This is probably the product that had the most variety in options. Many say to mix a bottle of your favorite conditioner with vinegar. Some just said to put Vinegar in your Downy ball or the compartment for liquid fabric softener in your washer. This is how I learned that Vinegar is a natural softener. (By the way, baking soda is also a natural softener so the homemade laundry detergent will already have some softening properties). For the variations that included conditioner, I learned that the conditioner was just for the smell.
I settled on a liquid recipe. There are also many options out there for “dryer sheets” if you prefer that. I thought they seemed like a bit of a hassle so wanted something that I could put in my Downy Ball.
1 cup distilled water
1 cup baking soda
2 cups distilled white vinegar
essential oils for fragrance (I used lavender)
IMPORTANT: This one is quite the chemistry experiment. It is very important to mix the baking soda, water, and essential oil into a paste FIRST. Then SLOWLY pour in the vinegar. It will fizz up a lot so if you dump it all in at once, you will have a mess.
Once this is mixed, the baking soda will settle in the bottle. Give it a good shake to mix it up each time you use it. I use about ¼ cup in my Downy Ball. Some sites say to use ½ cup but I have found that ¼ cup works just fine for us.
I use distilled water because I read on one site that it will reduce the likelihood of creating a petri dish with the natural ingredients. I tend to think that vinegar would prevent this, but decided at $0.88 per gallon, distilled water was a good safeguard and I use it in all the products that call for water.