9 Best Natural Fabric Softener Brands We Love in 2023

Making the eco-friendly switch to natural fabric softeners doesn’t mean sacrificing on quality and performance. In fact, there are plenty of solutions out there that will make your clothes as soft and as fresh-smelling as ever. To help you make the right choice for yourself and your family, we’ve personally tested and rounded up our top 9 favorite natural fabric softener brands for 2023. From affordable options perfect for tight budgets to luxurious splurges, read on to find a natural fabric softener that’s sure to fit into any green lifestyle!

#1 Dropps Fabric Softener Pods – Most Powerful Fabric Softener
#2 Wool Dryer Balls – Best Natural Fabric Softener for Your Dryer
#3 Fabric Softener Crystals – Best Scented Natural Fabric Softener
#4 FREY Natural Liquid Fabric Softener – Best Eco-Friendly Liquid Fabric Softener
#5 Organic Laundry Softener by Picasso SelfCare – Best Plant-Derived Fabric Softener
#6 Seventh Generation Dryer Sheets – Best Compostable Dryer Sheets
#7 Organic Soap Nuts – Top Natural Fabric Softener
#8 Lavender Fabric Softener – Best Homemade Fabric Softener
#9 Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls – Best Fair Trade Natural Fabric Softener

Softening the Damage to Our Environment—Natural vs. Conventional Fabric Softeners

We all want our clothes to be soft and smelling great, but is there a way to do that without damaging the environment? It turns out that the choice between natural and conventional fabric softeners can have a huge impact on our planet. Let’s take a look at why natural fabric softeners are better for the environment than their conventional alternatives.

What Goes Into Conventional Fabric Softeners?

Conventional fabric softeners contain synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to both humans and the environment. These chemicals include synthetic fragrances, galaxolide, quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) and alcohol ethoxylates (AEs). Synthetic fragrances are made of various chemical compounds, some of which have been linked to health problems such as allergies, asthma attacks and hormone disruption. Quats are known respiratory irritants and endocrine disruptors, while AEs can be toxic to aquatic life when released into waterways or runoff from sewage systems.

Natural Fabric Softeners Are Better For The Environment

Natural fabric softeners are made with plant-based ingredients like essential oils, vinegar, baking soda and other naturally derived ingredients that don’t harm the environment or your health. They also don’t contain synthetic fragrances or any of those nasty chemical compounds found in conventional fabric softeners. Natural fabric softeners are biodegradable so they won’t pollute waterways or cause damage to ecosystems like their conventional counterparts do. Plus, they tend to be much gentler on fabrics than conventional fabric softeners, meaning your clothes will last longer!

The Benefits Don’t Stop There!

Using natural fabric softener instead of conventional ones doesn’t just benefit the environment—it also benefits you! Natural fabric softener won’t leave behind any residue on your clothes like its synthetic counterparts do, so your clothes will feel softer and fresher for longer periods of time. Not only that but natural fabric softener is free from harsh chemicals so it won’t irritate your skin or aggravate allergies like those found in conventional products can do.

How to Find the Best Natural Fabric Softener

How to Find the Best Natural Fabric Softener

When looking for the best natural fabric softener, you need to consider a few factors. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the product is safe for both yourself and your fabrics. Avoid any products that contain harsh chemicals or fragrances which can be irritating or even toxic when used on fabrics. You should also look for natural ingredients like essential oils, which are known to have many benefits for fabrics.

Next, you should think about the type of fabric softener that will work best for your particular fabric. Some fabrics require different types of softeners than others, so it’s important to read and understand the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You may also want to research online to find out what other people have had success with for their fabrics.

Finally, you should also consider the cost of the product. Natural fabric softeners can be quite expensive so it’s important to shop around before making a purchase. Compare prices in different stores and read customer reviews to help you decide which one is right for your budget.

How We Found the Softest, Greenest Natural Fabric Softener Around

How We Found the Softest, Greenest Natural Fabric Softener Around

So you want to keep your laundry soft AND environmentally friendly? It’s a tall order, but we set out to find the best natural fabric softener so you don’t have to. After researching and testing loads of options, we’ve finally found our the winners!

The Criteria We Used

When searching for the best natural fabric softener on the market, there were a few key criteria we kept in mind. First and foremost, it had to be an all-natural product that avoided harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances. We also considered affordability — since the goal was to find the best bang for your buck (or rather, your load). Finally, we factored in how well each fabric softener performed during testing. We tested each product by washing a dozen cotton towels with and without the fabric softener. The results were impressive!

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Dropps Fabric Softener Pods – Most Powerful Fabric Softener

Dropps Fabric Softener Pods - Most Powerful Fabric Softener

Here at Trash Backwards, we are big advocates on plastic-free packaging – which is exactly what you get with these fabric softener pods by Dropps!

Not only will these pods keep your clothes soft and fresh smelling, but their mineral-based ingredients won’t clog your fibers or washing machine. Additionally, the powdered pods don’t contain any phthalates, galaxolide, parabens, or dyes, nor are they tested on animals.

Moreover, I love the added lavender and eucalyptus scents which smell much more natural than the overly potent commercial brands.

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wool Dryer Balls – Best Natural Fabric Softener for Your Dryer

While we aren’t huge fans of running the dryer for environmental reasons, sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially if you reside in colder climates where air or drip-drying often isn’t the solution.

These wool dryer balls are ultra-convenient for having fresher and softer clothes while they dry. They work by lifting and separating your laundry as it tumbles dries, and this allows the air to circulate much more freely.

Moreover, the dryer balls absorb the excess moisture and help to reduce wrinkles.

What’s also great about wool dryer balls is that they last for ages, almost up to five years, with continuous use! They don’t contain any chemicals either and are naturally allergen-free.

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fabric Softener Crystals – Best Scented Natural Fabric Softener

Fabric Softener Crystals - Best Scented Natural Fabric Softener

These Fabric softener crystals are made out of pure essential oils packed in a plastic-free compostable kraft canister paired with a wooden spoon.

I love how these crystals are handcrafted out of pure ingredients and come in gorgeous scents like Lime, Patchouli, Peppermint, and Clove, to name a few.

Additionally, this single reusable container should last you about 40 + loads, and the product is very effective for high-efficiency washing machines. Finally, if you’ve sensitive skin, you’ll also benefit from these fabric softener crystals as the essential oils used are gentle on the skin.

FREY Natural Liquid Fabric Softener – Best Eco-Friendly Liquid Fabric Softener

When you buy a bottle of liquid detergent or fabric softener from FREY, a tree gets planted – which is a bonus in our book!

On top of that, this bottle of concentrated fabric softener will last you over 50 washes while remaining safer for you and the environment.

The product is powerful enough to tackle unwanted odors from your clothes and make your fabrics much softer. FREY softener is also suitable for all materials, including linens, synthetics, cotton, and blends.

Lastly, all the ingredients inside this bottle are natural and biodegradable without any nasty additives.

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Organic Laundry Softener by Picasso SelfCare – Best Plant-Derived Fabric Softener

Organic Laundry Softener by Picasso SelfCare

The organic blend fabric softener by Picassa will keep your clothes ultra soft and fresh using only natural plant-derived ingredients.

Everything about this product is biodegradable, and the formula is free from parabens, phthalates, or dyes. Plus, the blend is gentle enough to make your towels feel extra fluffy and help to avoid pilling.

Right now, you can choose from three lovely scents, Lavender, Citrus, and Rose.

Seventh Generation Dryer Sheets – Best Compostable Dryer Sheets

While dryer sheets are thought of as wasteful most of the time, that’s not the case for the Seventh Generation dryer sheets.

The sheets are made out of 97% bio-based products and 100% recycled fiber. On top of that, the dryer sheets are scented using essential oils and botanical ingredients such as Patchouli, Lavender, and much more. However, you can opt for an unscented option as well.

Best of all, the dryer sheets will leave your clothes feeling extra soft and help to reduce static cling with every load!

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Organic Soap Nuts – Top Natural Fabric Softener

Organic Soap Nuts - Top Natural Fabric Softener

Soap nuts are becoming a trendy alternative as a natural fabric softener. The nuts contain a natural component that creates cleansing suds that clean and softens your laundry. Initially, the nuts originate from a SoapBerry Tree native to the Himalayas Mountains.

These are a fantastic option for people with skin sensitivities or allergies, and they last for ages too! 

Additionally, the soap nuts are washing machine and septic tank safe, and they are effortless to use – simply pop 4-6 nuts in a muslin sachet and throw them in the washing machine together with your laundry. However, keep in mind that soap nuts are not dryer friendly!

Lavender Fabric Softener – Best Homemade Fabric Softener

For those of you who are a fan of lavender will love this lavender-scented fabric softener.

This product is made only from two ingredients: lavender and white vinegar – which is as natural as it gets.

The product doesn’t contain any toxic additives like Ammonia, Chlorine, Formaldehyde, Quaternary Ammonium Compound, artificial colors, or dyes.

You can reuse the jars for other purposes as well – like for making your own natural fabric softener!

Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls – Best Fair Trade Natural Fabric Softener

9 Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls

Not only are these “Friendsheep” wool dryer balls super cute, but they make a great housewarming gift as well! This is a great way to introduce someone to a more zero waste, natural lifestyle, and you can’t go wrong with a bag of wool dryer balls.

In the pack, you’ll get six XL dryer balls with adorable koala designs. They are made out of 100% natural New Zealand wool, without any nasty and unnecessary additives.

On top of that, the wool balls are cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and reusable for up to 1000 loads of laundry.

Moreover, the wool dryer balls are handmade in Nepal, where underprivileged women are supported with ethical conditions and fair wages.

Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


How To Make Your Own Natural Fabric Softener

How To Make Your Own Natural Fabric Softener

There are a couple of homemade fabric softener options and combinations out there. However, the simplest alternatives involve using just baking powder.

That’s right, the thing that most of us have in our kitchen cupboard makes a very effective fabric softener!

All you need is to add half a cup to your laundry cycle and enjoy soft, clean clothes without the additives. Another bonus is that baking powder usually comes in eco-friendly packaging and isn’t harmful to our environment either.

Scented Fabric Softener Recipe

If you want something that’s pleasantly scented, you could give this recipe a try.

All you need is vegetable glycerin, white vinegar, and some of your essential oils.

Mix two cups of vinegar, two tablespoons of vegetable glycerin, and a few drops or more of your favorite essential oil.

Then shake it all up, and you’ve got your personal blend of fabric softener to use!

It’s best to add half a cup of the mixture to the dispenser during the final rinse cycle for optimal softens and freshness.

You can also use white vinegar on its own if you prefer, which is a common method to soften clothes the natural way, and it will keep your washing machine smelling fresh and clean!


What did you think of our favorite fabric softener brands? Is there a specific type you prefer to use? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

For more eco-friendly household ideas, check out the top eco-friendly laundry detergents that are as natural as can be.


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