Hi, and thanks for the question
There are several methods that can be used. The simplest involves
using baking soda.
In an article:
HomeMade Laundry Softener and Stain Remover by Sandy Shields
(http://www.thefrugalshopper.com ) she gives the following recipe and
2 Cups White Vinegar
2 Cups Baking Soda
4 Cups Water
Combine slowly and carefully over sink. The baking soda and vinegar
Pour into plastic bottle, cover, and shake.
Use 1/4 cup in the final rinse or in a "Downy Ball".
There is a really cute description of how baking soda does the job at
the following site:
Jimmy learns about Hard and Soft Water
( http://www.geocities.com/thephunnyfarm/soapbubbles7.html )
In an article on Frugal Living for Bella Online the writer goes even
further, doing away with the baking soda and saying ... "to soften
clothes, throw a cup of vinegar in the laundry rinse water to cut the
soap scum that causes harsh clothing."
( http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art2615.asp )
Other methods cited typically use borax - best known as a laundry
booster but it helps soften hard water to leave your clothes cleaner
and brighter. You can find everything you ever wanted to know about
The many household uses of Borax
( http://homeparents.about.com/library/weekly/aa073102a.htm )
But be careful. Borax is sodium borate. It is poisonous so you must be
careful when handling it. Borax is used for many things: as a fabric
and water softener, stain remover, bleach and disinfectant. Even give
its poisonous nature, it is probably friendlier to the environment
than some commercial products.
You can find out about borax, and other cheap cleaning products, at
the Quolkids site in the article: Environmentally friendly household
hope that helps
Google search terms used:
"make your own" "water softener"