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Save money with homemade fabric softener

By on December 29, 2008

dryer sheets
photo by Meryl CA
DEAR SARA: I’ve heard about making homemade fabric softener. Do you have a recipe? I’d like to save money. Fabric softener is expensive. — Heidi, Ohio

DEAR HEIDI: Many people simply add 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar to their rinse cycle. Some people cut their dryer sheets in half. One unique tip is diluting liquid fabric softener with water and pouring it into an old Tupperware pickle keeper. You can cut kitchen dish sponges in half and stack them insider the pickle keeper. Remove a section of sponge when you’re ready to dry a load of laundry, and toss it into your dryer. A similar concept is mixing equal parts of liquid fabric softener and water in a spray bottle. Spray a small, square piece of cotton fabric or a washcloth, and toss that into the dryer. Here are a couple of homemade fabric-softener recipes, too.

2 cups white vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups water

Set mixing bowl in sink, and combine ingredients slowly. Using a whisk, mix together. It will fizz. Pour in an old fabric-softener bottle. Use 1/4 cup per laundry load. — F.W., Kentucky

6 cups water
3 cups vinegar
2 cups (16 ounces) cheap conditioner (whatever scent you like)

Mix and store in a one-gallon container. You can keep refilling your store-bought container. It may separate. Shake each time you use it. — Candy, Ohio

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My bank made a mistake in my favor. Will they catch this? I withdrew $325 in cash. I filled out the withdrawal slip. I just checked my bank account online. The withdrawal was never withdrawn from my account. They haven’t caught this mistake yet. It has been almost two full weeks. Will they ever? — D.S., e-mail

DEAR D.S.: The bank will most likely catch it. It could take a few days, months or years. It’s possible a teller transposed a number and the funds came out of someone else’s account. Or the withdrawal slip was misplaced or lost. Call your bank, and straighten out the error. There are consequences for an employee if her drawer is off — not to mention what happens if someone else’s account was debited and it caused him problems. Call the bank. Document your conversation. Hopefully, you don’t consider it your money even if it’s not resolved immediately. Don’t spend it. These matters have a way of coming back to haunt you.

DEAR SARA: Is it OK to reuse vegetable oil? — Danielle, Ohio

DEAR DANIELLE: I assume you mean after frying with it. I’ve reused it. You’ll want to strain out any food particles. You can do this by letting the oil cool and then straining it. Filter it by pouring the oil over cheesecloth. You can store it in a container such as a glass jar and place it in your refrigerator. I don’t suggest storing it long term. Plan on using it within a few weeks. I wouldn’t reuse it more than once. I won’t reuse oil that I’ve used to fry meat, fish or poultry. But if I quickly fry some homemade fries and know I’ll be making them again in the next few weeks, I’ll strain and save the oil for one more use. I’m sure others are less conservative. I don’t fry foods very often. Most everything can be baked with good results. You can tell the oil is rancid by the smell and whether it smokes soon after heated. Be sure that your oil isn’t dark in color.


  1. whitney

    1/7/2009 at 11:48 am

    is their a homemade recipe for dish soap. I know its not that expensive at one time but over time that is alot of money and plastic being wasted do you have any recipes for this?

    whitney, indiana

  2. Sara Noel

    1/7/2009 at 12:12 pm

    2 cups of castile soap
    A few drops of essential oil
    1/2 cup of water

    Save a store bought dish liquid bottle. Combine liquid castile soap with warm water. Add a few drops of essential oils for scent. Mix ingredients and pour into a bottle. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s castile liquid soap already scented). Or use vinegar and baking soda.

  3. Kathy

    7/22/2009 at 1:35 pm

    Hello Sara,

    Your answer to D.S. was incomplete. The error will be found, no doubt about that. If it was debited from a wrong account, and that person complains, the bank will find it. If not, the bank examiners will find it when they come, and they do at least once a year. They find everything. D.S. should not consider that money available. The most expedient way to resolve it would be to go to the bank and get it straightened out. Be sure the bank leaves a paper trail to show the correction, or the bank examiners will debit his/her account again. I’ve had this sort of thing happen.

    Kathy, WA

  4. Pingback: How To Make Your Own All Natural Fabric Softener + The Best Ways To Remove Static Cling - The Fun Times Guide to Household Tips

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