essential oils for laundry

How to Use Essential Oils for Laundry

Most fragrances in laundry detergents are the result of chemicals that can irritate your skin and negatively impact the environment. As a result, many people are now opting for natural alternatives. 

The problem is, many natural products have no scent at all—frustrating if you love the fresh smell of clean laundry! 

So, if you’re looking for ways to add fragrance back into your garments naturally, essential oils extracted from plants are a great way to do so. 

Not sure how to use essential oils for laundry? Read on to explore some the best ways to go about it.

4 Ways to Make Laundry Smell Good Naturally with Essential Oils

1. Add scent to your laundry detergent

add essential oils to laundry detergent

One of the easiest ways to make your laundry smell great without using harsh chemicals, is to add 2-3 drops of essential oil into an unscented liquid detergent like EcoGurus Eco Laundry Detergent

Shake well to combine, then unscrew the lid and sniff to test. If it’s not potent enough yet, add a drop at a time until it is, shaking well and rechecking the smell after each drop. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to mix the oil into the entire bottle, add 5 drops of your chosen scent into one cup of detergent.

2. Make your own chemical-free fabric softener

diy chemical-free fabric softener

As well as adding fragrance to your laundry detergent, you can also use essential oils to create your own fabric softener. 

Swapping out standard fabric conditioners is a great idea, as they contain chemicals that can harm the environment and aren’t suitable for all fabrics. 

Instead, mix 20 drops of essential oil into 3.5 litres of white vinegar and shake well. 

Add one cup into the softener tray for large loads or half a cup for small loads, and enjoy soft, fresh laundry.

3. Swap dryer sheets for scented dryer balls

scented dryer balls

Another way to incorporate essential oils into your laundry routine is at the drying stage. 

Typically, people tend to add scented dryer sheets to their load when using a tumble dryer. But just like fabric softener, dryer sheets release all kinds of chemicals. Plus, having to buy new ones again and again can become expensive. 

Instead, add a few drops of essential oil onto 3-4 wool dryer balls and put them in the dryer with your laundry on a low-medium heat. 

The scented dyer balls will infuse your laundry with fragrance and help separate the folds for faster drying. If you don’t have dryer balls, a clean cloth with a few drops of oil will work too.

4. Create a homemade linen spray

linen spray

Whether you’d prefer to keep essential oils out of your machines or you simply want to give your laundry an extra boost of scent, homemade linen sprays are ideal. 

All you need to do is add 10 drops of oil to 6 tbsp of distilled water, then mix in 2 tbsp of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. 

Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz your clothes with the solution prior to ironing or to freshen up bedding and towels that smell a little musty after being taken out of storage. 

Another option is to add 1-2 drops of essential oil into your iron’s water container. That way, the scent will be imparted into your laundry through the steam as you iron.


Additional Tips for Using Essential Oils for Laundry

1. Choose your oils wisely

essential oils

With so many essential oils to choose from, it can be hard to know which one to choose. 

For laundry, it’s best to go for lighter, colourless oils over more sticky, resinous oils. 

Citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit and orange are perfect for adding a revitalising scent to your clothing. 

Meanwhile, tea tree and eucalyptus offer a clean aroma and are natural disinfectants. 

And if you’re looking for calming scents for bed sheets and PJs, lavender oil is the obvious choice.

2. Create a pre-wash stain remover

diy pre-wash stain remover

If you’re making the move to natural laundry detergents and softeners, it would make sense to swap out harsh stain removers too. 

Several drops of tea tree oil mixed with 1 cup of white vinegar and half a cup of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is an effective pre-wash treatment for stains. 

Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and then soak the item in the solution for an hour. 

When the time’s up, wash the garment with oil-infused detergent and the stain should be gone.

3. Keep safety top of mind

take caution with use of essential oils

Although essential oils are natural and generally safe to use for laundry, there are some things you need to bear in mind. Namely, that when heated above a certain temperature, essential oils are flammable. 

So, if you decide to use them in your dryer as we suggested above, always stick to low or medium heats. 

Better yet, part-dry your laundry on a medium heat, then lower the temperature and add the infused balls towards the end of the cycle. 

However, when using essential oils in your washer, you should choose a 40°C setting or higher to ensure the oils are broken down and washed away before the load goes into the dryer. 

You should also wash your hands well after handling pure essential oils to avoid skin irritation – though this shouldn’t be a problem once they’ve been diluted down in the wash.

We hope you found this article useful! Read our related articles to discover the best essential oils for cleaning and whether it’s really safe to use essential oils in your washing machine. Or, for more clothing and laundry care tips, browse our blog.