What I Miss From the US: Fabric Softener…And How I Make Do Without It

If you don't have a dryer, you need to get soften your close somehow!

If you don’t have a dryer, you need to get soften your close somehow! Photo cred

Last Spring I couldn’t find fabric softener, so I have been trying out different solutions.  Before I left Portland at the end of the summer, I thought about getting some Woolzies alternative fabric softener things on Amazon, but I decided to be optimistic instead and hope that I could find fabric softener in Valencia.

It turns out that I don’t have a dryer, or room for a dryer in my apartment (unless I get rid of my current washing machine and get a stacking washer/dryer), so they would have been useless anyway.

My research also led me to believe that I would be able to use aluminum foil in the dryer instead of dryer sheets too. I never tried that, but I did find some dryer sheets and hoarded them over the summer. They are now sitting uselessly in a closet somewhere….

So now I need some kind of liquid fabric softener.

I went to about seven different stores today and I did not see any liquid fabric softener. So what can I use instead?

Vinegar and Conditioner

Like I said in my No Poo post. For some reason, it is easier to find conditioner than shampoo in this country, so I already tried this last year when I couldn’t find fabric softener. This works almost as well as the store bought fabric softener sheets, but the smell doesn’t stay around as long.

Vinegar (by itself)

I can always find vinegar in Venezuela, and now that I have a car, I can easily buy large quantities when I see it (I haven’t yet). Vinegar can be used to clean all kinds of stuff around the house, and apparently it can also soften your laundry. Because I use it with my store bought laundry detergent, I don’t notice any vinegary smell, but for those people who use a more neutral detergent than I do (or who have sensitive noses), you might want to try citrus vinegar.

Citrus Vinegar!

If I wasn’t so lazy I would I try this because you can always find limes and oranges in the markets as well as white vinegar!

Please comment! What do you do when you run out of fabric softener? How do you make your clothing soft if you don’t use a dryer?


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