You can make a no salt water softener by combining borax and washing soda with water. Use this water softener in place of liquid or mechanical softeners, and its especially inexpensive to make. Hard water can cause clothes to fade and come out of the dryer stiffer than usual. This recipe makes a gallon of no salt water softener that can be added to a normal load of laundry.
Rinse out a gallon milk container with water. Add a small amount of mild dish soap and fill halfway with water. Place the cap on the jug and swirl the soapy water around to cover every portion of the jug. Rinse the jug until the milk and soap smell is completely gone.
Label the jug as "no salt water softener" with a permanent marker to eliminate any possible confusion about the contents and prevent accidental ingestion. Remove any tags or previous labels that identify the jug as milk.
Add 1/4 lb. borax and 1/2 lb. washing soda to the jug. Fill it up the rest of the way with warm water, and then mix thoroughly using a thin dowel. Stir until the powders are completely dissolved in the water.
Add 1 cup of the no salt water softener to each load of laundry. For especially hard water, add 2 cups to each load. While using this water softener, reduce the detergent amount by half, as too much can contribute to the hardness of the water.