Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fabric Softener

Dear Wonderful Readers,

I have been researching fabric softeners.  I don't want to use vinegar or add the little fragrance beads we usually use because both can smell obnoxious.  I found a couple of places on the internet that said to use Epsom salts, essential oil, and baking soda.  I know salt makes water soft, from experience making soap.  One example of this is at:

Another idea came from  Their suggestion is to add Epsom salts into the laundry for softening it.

I found another place that suggests ice cream salt or sea salt and essential oil.  
Christina, the author of the hippy homemaker, mixes this salt mixture into her hand made laundry soap.  She said the salt crystals dissolve in her wash.  Someone wrote into her blog and was wondering if she thought water softening crystals would be OK to use since they are cheaper.  Sea salt would be way too expensive.   I researched prices and It looks like a 40# bag of Morton solar salt from the salt mines in Hutchinson, Kansas, can be purchased for around $10.00  in most hardware and some grocery stores.  I actually spent $12.45 for 2 bags at Ace Hardware in Wichita, Kansas. 

The following link will give you several benefits of Epsom Salts.  Epsom Salts is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.
Formula: MgSO4

From my experience with ice cream salt or rock salt, it is not always white.  The Morton Solar Salt is white, very few specks of any other color are in the bag.  The following will explain the specks:

"I'm finding some little black specks in my solar salt. Will it hurt my softener?
No, solar salt is a natural product made by evaporating seawater. It is harvested much like an agricultural crop and consequently may contain minute inclusions such as earth, small pebbles, and other naturally occurring materials."

Salt is sodium chloride or NaCl  When I used saltwater or brine to make soap, it made the water very soft.  Obviously salt makes water soft.  Does it soften the clothes too?  The package says it provides softer clothes and towels.   

In my picture, the plate on the left is the usual crystals we purchase for our family fabric softener.  Very little is needed per wash.  The clothes retain the smell after the laundry has been washed and dried. 

The plate on the right is my new fabric softener.  I used one cup of solar salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, a tablespoon of fragrance oil, and a teaspoon of blue mica.  Remember they used blueing to make clothes look whiter, so out of colors, blue seemed to be the best color to add.  LOL  Without using quite a bit of fragrance, my clothes will not smell fragrant.  That will not hurt my feelings at all.  I have sinus issues and asthma.  Just for fun, I added a tad bit of mica to color the salt crystals.  I also added a tad amount of oatmeal, milk, and honey fragrance oil.  I used baking soda to help with removing odors.  I have 2 dogs, and a son with stinky feet.  I plan to use 1/2 cup per wash.  I tend to wash large loads of laundry so I usually use 2 tablespoons of  laundry butter per load of laundry.  I could fill up a jar with both the laundry butter and the fabric softener mixed together, so it would be easier for me to measure out into the laundry. It would measure out to be 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup per load, or 5/8 of a cup.

The ingredient label of the fabric softener we use is impossible to find.  When you go into the website, where the label said to go for ingredients (, it asks for your 10 digit numbers.  If the numbers start with_____ or _____ they would be followed with a * or ** then the formula is the old formula.  (The code is hard to read on the bottle since it is black letters on a dark purple background.)  When I clicked on one of the listed codes, nothing happened.  For the new formula, which my bottle is, there is not a link.  I finally gave up finding the ingredients, and I emailed the company for the answer.  We'll see if they respond.  The website does say that "Purex® Crystals is an in-wash fragrance booster, which provides freshness that lasts for weeks."  Do you remember all of the fragrance that comes out of the dryer vent when you dry clothes?  Do we really need all of that fragrance in our clothes??? 

I am sorry that this blog post is so long.  I wanted to provide you with information about salt and Epsom salts.  I also want you to save money and live more green.  I have not, nor do I plan to figure out how many loads of fabric softener could be made from 40 pounds of salt.  Feel free to do so.  LOL  I have tested this formula and I am happy with the results.  I plan to use the new fabric softener and see how it does over time.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Let me know how it works for you.

I mixed the fabric softener and laundry butter.  I added a little extra water to aid with mixing.  I can see someone in the future placing this mixture into small containers and drying it so it would be easier to toss a dried cube into the wash.  The little dab on the plate ans the two front jars is the laundry butter and the fabric softener mixed together. 

  My soap website is about finished.  It is located at:
Take a view around and let me know what you think.  The store is set up and you can make purchases.

My latest hand spun hotpad.  I spun the yarn with very soft wool.  I was not concerned with any lumps and bumps that ended up in the yarn.  After spinning a single yarn, I plied it with red polyester thread.  The last two rows are made with an added soft red wool in the yarn and no thread.  As you see, a tiny spinning wheel is under the loop.  I am trying to add these charms to hand spun items I make.  I don't have patience to make large items.  I do spin fine without lumps and bumps.  I like to save all of the wool that does not comb out well with my flick carder, and use it for the lumpy bumpy yarn.  The only way I can spin a fine yarn is when I comb tufts of wool with the flick carder. 

Future Project

I want to make soap in the above mold.  I bought the items for the last contest at Great Cake Soaps, but I didn't get around to making soap for the contest.   I happened to place the pre-made PVC pipe fittings into this mold which is approx 2-2.25 inches wide.  They fit perfect.  The right fitting in the mold has a funnel placed in it.

 I have decided that mixing the laundry butter and the fabric softener together is not the best solution for me.  Water tends to pool in the mixture as it sets.  A dry soap and fabric softener will work much better when mixed.

I have been using this softener for a while now and it works great.  My clothes are nice and soft.  One item had static in it, but I tend to dry my clothes and then turn the dryer on again because the clothes set too long and wrinkled.  

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