My Thick, Old Fabric softener

I have a VERY large, VERY old jug of fabric softener. It is so old and thick, It’s not easy to get it out of the jug. It is the type of jug that you set on it’s side and press the dispenser button/knob down.(and the jug is almost full)

Q: Is the softener revive-able? I would hate myself if I thought there is no life left in it and had to just throw it away. The jug is just SOOO full! I am afraid to mix water into it. I don’t know if the water will even mix with this thick pastey stuff. Please, someone tell me they know what to do.

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CharlieAnn - May 20, 2010

Try mixing a 1/2cup of the softener with a 1/4 cup of warm water. I did that one time and softener still did its job. Other wise if there is a 1-800 number on the bottle for customer serve they maybe able to help you. Hope this is a help.

Hannah @Cooking Manager - May 20, 2010

Pour some out, mix it with some water. Store it in a jar or container and label it. When it’s finished, repeat.

Breta - May 21, 2010

I’ve have store softener before and it smell like old grease. I had to throw it away. The self life of fabric sofetner is only 4 months. and for liquid washing powder is 6 months,s so I now store dry washing powder it’s shelf life is up to a year.

Kim - May 26, 2010

I would check and see if maybe it’s just the solids that have settled to the bottom of the jug? If not (and if it still smells OK), then add a little water to it and stir with a paint stick, then let it sit overnight to “settle”.

Water will mix with it – it was designed to dissolve in the wash water, so it will be fine that way. Just be careful not to add too much or to stir too many bubbles into it.

Now, having said all of that – do you really want all of those chemicals and perfumes on your clothes? Not to mention that it’s so old? I don’t even use fabric softener anymore. I just use those plastic balls you put in the dryer and don’t let the clothes get bone-dry, and I find that works just fine. You can add a little borax or baking soda or vinegar to the wash water if you want the clothes to be extra-soft. There’s someone on here who uses vinegar that had 2 large orange peels soaked in it for 2 weeks.

Just a thought! :)

Patricie - May 27, 2010

I always mix my fabric softener with an equal volume of water. It works well at this strength and makes it go 50% further. I line dry all of my clothes and even the towels come out fine.

Becky - May 27, 2010

I always cut my store-bought fabric softener w/ water anyway. Themore diluted it is, the less likely it will stain the clothes. So just add hot water to your jug and shake well. Use some out of it, adn add more hot water. It will do fine.

Pat C - June 9, 2010

As long as it doesn’t smell bad, just thin it down with water. BTW – You can also use it as an emergency cream rinse for your hair if you’re out of that (thinned down considerably). I always thin down the fabric softener with water anyway. Since I bought a bunch of bottles on sale, I have tons of the stuff, and yes, they do tend to thicken over time.

Dawn Stan - October 12, 2014

I bought a medium size jug of Downy that was so thick that I couldn’t get water to mix with it even when added to the bottle and shaken. So I dumped it out into a square ice cream bucket, added hot water, stirred… and it wouldn’t mix in! So then I used my ‘stick blender’ which worked great, but even after each addition of water, the softener still remained too thick! I kept adding water until the bucket was full to the top! I had to leave it in the bucket because there was so much of it. Now I scoop out a small amount with a 1-cup measuring cup, add 2-3 times more water and mix it with my fingers before pouring it into my washer basket. Although it is a pain in the butt, I have quadrupled the amount of softener and my clothes smell great!

Katy - January 24, 2015

I have had this problem and water didn’t seem to dilute the lumps. I tried mixing 1/2 cup of the fabric softener with 1 TBS distilled white vinegar. The lumps have disappeared after shaking. There is no vinegar smell. Has anyone else tried vinegar?

    Natalie - March 20, 2015

    Yup. I use vinegar all the time! Been mixing it into my softener for years. Keeps the machine cleaner, too.

      Kathie - September 4, 2015

      Yep, white vinegar is the ticket! Solved my thick softener problem.

gerda - December 6, 2015

Finally an answer to my fabric softener problem! Thanks a lot.

Suzie - February 10, 2016

Hey Thanks, I have the same problem and it stained my new sheets. I thought I had mixed it enough with water, so am going to try the vinegar before I toss it….anyone have other uses for liquid softener as far as cleaning the home….

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