Essential oils are scented oils made from plants that can be used in a variety of applications, from cleaning to laundry to stress relief. They are a more natural alternative to synthetic fragrances that people avoid for all sorts of reasons. Most essential oils are either made through distillation or cold pressing and blending with a neutral carrier oil. They can scent the air from a diffuser, be added to laundry, or be applied directly to the skin in some cases.
I prefer essential oils to synthetic fragrances because I’m allergic to 90% of synthetic fragrance formulations. At the same time, I love my laundry and my house to smell nice, so essential oils are the perfect solution!
Dangers of Synthetic Fragrance in Laundry
Synthetic fragrance is a common allergen, but there are several other reasons you may want to avoid using it in your laundry. More than 75% of synthetic fragrances have been found to contain phthalates, which can disrupt hormone activity, impact reproductive health, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity (Source: HuffPost).
Why Essential Oils are Great for Laundry
Essential oils add a gentle, pleasant scent to your clothes, sheets, and other laundry without the health and environmental consequences of synthetic fragrance. They are easy to use, and a little goes a long way when adding lovely, natural scents to your laundry.
Some essential oils, like lavender and tea tree, have cleaning properties on their own and can enhance the overall laundry cleaning process.
Popular Essential Oils for Laundry Detergent
If you’re starting to experiment with essential oils, the number of options can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different kinds with different scents and benefits, but here are a few popular choices for use in laundry.
- Lavender: used for the calming effects of its scent and stress relief. This is a great option for washing sheets and bedding for a pleasant calming scent at bedtime.
- Lemon: used to improve mood and relieve headaches. Citrus scents are popular options for laundry because they always have a clean scent, and lemon can function as a mood booster for the whole family.
- Tea Tree: used for fighting infections and boosting immunity. This oil is an excellent option for washing during flu season or when someone in your household gets sick.
- Eucalyptus: used to improve breathing and congestion. Eucalyptus oil works well in laundry thanks to its fresh, clean scent that blends well with other oils like lemon and lavender.
- Peppermint: used to boost energy and aid in digestion. Peppermint oil can be very strong, so a little goes a long way, but it will keep your laundry smelling minty and fresh for an energized day.
- Orange: used to lift mood and reduce pain or inflammation. This citrus scent goes with pretty much everything, which makes it a popular choice for laundry applications.
- Rose: used to improve mood and reduce anxiety. This one is my personal favorite thanks to its luxurious scent, but it is trickier to mix with other oils as it can be overpowering.
Essential Oil Combinations to Try in Laundry
- Lemon and Eucalyptus: a fresh, bright scent for boosting mood.
- Lavender and Eucalyptus: a deeply calming blend for soothing anxiety and aiding in restful sleep.
- Tea Tree and Lemon: a powerful blend for feeling better, whether it’s just a rough day, a headache, or the flu.
- Orange and Rose: a luxurious scent blend to lift your mood and make your laundry smell extra fancy.
Using Essential Oils in Your Laundry Routine
There are two easy ways to add essential oils to your laundry routine, and both are very simple. It will take no time to add essential oils to your washing habits and eliminate synthetic fragrances from your household’s laundry routine.
Essential Oils in Laundry Detergent
Adding essential oils to your laundry detergent is the easiest way to infuse scent into your laundry. You can either add the oil to the entire container of laundry detergent (a few drops at a time), or you can add the oil into the measured detergent for each load (also one or two drops at a time).
Essential Oils on Dryer Balls
Essential oils can also be added to wool dryer balls. Add one or two drops to the ball and toss in with your drying. However, be careful with this method because essential oils are flammable and should be used sparingly in the dryer.
Yes, it is safe to add essential oils to laundry detergent. They will add natural fragrance to your laundry and safely blend in with the detergent during the wash cycle.
It depends on the oil and the scent’s strength, but a good rule of thumb is to add a couple of drops at a time, smell, and add more if needed. You can always add more, but it’s impossible to take away, so add a little at a time until you reach your desired scent.