How to Make Homemade Fabric Refresher

Homemade Fabric Refresher IngredientsI do not normally purchase a fabric refresher product like Febreze. It might be the $5 price tag that deters me, but I thought I would try out a homemade fabric refresher recipe to see how it works because with two cats sleeping on any and every couch and chair in our house I knew it wouldn’t hurt to spray them down periodically.

After hunting down an unused spray bottle in our house, I tailored the recipe measurements to fill this bottle. The only ingredients you need are water, vinegar and fabric softener, which are probably all things you already have in your home.

That $5 bottle of Febreze will cost you about 19-cents an ounce, whereas this homemade fabric refresher using a $4.99 bottle of Seventh Generation fabric softener (my preference) and a $1.99 bottle of vinegar will cost you about 3-cents an ounce. If you do the math it will cost you approximately 81-cents to make the same size bottle. Remember, you can always find your fabric softener on sale or use a coupon to help bring that cost down even further.

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Homemade Fabric Refresher

Homemade Fabric Refresher Recipe

(thanks to my dear friend Janna)

1/2 C vinegar

1/2 C water

1/4 C fabric softener

Just mix all of the ingredients together and pour into your spray bottle using a funnel to prevent spilling. Shake the bottle to mix ingredient each time before you start spraying.

If you are re-filling an empty Febreze bottle, you will want to triple the above recipe to make enough to fill it.

Choose a fabric softener scent that you enjoy (or a free and clear softener if you do not prefer scents) and that will be the scent you be left with after the vinegar evaporates. The smell of vinegar will disappear after it evaporates, but you will have already received the benefits of the antibacterial properties of vinegar before this happens.

I thought it worked well to freshen the air and furniture in my home quickly without a heavy scent or a cost I did not want to incur. If someone if a smoker and tries out this recipe, maybe you would be willing to share your thoughts on how it worked in your home compared with the leading fabric refresher in stores.

About Jessica Shallow-Miller

Jessica is a crafty stay-at-home mom of two, who tries to find ways to save money while being green. She is also the author of the blog Save Green Being Green.


  1. Candace Elmore says

    I love the idea, but I’m wondering if the fabric softener would be harmful to your/my cats, or if it’s diluted enough not to be a problem?

  2. says

    My cats are not going to go on the furniture if it feels damp from the mist. So, I am not worried about them touching it. They just find another place to sleep until it dries.

    I also use the Severnth Generation brand which is more environmentally friendly.

  3. Coupon Amy says

    Instead of fabric softener, I actually use various essential oils that I like the smell of. I’ll place a few drops of each essential oil into a small glass (slightly larger than a shot glass) filled with cheap vodka or grain alcohol until I get a scent blend that I like. I then add the essential oil/liquor mix into the spray bottle with the vinegar/water and now I have a customized scent fabric refresher.

    I have 3 cats and a dog and I just make sure to verify that whatever essential oil I’m using is not caustic to human skin (cinnamon, anise, clove are some such oils NOT to use) and not poisonous to animals and we’ve been using this method for over 4 years.

    Also, my husband and I are both smokers (in the house) and my little trick works wonders!!! When I especially want to remove the smoke smell, I tend to use either Tea Tree or Eucalyptus oils in my blend. HTH

  4. cindy says

    I have used Fabreze in the past, but found it contained residual oils that attracted dirt when used as a room freshener on carpeting or furniture. That and the price was a no go.
    I am concerned about the same oily residue left fromeither the fabric softener or the fragrance oil?
    What has been your experience?

  5. says

    I have not noticed it with the fabric softener variety I use. I wonder if Febreze has petroleum based products in it causing the residue you see.

  6. Mandy says

    Today I spent about $8 on fabric softener, vinegar, and two empty bottles to make fabric refresher and wrinkle releaser. This $8 will make about 6 bottles’ worth, saving me $16. Next time, I won’t have to buy the bottles, bringing the price to $4, saving me $20. I always hated spending a fortune on that stuff and I knew there was a better option. Thanks for the tip!

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