Fabric softener isn't necessary to get clothing soft and wearable, Leverette says.
"In most instances, you're just adding another layer of product to your clothing," she says. "Most of the time, clothing is stiff because you have left-in detergent that hasn't been washed away."
If you want to leave fabric softener behind but feel your clothing is too stiff without it, Leverette recommends adding a half-cup of baking soda to each rinse cycle or a half-cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. However, don't use either in conjunction with bleach; it could release a toxic gas.
If static is what you're trying to avoid, remember that most static comes from fast-drying synthetic fabrics. Hanging them up to dry will get rid of any static problems.
At $6.49 for a 40-load container, liquid fabric softener isn't cheap. Getting rid of it could save money -- almost $65 per year.
If you can't bring yourself to ditch fabric softener entirely, Leverette recommends cutting the amount you use in half to get more mileage out of the money you spend.