sure if I’m getting a good quality

Sue
Sue

May 10, 2017

I use only about a 1/4. To 1/2 cup of soap in my HE washer. Either home made or store bought.. Depending on how dirty the clothes are. I never had any problems. So I’m sure adding 2 tablespoons of the castile would not be to much.

Shari
Shari

May 10, 2017

Even your comments and replies are very educational. Thanks for all the helpful information.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Pure essential oils can leach petrochemicals from plastic that’s why I suggest glass and stainless steel whenever possible. There are special plastics bottles and jars (PET) considered safe for cosmetics with essential oils however.

Cynthia Spence
Cynthia Spence

May 10, 2017

I’ve been using Epsom Salts for 3-4 years and have never had a problem. I have a front loader HE washer & I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup. I save a step and add it to the wash cycle by putting it in the drum before loading my clothes. Works great for me!

I don’t mix the salts with water either, just add them dry.

Hope this helps.

Veronica
Veronica

May 10, 2017

Hi I use (1) teaspoon per loan in my front loader. Works amazing. Dr teal, Epsom salt lavender

Veronica
Veronica

May 10, 2017

Yes I buy Epsom salt, Dr teas lavender and mix with diy, laundry soap powder. Omg the smells amazing and the clean is to even in my he washer

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 10, 2017

Yes, I’d be happy to share my favorite brand of essential oils, they’re in the CW Shop :)

www.campwander.com/shop

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