Do-It-Yourself: Homemade Febreze

Fake-It Frugal shows you how to make your own Febreze.

Should I confess that I’ve never even used Febreze before? I just skip buying/using fabric softener*–and no one knows any differently (well, I guess that’s because they’ve never known any differently!)

*Update: Thanks to all your comments setting the record straight! I’m cracking up that I thought Febreze was fabric softener, not fabric refresher. Yes, apparently I know absolutely nothing about it! :)

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  1. Morgan says

    OH MY…with having a toddler and infant, 3 men and 2 dogs in my house I am so going to try this and cross my fingers that it works. It would save me so much money! I go through 2 bottles of this stuff a month with how much I have to use. I will let you know of my results!!

    • says

      I don’t use dryer sheets and I eliminate static by using vinegar in a Downy ball in the rinse cycle. This not only helps with static but it also disinfects and makes towels more absorbent. I also pin two safety pins to a wash rag and throw that in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet and it eliminates static also. I’m not sure of the science behind it, but it’s worked for us and I don’t spend money on dryer sheets anymore. Hope that helps you also.

      • Ashley says

        do you have to place it in the rinse cycle? Is there any other way? My husband and I are always throwing in a load of laundry before we go to work or school, so we’re never home to add anything to the load. Dryer sheets are our best friend!

        • says

          You can pour the white vinegar in the spot for fabric softener in your washing machine – that’s what I’ve done for a while now.

          • Ellen says

            How much vinegar do you use? I’ve read anywhere from a half to a full cup per load of laundry, but that sounds like a bit much.

            I stopped using fabric softener during my first trimester because I just couldn’t stand the smell, and I haven’t missed it. I like the idea of substituting vinegar though.

        • says

          I put mine in a Downy ball and throw it in at the beginning of the cycle; it automatically releases in the rinse cycle – otherwise, I’d never remember to add it either. I never thought to put it in the fabric softener dispenser in the machine, but I’m sure that would work as well.

        • Susan says

          Ashley, a downy ball goes in when you throw the load in the washer. The spinning of the washer causes it to open up in the rinse cycle, so no problem.

      • Dawn says

        I also use vinegar to replace fabric softener. However, I have not found it effective in reducing static on my clothes, especially when I’m drying cotton and synthetic fabrics together. I currently cut dryer sheets into fourths (or halves for a large load) to get rid of static. I’ve made a large box of dryer sheets last me almost a year now. I also love my homemade laundry soap and vinegar ‘fake fabric softener’.

      • Susan says

        Alice, do you live in a dry climate? How big are the safety pins? In the winter, static build up here is just awful. Would love to not have to purchase dryer sheets.

      • Melissa A. says

        I have also used the tennis ball in the dryer, but I purchased those dryer balls that are blue, the generic ones at Walmart for like $5 for two and those work great for fluffiness AND static control. I still have fabric sheets leftover, that I use every once in a while so as not to waste them. I usually throw those in with sheets and blankets. We dry most laundry on the line in the summer and I DO NOT LIKE CRINKLY, HARD TOWELS. lol So I can air dry the towels a bit with those balls to fluff them and not spend a ton more on electricity.

  2. Rachel says

    I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets due to our son’s sensitive skin (his dermatologist advised against using either one). I do notice some static when clothes come out of the dryer, but if you take your clothes out of the dryer right away they don’t wrinkle and it does save money! Now, I notice the heavy feeling and perfumed smell on clothes that have been washed or dried with these products. It’s really an artificial clean smell anyway!

  3. Rocky says

    Did you know that fabric softener is actually just a way to put a layer of wax on your clothes? That’s how it ‘takes away’ the static. You not only spend more on having the product around, but it can create build up on your clothes (in the long run making them not soft any more) in your washer (if you use the liquid kind) and your dryer. In the latter it can cause early termination of your machine and fire. Scary stuff.

    BUT I’ve found that dryer sheets make great wasp deterrents! Have one on ya while hiking or camping and you’ll have a lot less of them coming at ya!

    • Jenni says

      They also ward off fleas. I worked overseas for several years and had some team mates who had to live in a local home in the village. For whatever reason, the fleas loved them and didn’t bother their host family at all. They had the luxury of having to sleep on the carpet, so every night they would lay out a circle of dryer sheets and put bracelets of flea-repellant dog collars on their wrists and ankles – the family (Muslim, non-English speaking) thought it was some sort of religious ceremony :).

      • Krysten says

        Jenni, that is too funny! Made me lol so hard that my hubby had to know what I was laughing at! I’ll remember that, though!

  4. tracey says

    i’ll have to try this one! but i wonder if it will take the smell away like febreeze usually does or just cover it up?

    i never thought fabric softener was a big deal either, until we moved to denver where it is dry, dry, DRY. now fabric softener is the only thing keeping us all from walking around with our hair standing on end from the static electricity!

  5. lyss says

    Never used febreze either…or fabric softener or dryer sheets. Can’t stand the smells, and they’re totally not a necessary expense. As far as static, in my experience only synthetic fabrics get static, so I hang most of those to dry.
    I have been experimenting with mixing essential oils and water in a spray bottle for air freshener, though. :)

  6. says

    I don’t use fabreeze very often at all, but I like the idea of making my own if I needed it!

    As for dryer sheets…I haven’t had to use them since I started making my own laundry detergent!

      • says

        Oh, sure!

        3lbs Borax (washing agent, all natural)
        3 lbs Baking Soda Washing Agent
        1 lb Regular Basking Soda
        Mix ingredients thoroughly.

        For extremely soiled clothes I also add a little vinegar to the wash to help cleanse as well.

        Some people grate actual soap bars into this mix, however the entire purpose of making my own detergent was the fact that most soaps break me out.

  7. Elizabeth says

    I don’t think I could live without Febreze! With 2 kids, 2 indoor pets and my gassy husband and all his gassy friends I’ve made a ‘fart’ jar so THEY have to pay for my Febreze. I do my couches about once a month and spray down matresses about as often. I also keep a bottle of their air freshener in the bathroom and use fabric softener and dryersheets with febreze during a good part of the year since there are very few months in KY you can actually have your door open to air out the house without either baking or freezing yourself. – I’m definately going to have to look into making my own though and see if it’s worth the time vs the money.

    • Wendy says

      Me either Elizabeth. When my sons come home from soccer practice, Fabreeze is the only thing that makes the shinguards bearable. I would hate to ride in the car with them if their shinguards were not sprayed down with Fabreeze after every practice and game. It’s the only thing I’ve found that works.

    • Dame says

      You can also think about using another homemade mixture that might help you out a little more then this one. Its usually sold as a pet solution recipe on ebay, but its great because it works on organic (not the produce kind) materials like you are talking about.

      2tsp baking soda
      2 cups peroxide
      small amount of dish soap like dawn (I use only a drop or two, you don’t want much on furniture or beds)

      Mix and spray! I use this because the baking soda does what it does best while the peroxide eats up the organic matter and since it doesn’t have anything like fabric softener in it I don’t have to worry about build up or fragrances. I think it works better then febreeze any day.

      • Wendy says

        It sounds good but would the peroxide bleach the fabric? That’s the only thing I’d worry about. I’ve tried everything for those stinky shin guards—-washing/scrubbing, baking soda, setting in the sun etc…. Nothing worked except Febreze.

        • Dame says

          I use it on my rugs every time I shampoo them and I spray the furniture and my curtains every week or so. I have a navy couch, brown carpet and light blue curtains in my bedroom. I’ve never seen any lightening of the fabric yet. (I don’t saturate the fabric, just a light misting.)

  8. says

    I would never buy fabric softener, and I don’t like the heavy scent of Febreze either but it can sort of rescue a car seat that has been barfed on and it helps somewhat with pet accident smells. For serious pet smells though, it’s gotta be Nature’s Miracle.

    • Amy says

      That’s what I was just thinking! I don’t buy Febreeze, but it was a lifesaver on a car trip when my son threw up. I’d take that scent over vomit any day!

  9. Jmom4 says

    I do this, except adding the baking soda (but I will try that!), and I LOVE it. But I am not really “green” either. It works great and leaves the house smelling great. I love that that you can make it stronger or weaker using more or less softener.

  10. Chrissy says

    Everyone is talking about static cling. I thought I was using my fabric softner to make my towels and clothes soft? I seriously thought u had to use fabric softner! This will save me a ton of $$. Does anyone have an alternative?

    • Rocky says

      I totally understand! I used to be the same way until I took a textiles class in college, and found out I was just paying for wax build up. The funny thing is that you mentioned towels, softener actually makes them less absorbant! You might find your next post shower towel off taking a lot less time :)

      As for an alternative…not really. Only synthetics need it (for static reasons). The best way to keep fabrics soft is to not put them on too high a heat either washing or drying. It can melt your nice soft fine fibers into thicker not so soft fibers. I know that the dryer on any heat setting will start to melt your fleece, so I always hang dry them.

      Your natural fibers; cotton, linen, wool (oh that’s not really soft is it?), and silk don’t make a lot of static. I’ve found that the culprit of static is how dry the garment is and the air around it. If there is low moisture it gets worse. Several times I’ve been found in the restroom at church splashing water on my favorite (polyester) skirt to get the static down. It sounds silly but works on the short term :)

    • Rocky says

      I just reread a reply up top by Alice @farewell office that had some good tips I forgot about! Go check them out, there are some alternatives! *happy dance*

    • Dawn says

      Fabric softener reduces static cling and makes your clothes smell nice. However, vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser works just as well as commercial fabric softener for softening clothes. I’ve been using vinegar in my washing machine for the last year and will never go back to the “other” way. I also make my own laundry detergent, which takes about 10 minutes and costs about $7 for all the ingredients and lasts for an entire year! I was spending literally hundreds of dollars a year to wash my clothes when I was buying the big jugs of detergent and fabric softener. Never Again!

      Here’s where I got my recipe:

  11. Joy says

    They make unscented dryer sheets nowadays. I use Target’s Up & Up unscented dryer sheets and rip them in half. Bounce also has unscented ones. At one time Snuggle had unscented ones, too but I can’t seem to find them any more.

    When we went camping, I hung a Bounce scented original dryer sheet near tent door and in all corners to keep bugs out. Also rubbed it on my hair to keep mosquitos away.

  12. Michelle says

    You should never use fabric softener on your towels. It makes them less absorbent and you’ll end up just pushing water around instead of soaking it up.

    Can’t wait to try the homemade Febreez! Thanks!!!

  13. says

    Isn’t the active ingredient in Febreze alcohol? I could be way off, but I’ve known enough people who swear by spraying diluted vodka on unwashable costumes. I’m not sure if what denatures rubbing alcohol would harm fabric, or if someone who likes cheap booze just happened to be involved in amateur theatre.

  14. samantha says

    Has anyone looked into if this is safe to spray into the air? I love the idea but what about the chemicals and breathing them in?

  15. Mar says

    You might very well get to know Febreeze when your children are older and wearing leather deck shoes, such as Sperry, without socks. It does a GREAT job on that odor!

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