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Can You Add Essential Oils to Laundry?

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Can You Add Essential Oils to Laundry?

Today, we’re going to look at essential oils; and specifically, can you add essential oils to laundry to create fresh smelling, clean, and soft laundry without the need for potentially harmful and irritating synthetic fragrances?

Can You Add Essential Oils to Laundry?

So this is the big question – can you add essential oils to laundry? In short, yes it’s absolutely safe to do so, but there are a number of things to consider.

Most essential oils are extremely flammable. For this reason, it’s not advised that you add them into your drying cycle unless you’re running an air-dry cycle without any heat, low heat, or towards the end of your dryer cycle.

They can, however, be safely added to your washing machine, although, as stated before, some essential oils can be harmful to pets. Cinnamon, peppermint, and tea tree, for example, are toxic to most breeds of dogs. Cats are also highly sensitive to essential oils, so it might be a good idea to do some research if you have furry friends hanging around your home.

As long as you’re using essential oils that are compatible with your household and its inhabitants, and you’re not bringing the essential oils into contact with high temperatures, you should be fine to use them in your laundry cycle.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are derived from plant leaves, roots, or bark either through cold pressing or distilling processes. They are basically super-concentrated extracts holding the scent or essence of the plant or botanical. They have a huge range of uses and are extremely popular in aromatherapy, meditation, yoga practices, and candle making.

As long as the oil has been created using non-chemical processes, they are completely organic and non-toxic. With that being said, certain essential oils can be harmful to some pets or animals, so you should always do plenty of research before introducing a new scent into your home.

Essential oils can also be used in skincare and beauty products. Each oil has a different purpose, with some promoting relaxation and calmness, and others offering invigorating or awakening properties, for example.

Unlike other oils such as sunflower or olive, essential oils are not safe for consumption and should not be ingested. There are, however, lots of other uses for essential oils that you may not previously have considered. For example, adding essential oils into your laundry load for fresh, clean-smelling laundry.

Related: How to Use Essential Oils to Eliminate Smoke Odor

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Plant Therapy Lemon Essential OilPlant Therapy Lemon Essential Oil
  • 100% pure, undiluted, natural aromatherapy, therapeutic grade from real lemon peel
  • Goes through multiple rounds of testing including organoleptic testing and multiple rounds of GC-MS testing by several third-party laboratories.
  • Certified Aromatherapists available to help you with all of your essential oil questions
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
NOW Essential Oils, Lavender OilNOW Essential Oils, Lavender Oil
  • Use for aromatherapy - Lavender is soothing, normalizing, and balancing with a floral scent that promotes balance and relaxation
  • This oil is 100% pure and undiluted, extracted through steam distillation of flowering tops in state-of-the-art laboratories, is naturally derived, and is subject to purity testing in-house
  • Vegan and never tested on any animals
9.7
Check Price on Amazon
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential OilsYlang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential Oils
  • Young Living essential oil Ylang Ylang 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
  • Enticing sweet, floral, and alluring scent that deepens romance and encourages sweeter moments together
  • Calming, and reduces stress and helps to promote deep sleep 
9.6
Check Price on Amazon

Why Might You Choose to Add Essential Oils to Your Laundry?

There are a few reasons you might decide to add essential oils into your laundry cycle.

Firstly, the synthetic fragrances so often added to laundry detergents can be highly toxic and extremely damaging to your skin. If you have young children or simply want to protect the well-being of your family, you might be looking into ways of reducing the number of harmful chemicals and toxins brought into your home. Because your laundry is going to be sitting on your skin all day and night, it’s great to look for some less harmful or irritating alternatives.

Secondly, you or a member of your household may experience allergies or adverse reactions to traditional laundry detergents. Again, this is likely to be due to the harmful chemicals involved. Essential oils are much more natural and less irritating in most cases.

Using more natural ingredients and products in your laundry cycle can also help to increase the longevity of your washing machine and your laundry. By using more gentle ingredients, you’ll find your machine does not corrode so quickly, and clothes or fabrics are less likely to be damaged or worn out.

Adding essential oils to your laundry is a great way of adding a fresh scent without adding extra chemicals.

How to Add Essential Oils to Your Laundry

When adding essential oils to your laundry you have a couple of different options.

If you have a preferred brand of chemical-free laundry detergent that’s fragrance-free, you could add a few drops of the essential oils straight into the bottle and shake to mix. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how many drops of the oil you will need, and this will depend largely on the specific oil you’re using and your own personal preference. We advise adding in a couple of drops at a time and gradually increasing until the mixture reaches your desired potency.

The detergent can then be used as normal within your laundry cycle.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
  • Powerful triple-enzyme formula fights tough stains
  • Free & clear, hypoallergenic laundry detergent made for sensitive skin
  • Safer ingredients for human health and the environment
  • EPA safer choice certified
  • USDA certified bio based product 96% made with plant-based ingredients
9.7
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Excellent Value
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Featuring plant-based stain lifting power
  • For high efficiency and standard washers
  • Biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula
  • Cruelty free. Tested by people, not on animals
9.6
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Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid DetergentPlanet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent
  • Works in both standard and high-efficiency washers
  • Hypoallergenic - suitable for people with chemical sensitivities and babies
  • Free & Clear formula - no added fragrances, dyes or synthetic preservatives
  • Certified 100% biodegradable; ingredients from plant-based sources
  • Not tested on animals
9.5
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Alternatively, you could make your own fabric softener (see our list of dryer sheet substitutes) to add this to your washing machine alongside an unscented laundry detergent of your choice. To do this, simply add your chosen essential oils to around 2 to 3 cups of white wine vinegar.

Again, it’s totally up to you how much oil you want to add, keep adding until you feel satisfied with the scent of the mixture. White wine vinegar is great for sanitizing and softening your laundry, so this is an excellent DIY method.

If you’re looking to really saturate your laundry in a natural, fresh essential oil scent, then you could always implement both of these methods into your laundry routine. It’s really all about trial and error and finding what works for you.

Another great option is to use wool dryer balls. These are reusable and essential oils can be added to them before putting them in the dryer with the clothes. They also help clothes to dry quicker with less static. To learn more, read our post How to Use Wool Dryer Balls, and Why You Should.

Here are some of the most popular essential oils people add to their laundry cycle for great-smelling laundry:

Rosemary

Rosemary has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and has a wonderful, fresh and herbal smell.

Aura Cacia Pure Essential Oil, Rosemary, 0.5 Fluid OunceAura Cacia Pure Essential Oil, Rosemary, 0.5 Fluid Ounce

Check the price on Amazon


Lavender

Lavender is naturally relaxing and calming and also has antibacterial properties. It’s a great fresh scent, particularly good for bed sheets and towels.

NOW Essential Oils, Lavender Oil, Soothing Aromatherapy Scent, Steam Distilled, 100% Pure, Vegan, Child Resistant Cap, 1-Ounce NOW Essential Oils, Lavender Oil, Soothing Aromatherapy Scent

Related: Using Essential Oils for Cleaning Carpet: Deodorizing & Stain Removal

Check the price on Amazon


Eucalyptus

Another great antibacterial essential oil; eucalyptus is both fresh and invigorating.

Aura Cacia Certified Organic Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil | 0.25 fl. oz. | Eucalyptus Radiata Aura Cacia Certified Organic Pure Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

Check the price on Amazon


Lemon

Most of us will be familiar with the lemon scent; a common fragrance in many laundry detergents, Lemon promotes concentration and has a calming effect.

Plant Therapy Lemon Essential Oil 30 mL (1 oz) 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy, Therapeutic GradePlant Therapy Lemon Essential Oil 30 mL

Check the price on Amazon


Pine

If you’re looking for more of a woody, deep and musky smell, pine is a great choice. It’s also commonly used to reduce inflammation or congestion.

Edens Garden Pine- Scots Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade (Undiluted Natural/Homeopathic Aromatherapy Scented Essential Oil Singles) 10 ml Edens Garden Pine- Scots Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade

Check the price on Amazon


Ylang-Ylang

If you want a super floral scent, try ylang-ylang. This sweet-smelling essential oil not only has health benefits it has been used in the perfume industry for years.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential Oils Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential Oils

Check the price on Amazon


Or Create Your Own Combination

Combining essential oils is also a great option, allowing you to find your own preferred concoctions of scents, giving you a unique and complex fragrance to add to your laundry.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Plant Therapy Lemon Essential OilPlant Therapy Lemon Essential Oil
  • 100% pure, undiluted, natural aromatherapy, therapeutic grade from real lemon peel
  • Goes through multiple rounds of testing including organoleptic testing and multiple rounds of GC-MS testing by several third-party laboratories.
  • Certified Aromatherapists available to help you with all of your essential oil questions
9.8
Check Price on Amazon
NOW Essential Oils, Lavender OilNOW Essential Oils, Lavender Oil
  • Use for aromatherapy - Lavender is soothing, normalizing, and balancing with a floral scent that promotes balance and relaxation
  • This oil is 100% pure and undiluted, extracted through steam distillation of flowering tops in state-of-the-art laboratories, is naturally derived, and is subject to purity testing in-house
  • Vegan and never tested on any animals
9.7
Check Price on Amazon
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential OilsYlang Ylang Essential Oil 5ml by Young Living Essential Oils
  • Young Living essential oil Ylang Ylang 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
  • Enticing sweet, floral, and alluring scent that deepens romance and encourages sweeter moments together
  • Calming, and reduces stress and helps to promote deep sleep 
9.6
Check Price on Amazon

As we stated earlier, just be sure to do plenty of research and make sure your chosen essential oils are safe to use around every person and pet within your household. This way, you’ll be able to safely and effectively introduce essential oils into your laundry routine, eliminating the need for harmful, toxic synthetic fragrances.

Now you know the answer to, “can you add essential oils to laundry?” It is the best and healthiest way to scent your laundry and a fun, easy way to customize your own laundry scent.

Final Thoughts on Can You Add Essential Oils to Laundry?

Adding essential oils to laundry is a great way to naturally scent your laundry and avoid unnecessary synthetic chemicals that can be irritating to your skin and body. With so many essential oil scents available you can choose whatever scent you want, even customize your own scent by blending different essential oils together.

Now that you know the answer to the question, can you add essential oils to laundry? You can have fun experimenting with different essential oils to find the ones you like best.

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