Save Money with DIY Dryer Sheets

by Jessica · 27 comments

in Frugal Living

DIY Reusable Dryer SheetsMaking your own reusable dryer sheets is so quick, easy, and cost-saving that I am not sure why I didn’t start doing this before.

What I like best about this project is I can turn my favorite liquid fabric softener into a dryer sheet and can stretch that bottle from 40 loads to 400 loads. And instead of spending approximately $60 a year on fabric softener, I end up spending $6 (or maybe less if I can get a few more flannel strips in there.)

I choose to use Seventh Generation products, so my cost savings are based on a $4.99 bottle of fabric softener. In a front loading washer it will soften 40 loads and costs about 12 cents a load. If you have a top loader, you may need to use more softener which will end up costing more per load and you will spend more money on fabric softener a year, but if you make your own dryer sheets you will also see an even greater savings.

I have a small child still in diapers, so I have some plastic wipes containers waiting to be re-purposed. I simply cut out a circle in the lid so I can easily fit my hand inside and now I have a container to hold my dryer sheets. Otherwise, any other plastic container with a lid will work. Try to find something you might have thrown away because it couldn’t be recycled in your area to help cut down on landfill waste.

To make the strips of reusable dryer sheets, cut some some flannel or some other very absorbent material. Leftover scraps or old pajamas will work great. Also, if you have pinking shears, I would advise making your cuts with these so that it helps to minimize fraying. Next, place your strips in the bottom of your plastic container and pour your fabric softener mixture over the top of the strips. No need to move them as the liquid will quickly be absorbed. Allow at least an hour for the mixture to absorb into the strips before using.

Dryer Sheet Fabric Softener Mixture: Mix 4 T liquid fabric softener and 10 T water together

DIY Reusable Dryer SheetsJust toss one in the dryer with each load and save the dried sheet at the end to reuse for your next batch of DIY dryer sheets. If your dryer sheets start to dry out before you can use them all just pour some water on them to moisten them again. You can use each sheet a couple times before you need to wash them.

By re-purposing a baby wipes container and old pajamas, I had no additional cost to making my dryer sheets. My final cost per sheet is about 1 cent, which saves me 11 cents per load by using my DIY dryer sheets instead of putting softener in my front loader.

I know some people might not be fond of having to pick out their dryer sheets and storing them to make another batch, so I have an alternative option for you, a fabric softener spray.

DIY Reusable Dryer SheetsSimply combine 5 T of fabric softener and 10 T water in a spray bottle. Shake before each use to make sure it is mixed well and spray about 10 sprays on your wet load before you put it in the dryer, which equals about 1 tsp of spray.

The spray also costs about 1 cent per load and you will get about 360 loads out of that one bottle of fabric softener, instead of 40.

And if both of these options seem like extra work you don’t want to do, try using 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of fabric softener in your washer to see if you can use less and still have soft & static free clothes. Another option will be to cut your dryer sheets in 2-4 pieces (depending upon what seems to work best for your laundry.) A box of Seventh Generation 65-ct. dryer sheets also cost $4.99 (8 cents a piece.)

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Holli Litrenta March 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

I have some flannel burp rags that I am done using now that my baby no longer uses them. I was just thinking about turning them into rags, but this sounds like an even better idea!
Thanks for the idea!


2 TJ March 9, 2011 at 11:11 am

Very awesome idea!!!! This is something I am definitely gonna try (we have a thousand baby wipes containers needing repurposed too!) I already make my own laundry soap to save $$ on that (costs about 2 cents/load) so this will be a welcome help in cutting costs further. Thank you so much! I posted a link to this on my site’s FB fan page.


3 Lacie March 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

I make my own laundry detergent using the Duggar’s “recipe.” I remember reading about what they do for dryer sheets. They mix equal parts fabric softener and equal parts water in a bucket. Cut sponges in half and thrown them in with the mixture. When you’re ready to use….you ring out one of the little sponges and throw it in with your wet clothes.


4 Diane March 9, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thanks for the info, I am currently receiving less hours at work and looking for idea to save money.


5 rachel March 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I use sponges (cello) cut in half in an lidded container. I mix 1 part fabric softener to 4 parts water. I squeeze out the extra from the sponge and throw into the dryer.


6 Maura March 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Love this idea! I”m always worried about the chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softner, so my towels are never soft. But I’m going to try this – didn’t know about seventh generations fabric softner line!!



7 Dollie March 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I’d be SO grateful to anyone who’d pass along that recipe for the laundry detergent as well :)


8 Tiffany March 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

From the Duggar site(
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups – hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Top load machine

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

I haven’t made it before but my aunt does make it for her family of 7.


9 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

This goes to show that we don’t need Obama’s stinkin’ government interventions that will cost us more money we don’t have in the treasury…..a lot can be done to encourage environmental friendliness just by encouraging frugal living

I found a recipe online to make a large batch of laundry soap from Ivory (or fels naptha), washing soda, and borax in powder form….which I prefer to lugging a heavy 5-gallon bucket of liquid concentrate all over the place

powdered laundry soap recipe:

12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)

Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.


10 Geneva March 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I have substituted the aerosol version of wrinkle releaser for over 15 years now. I travel with it & my son, 22, has practically been raised with the concept.

I recycle a Febreze or any other type bottle of that size, add one cap full of concentrated fabric softener & then fill with water. My travel size is smaller of course and the ratio is size proportionate. Take your garment, spay the areas or entire garment, shake well & hang up while you get ready for work or going out. You will be surprised at how effective this is.

We used to throw things in the dryer, but this method saves on electricity & our clothes smell fresh & clean.


11 Jewels March 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Excellent idea, thanks much!!


12 Cyndi March 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I have been watering down my liquid fabric softener for awhile now. Just tried it to see one day and it works great.
have been using the same big bottle for awhile now.My husband has been laid off for 6months so I save where I can!


13 Heather March 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

This may be a goofy question but how big should I make the strips? Do you cut them to be the same size as store bought fabric sheets?


14 Melissa March 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Genius!!! I have some Caldrea I’ve been hoarding and using for *special* loads, but this is a fantastic way to stretch a pricey bottle into a year’s worth of softener! And I have so many baby wipe containers to use, so BONUS! Thank you!! :)


15 Jessica March 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I cut them about 2″x3″. That’s actually a good question.


16 Jessica March 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I am glad that so many people are finding this post useful and have shared it with others. Be sure to check out my blog to get other ideas & tips.


17 sharon April 3, 2011 at 12:06 am

thanks for these great ideas .i have been wateringing down my fabricsoftener for years because i found out from a washing machine repair guy that when you water down the fabric softener it prevent clogging


18 Misty June 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Awesome idea, I also have several wipe boxes that I don’t want to throw into the landfill, this is definitely an idea I will use. I have two that I currently use for lost socks, one for the boys(cars) and one for the girls(princess) makes matching socks really easy when you have a few left in the laundry.


19 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I make my own febreeze according to the following formula:

1 cup vinegar
1 cup liquid fabric softener (Dollar Tree sells liquid fabric softener made with biodegradable surfactants)
2 cups of water

mix in an old febreeze bottle and use like febreeze…the vinegar helps destroy odor causing bacteria that may be trapped in your clothes and its acidity helps to soften them as well and the vinegar odor fades after a little while

also if you’re too lazy to do all this Dollar Tree sells a box of 55 dryer sheets by a brand named Breeze (I think) and these are made in the USA and were made using 100% wind power…so if you shop at Dollar Tree you may also find environmentally friendly products there


20 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

the spray sounds good because we have a bunch of old rags we used to use for dusting and wiping surfaces while cleaning….we just use paper towels for that now

so I could spray 10 sprays on an old rag (after I’ve washed them all first of course) and toss it in the dryer with a load of laundry and away we go

and Jessica your husband and kids are very lucky guy to have such a beautiful and smart young lady and mom like yourself


21 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

also I read somewhere online that you can use a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of your laundry as a fabric softener…so really in my case it would be a mixture of 5 T vinegar and 10 T water in a spray bottle to spray on old rags and toss in the dryer


22 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

also if you wash EVERYTHING in cold water like I do to save on hot water you can still use the powdered laundry soap recipe I posted in my response to Tiffany but just dissolve the 1/8 cup of soap in a little warm water then pour it in otherwise the powder might not dissolve properly if just added to the load without being first pre-dissolved


23 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

heck with all these money saving ideas I bet I could save enough money to buy organic body soap and shampoo which is good because my scalp is prone to itching and severe dandruff…probably chronic seborrheaic (sp?) dermatits and psoriasis and tea tree shampoo works wonders for that….I know because I sprung for the “tea tree” experience to go with my buzz cut at Supercuts about 2 weeks ago and the tea tree oils in the shampoo and conditioner they used felt wonderful on my scalp

and I’d buy those because making body soap (from saponification) which I can also use as a hair soap is a bit more involved than I’m willing to do seeing as how I hope to be a very busy man soon and saponification from scratch with vegetable oil and vegetable tallow (vegetable shortening in other words) and a lye solution is an involved and time-consuming process


24 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

but for those who wish to give it a try there are 2 different types of lye solutions: NaOH (sodium hydroxide) and KOH (potassium hydroxide)….NaOH gives a solid bar of soap whereas KOH gives you liquid soap

the lye solution you would be working with is very strong so you need to use safety goggles and fans to vent the caustic fumes away from you and you would need to keep some vinegar on hand in case you get some of the lye solution on your hands to pour on your hands and neutralize it……this is because just as strong acids are caustic and cause acid burns (like HCl for instance) so do strong bases like NaOH and KOH also cause caustic base burns


25 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

but for the shower one simple thing to make for yourself is an all-natural body scrub….yes us men sometimes use body scrubs too as long as they aren’t girly-smelling…:-P

the formula is:

1 cup of brown sugar (or sea salt…personally I prefer the brown sugar as sea salt can dry out your skin)
1/2 cup of olive oil (or the cheaper but still all-natural vegetable or canola oils seen in the baking needs section of the supermarket)
20 drops of your choice of essential oil

and you can make your own naturally scented oil to use as the essential oil by, in a small crockpot, mixing 2 cups of olive or vegetable/canola oil with 1/2 oz. mixture of herbs and spices (your choice) and cooking that combination for 5 – 7 hours on low and then letting it cool and then straining it through a cheesecloth and then using a medicine dropper to add it to the above body scrub recipe


26 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm

and also effervescent denture cleansing tablets (available at Dollar Tree and made in the USA… can tell I prefer to buy US made whenever possible can’t you? :-P) in a pan or bowl of hot water (use about 2 for a small pan and maybe 3 – 4 for a large pan or pot) can aide in getting caked and baked on food loosened more quickly

all this along with saving money in energy by using CFL bulbs (60-watt equivalent single-way CFL’s also being available at dollar tree) can help us save loads of money while also helping the environment…as long as we can keep from breaking our CFL bulbs and releasing the toxic mercury contained within necessitating a call to an environmental clean-up crew….:-P…but as long as they’re still intact then spent CFL bulbs can be taken to your nearest Lowe’s for recycling


27 Joseph August 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

oh and for the make-your own laundry soap recipes (either liquid or powder) if you’re too busy….or just plain lazy like me and don’t feel like grating bars of soap you can use powdered Ivory Snow in place of it


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