If you’ve ever run out of fabric softener before a big wash, you might dread going to the store and adding another chore to your daily list. Maybe you’re struggling to even make it out of the house, as the vehicles in use, or you’ve got kids to watch. Fear not! There are a number of natural alternatives that work just as well and may even work better depending on the fabrics. You can still run your wash with confidence and come out with cuddly soft laundry, and the family never has to know. In fact, some reports claim that fabric softeners can actually be some of the most toxic chemicals in your home. Why not try an alternative this time? Here are a few of our favorite ways to get soft laundry without laundry softener.

Baking Soda

Is there no limit to what this miracle product can accomplish? Maybe so! It can actually soften up your laundry, too! Not all baking sodas are created equally, and if your baking soda has a lot of calcium in it, you’ll notice a massive boost to the softness of your wash. It also has the benefit of reducing static cling once it goes through the dryer. Fill your washer, add between a quarter cup and half a cup to your wash and let it dissolve completely, then carry on with the wash cycle like normal. Once it’s time to dry, there’s a lot we can do!

Add a Towel

You can add a clean, dry towel to any dryer load, and it’ll work magic on your clothes. Everyone’s bound to have a clean towel laying around, and the soft fabric will soften the other fabrics while reducing static cling even further. Add it to your wet clothes, and you can enjoy the benefits as soon as the cycle’s over, and this without having to add a single chemical or product to your wash! Even if you don’t add a single softening agent, this trick can make a massive difference for your laundry.

Try Aluminum Foil

It’s no dryer sheet, but crumple up a ball of aluminum foil, make sure it’s got no sharp edges, and toss it in just like you would with a dryer sheet. The ball will heat up just a bit to properly agitate the fabric, softening it and battering it properly so that by the time your clothes are dry, they’re also good and broken in without having to add any chemicals. This can work even better than a towel because of how firm the foil is when rubbing against your fabrics.

A Tennis Ball?

Goodness, this one’s a bit out there. Naturally, you’ll want to skip this one if the only tennis ball you have is Rover’s slobbery, messy tennis chew toy. However, if you’ve got a clean tennis ball, toss it in! You’ll be amazed at how little static cling there is, and though you’ll want to use a lower heat than usual, the tennis ball does everything the towel and aluminum ball can do but better. Toss in two for an even stronger effect! Your clothes will take a bit longer to dry, but they come out so soft and easy to work with that the added time seems well worth the trouble, in our opinion!

Sun and Sky Can’t be Beat

If you’ve got the space and attention for it, dry your clothes outdoors! Not only will this help give you soft laundry using the coziness gained from any fabric softeners or the baking soda we suggested, but in nice weather, all the plants outside are respiring and putting fresh smells out into the air. Use a clothesline, and enjoy all the freshness and softness mother nature has to offer!