Fabric Softener!

Sorry to bother you with a mundane question, but I would really like to be able to use a Fabric Softener (the water in Norfolk must be the hardest in the UK) but I have tried all the brand ones and I just can't breathe so don't use any of them. Can you recommend one that has no smell???? Don't suppose you know of a hair spray without fumes????? enough of this rubbish - night night. :)

33 Replies

  • Hi louisiana, I use Sainsburys own brand Gentle. White in colour. But I have a feeling it is trial and error. Hair spray I would like to know too. Boy does it take my breathe away same as perfume. just can't use either.

  • Hi Suzy6, I've just mentioned to Louisiana about the gel spray, I find it so much better than the other lacquer like sprays as I, like you, can't stand the fumes or even perfume. June xx

  • Thanks ostiad. Will give it a try.xx

  • Bet you're as staggered at the other replies as I am Suzy! I am definitely going to try everything.....I will let you know how I get on with the hair gel. have a lovely day :)

  • You may find this web site helpful. About.com Link onto Amanda Hearn. Green living.

  • thank you - I will try it today. :)

  • Hi Louisiana, I always use a spray gel on my hair it is more like a pump spray action, in particular 'Inset', but, there are other makes too. I find this so much better as there are no fumes like you get from the lacquer like products; it doesn't feel hard or sticky and the hold is amazing. Give it a try in sure you will prefer it. June

  • thanks!!! will DEFINITELY give it a go!! :)

  • You could use soda crystals, they are cheap and easy way to soften water and have no smell! Keep smiling

    Carole x

  • Silly me - I have them in my cupboard!!!!! I will try them today....thank you. My brain doesn't work well these days :x Do I just put a spoonful in the washing machine??????? :p

  • Yes soda is good for so many house hold uses

  • I also use Sainsburys gentle softener. It is concentrated, so only a tiny amount which seems to work. Live in hard water area. Have had my daughter and 1 year old grandchild staying recently, and the amount of washing was huge. My daughter uses much more softener than me, and was draping things over the radiators to air. Found I could hardly breathe, and chest pain was severe. Have stopped her doing this, and am not now so breathless. All sprays are banned in this house. I use roll on deodorant, and no spray hair products. The only cleaning product I can tolerate is Cillit Bang, but again, use it very sparingly. Best of luck!

  • yike! I can't bear cillit bang - nearly choked me to death once :x I know what you mean about hanging washing around that has had fabric softener in it....disastrous. I try to think back to the time I never even thought about stuff like this and it seems so long ago, although it's only been about 10 years now. Thanx for your advice. Stay breathing!!! :) :)

  • How to Make a Simple & Naturally Scented Fabric Softener

    Easy to make, low-cost, and totally customizable, these “crystals” will leave your laundry soft and smelling lovely. The baking soda added in will naturally make whites whiter, and pull out even the toughest stains. Being an alkaline substance (opposite of acidic) it can neutralize the acid in stains that come from various cleaners, urine, or vomit. It is also environmentally friendly and perfect for people who have sensitive skin. To top it off, it won’t harm fragile fabrics, and it is a brilliant odor remover in the sense that it actually gets rid of smells…it doesn’t mask them with perfumey scents like other fabric softeners do.

    You will need…

    -2 cups of Epsom salt or course sea salt

    -20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend of scents

    -1/2 cup baking soda

    -A container with a tightly fitting lid

    -A marker


    Mix together 2 cups of Epsom salt or course sea salt and add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil-we used lemon for its bright, refreshing scent.Stir in the essential oil before mixing in ½ cup of baking soda (alternately, you can leave out the baking soda, and add it separately, which works well.)After mixing together pour into a container with a tightly fitting lid and label it if you plan on making more with different scents. Use 2-3 tablespoons and toss in with your clothes before rinsing. If using the baking soda separately, add half a cup to each load.You can double this recipe if you’d like, and adjust the amount of essential oil if you want it to smell stronger/weaker.

    Why make your own?

    I make homemade fabric softener because, like so many other mass-market products, what seems like it should be harmless actually contains some pretty nasty stuff. Fabric softener sounds innocent enough, but it’s far from it. Not only are many kinds bad for the environment, but they contain chemicals that impregnate fabrics that can be released over time and absorbed into your skin or inhaled. Among softener components are benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (irritates the upper respiratory tract) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen.) To top it off, many of them are petroleum based, which takes a toll on a non-renewable resource and is not very bio-degradable.

    Be Well and comfy

  • WOW just WOW

  • Wow! thanks Offcut! I will definitely have a go at making this. I have written your "recipe" down and have passed it on to some friends of mine who are into anything that will keep our planet well....stay well :)

  • Wow Offcut, thank you for sharing this info. And thanks to all the people who contributed to this post. I was thinkinkg that i was going crazy because all these products have been effecting me as well, with respect, it's good to know that other people are feeling the same. Keep as well as possible everyody! :) x

  • thanks :)

  • Good report

  • Hi......I live not far away in South Lincs so can sympathise with

    the hard water problem.

    I have had a small water softener fitted. It is a tube filled with

    Silliphos balls. one end screws onto the end of the hose....the other screws onto mains. Very easy to do.

    These units cost about £12 complete from. EBay. The Silliphos balls will last at least a year before extra need adding. An extra supply costs about a tenner and will last forever.

    ( look a lot like moth balls )

    Silliphos works by stopping the lime sticking, its good for the machine as well ......This time I noticed after a few washes things were improving.

    Had a unit 25 years ago at the last house. Won't have a full water softener.


  • Wow! I must find out about this...sounds brilliant!! I rent the house so I am supposed to get "permission" to do anything and everything....even though every improvement has been made by me...the house is 18th century and probably one of the coldest in Britain :) Thanks for telling me about this :)

  • This unit will not harm the property ....unless you

    don't tighten it up and it leaks.

    All you do is where you fix the washing machine hose to the main water pipe .. fix this in between.

    Surely the land lord would not object..

    Good luck.

  • thanks! I am not going to tell him anyway :p :p

  • I had same trouble. You can use vinegar as water softener. Just half cup in the bleach tray ( think, 2nd last rinse) does the job without leaving a residual odour and denatures any residual detergent.... wikihow.com/Add-Vinegar-to-...

  • Thank you - I remember my Mum used to put vinegar in the water when she rinsed my hair -- many any many moons ago! :p To be honest, I just can't stand the smell of vinegar...won't even have it on a salad. But, I have just told a friend about this and she is going home to try it....I will look on the website this afternoon. Thanks ever so for your reply :)

  • PS Distilled white vinegar, I should say - malt works but you may still smell it after :)

  • I will get some distilled and see how I get on with it :)

  • Have you tried new baby fabric softener. It has no smell but is gentle on clothing.

    I have also tried vinegar and that works too.


  • Thanks ever so!! I will definitely try it....I hate the smell of vinegar so I would only use that if I absolutely had to! Do you know the brand of the baby fabric softener? have a good evening :)

  • Hi Lousiana.

    There are several brands, but I have used Fairy and Mothercare, but I think asda now do one.

    Good luck,I know what it is like to get strong smells in your nostrils.

    Also with perfume I get my Husband to spray about 5mls in a little pot then I mix with Vaseline and rub on my wrists.

    Anything is worth a try. And I have had many tips from members of the site.

    Good luck.


  • many thanks - I will certainly try. Funnily enough, I have been really missing using perfume or cologne and just these past couple of weeks I have allowed myself to use a slightly perfumed body lotion and just put a little on my wrists, under my knickers (oops hope the men aren't reading this!) and just a very WEENY touch behind the ear. So far it has been OK so I am delighted as I have about 4 body lotions in the cupboard and hadn't dared use them. I gave all my perfumes away so can't test the vaseline touch. If I get perfume at Christmas which I doubt) I will try it! :) Like you, I have learned so much from this site....what clever people you all are :)

  • Hi Louisiana,

    You could also look at .......




    ...for 'friendly' cleaning products and other hints and tips.



  • thank you sooooo much Biddy! I will check the three of them out today. :)

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