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I used to love to heavily scent my laundry.  I’d get the prettiest smelling laundry detergent and then I’d add in the most flowery dryer sheet on top of that!

To me, fragrance equaled clean.

As I began to learn more about what synthetic fragrances can do to the body, I knew I had to make a big change.  I got serious about that change when my daughter started to get eczema.

I knew that with one child with serious food allergies and another with eczema that I had to do something.

I found out that those pretty fragrances I was using were actually really bad for my family!

In fact artificially scented products are one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution.  Did you know that?  I didn’t!

Did you know that in most of the country, the air quality in your home is worse than the air quality outside your front door?  YIKES!  That freaked me out.  

So one of the first things that had to go was the scented laundry products.

But I’m just going to be honest with you, this girl still loves nice smells!  So what’s a girl who’s making natural choices for her family to do?

As with all things, I thought “maybe I could use essential oils!”  And so I did!


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Here are 4 different ways that you can scent laundry with essential oils:

Scent Laundry with Essential Oils In the Dryer

I’m starting with possibilities for the clothes dryer because unless you are using heavily perfumed washing detergents, the scent won’t last from the washer.  Using a natural product like essential oils in the dryer can be tricky too.  Using essential oils on a lower heat setting or using very strong aromas will give you the best results.  Delicate aromas will be overcome by the dryer or destroyed by the high heat.

So when using essential oils in the dryer the two keys are:

  1. Lower heat
  2. Stronger aromatic oils (or more drops of less fragrant oils)

Either way, you won’t get the punch in the face strength of a commercial scented product.  So if you’re OK with a lighter scent, you’ll be good!

Method 1:  Add Essential Oils to Wool Dryer Balls

Use wool dryer balls to scent your laundry with essential oils

I like to use wool dryer balls instead of liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets.  Not only are they cheaper (because they’re reusable) but they are non-toxic.  (Check out the score of your dryer sheets here.)  They also do a great job of softening my clothes naturally.

It’s also really easy to use them to scent your laundry with essential oils.  Just drop several drops of your favorite oil on the dryer balls and then dry on low heat.  You’ll want to experiment with different essential oils and different amounts.  You’ll find the perfect amount to get your laundry fresh smelling.

Oh, and if your dryer balls pill up after a bit, don’t worry about it.  Being a little pilly doesn’t change how well they dry or scent your clothes!

Method 2: Add Essential Oils to a Damp Washcloth

scent laundry with essential oils using a damp cloth

Maybe you don’t have wool dryer balls, that’s OK.  This method is similar to the one above, but won’t soften your clothes.  But your clothes will smell nice.

All you need to do is get a washcloth or small towel and dampen it some.  Add your essential oils to it, adjusting amounts to your preference.  Then toss it in your dryer and let it scent your clothes.


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Scent Laundry with Essential Oils in Your Drawer or Closet

Usually I want a bit more than just the dryer method.  That’s why I use oils in my closet and in my drawers.  I find that putting them directly into the drawer does a better job infusing the aroma into the clothing.

You’ll need to add more essential oils from time to time, though, because essential oils evaporate.

Method 1:  Add Essential Oils to a Cotton Ball or Cotton Round

fragrance your laundry with cotton balls

This is a very easy way to get more natural aroma into your clothes.  Just grab a cotton ball or cotton pad and add your essential oil to it.  Then tuck several into each drawer for the scent you want.

You’ll need to refresh the cotton balls from time to time, but it’s pretty easy to keep your laundry smelling great!

Method 2:  Use Essential Oil Infused Bar Soap

scent laundry with scented soap

I actually learned this tip from my husband.  When we first got married he used to put little bars of scented soap in his drawers.  They were always neatly wrapped in a sock to keep the soap off of his clothes.  His laundry, for the record, always smelled fresh.

So when I realized that I could use essential oil scented soap, I gave it a try!  Instead of using a whole bar of soap, I cut it into smaller mini-bars.  Instead of putting them inside a sock, I put them into a clean knee-high stocking.  That keeps the soap off the clothes, but let’s the aroma out.

Over time, they will become less fragrant.  Then you can either refresh them by adding more oils, or just use them to wash.  Personally, I just wash with them because I like to use different essential oil scented soaps to change-up my laundry scents.

Bonus Tip:
You can actually use both of these methods together for extra aroma.  If you put a cotton ball inside the knee-high with the soap, you get the best of both worlds.  You’ll have the long release fragrance from the soap, and you can add oils to the cotton pad to boost the aroma.  Win, win I say!


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Would you rather use a linen spray?

I know that sometimes I want to add some freshness to my towels or to my bed sheets before I put them away.  I’ll even spray my hanging clothes in the closet, too.  My favorite thing to do for that is to use a hydrosol.

A hydrosol is the aromatic waters that are a byproduct of essential oil distillation.  They are beautifully fragrant and gentle.  You can buy them in spray bottles and just mist your linens for a beautiful, aromatic fragrance.

My two personal hydrosols for spraying linen are Lavender Hydrosol (Lavandula angustifoilia) and Rose Hydrosol (Rose centifolia).

Do I miss the heavy fragrances?

In a word, no!  I’ve found that with time I no longer needed to have overly scented clothes.  I started to really be able to appreciate the natural gentleness of essential oils.

And I really appreciated that my family still smelled good and was safer to boot.

Essential oils for the win!

Tell me, if you’ve ever tried essential oils before, what essential oil would you use to fragrance your laundry?  Share with me in the comments.

Do you know how to scent laundry with essential oils? Safe, non-toxic and smells great! 4 simple methods you can use to do it yourself!

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