Can you put essential oils in the dryer?

If you do it correctly, you can put essential oils in the dryer. But, if you do it incorrectly, essential oils in the dryer drum can be dangerous. 

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Fire hazard

Dryer damage

Health issues

Why wool dryer balls are awesome

If you want a safe and easy way to add essential oils to your dryer, try our scenting spray. Spritz it onto wool dryer balls., toss them into the dryer, and enjoy fresh, healthy fragrances without compromising your fabrics or endangering your household. All of our laundry products are free of toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances. 


Essential Oil Anti-Static Scenting Spray in Lavender, Lemon, and Orange


Why essential oils can be dangerous for the dryer

Essential oils, which are concentrated plant extracts, have gained popularity as a natural way to add pleasant scents to laundry, but using them in the wrong way in the dryer is not safe. 

Fire hazard

Essential oils are highly flammable, and when exposed to high temperatures, they can easily combust. If you add excessive amounts of essential oils to your dryer, they create a fire hazard. This risk arises from the oils' volatile nature and their tendency to ignite under intense heat. 

The right way of using essential oils in the laundry routine doesn’t pose a fire hazard. Just lightly spritz our scenting spray onto wool dryer balls before adding them to your dryer. The oils absorb into the dryer balls and impart their scent, but aren’t concentrated enough to ignite. 

Clothing damage

When you dump oils into your dryer, they can stain your laundry. But when you use our scenting spray (spritzing it into wool dryer balls), it’s not concentrated enough to stain anything. 

Health concerns

People with sensitive skin or allergies may experience skin irritations or other adverse reactions when exposed to essential oils. Even those without pre-existing sensitivities could develop skin issues from prolonged exposure to concentrated oils.

Our specially formulated scenting spray uses essential oils in a way that reduces health risks. Our spray is gentle on the skin and doesn’t irritate. It's a safe way to make your laundry smell great.

Which essential oils are flammable?

While some essential oils are more flammable than others, there are very few that meet or exceed the safety thresholds for use in the dryer. Some of the most flammable essential oils include:

  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile
  • Tea tree 
  • Clove
  • Frankincense
  • Pine needle
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Juniper berry

Bottom line: don’t put essential oils in your dryer, unless you add them to wool dryer balls.

Additional benefits of wool dryer balls for your laundry

Wool dryer balls, made from 100% natural wool, are an excellent eco-friendly option to soften your laundry and reduce static cling. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, or a few spritzes of our essential oil spray, directly onto the wool dryer balls before you toss them in with your load. The dryer heat will release the clean scent of the oils, and your clothes will come out with a subtle, refreshing fragrance—and no oily residue. 

Wool dryer balls are reusable, often lasting for over 1,000 loads, which makes them a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice.

They are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets. No more harmful chemicals, just pure natural ingredients.


Set of 6 Handfelted "Playful Pups" 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls


Other safe options

Here are several ways to add essential oils to your laundry without the risks covered above. 

  1. Add to laundry detergent
  2. DIY fabric softener
  3. DIY linen spray
  4. Homemade dryer sachets

Add to laundry detergent

Add a few drops of essential oil to your unscented laundry detergent before starting your wash. This way, you will get scented and clean laundry. 

Just be sure to use oils that are safe for fabrics. While adding oils to laundry detergent works, it is better to add them to the tumble dryer.

DIY fabric softener

You can make a DIY fabric softener using white vinegar, water, and essential oils. Mix 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Then add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Use it as you would a conventional fabric softener.

DIY linen spray

Create a simple linen spray with water, a bit of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, and your favorite essential oils. After your clothes are dry, give them a quick spritz to freshen them up. This can also be used on sheets, towels, or other linens.

Homemade dryer sachets 

Cut small squares of breathable fabric, such as cotton or muslin, and fill them with dried herbs, flowers, or even rice. Add a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil to the filling before securing the sachet with a ribbon or string. Toss these homemade sachets in with your dryer load for a gentle, refreshing scent. 

The sachets can be reused multiple times, and you can experiment with different essential oils and fillings to find the perfect fragrance for your laundry routine.

Benefits of essential oils for your laundry

Essential oils go beyond adding a pleasant scent to your clothes. These natural oils will help you achieve a fresher, cleaner load of laundry while providing additional advantages for your clothing and well-being.

  • Non-toxic. Unlike traditional fabric softeners or dryer sheets that contain synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals, essential oils offer a natural way to infuse your laundry with a refreshing scent. 
  • Antibacterial properties. Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil have natural antibacterial properties that can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria from your laundry. This benefit makes essential oils particularly useful for gym clothes, sweaty towels, or any other items that tend to hold onto unpleasant odors.
  • Therapeutic benefits. The aromatic compounds found in essential oils can offer many therapeutic benefits. For example, lavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties—a perfect choice for bedding and sleepwear. Citrus oils, such as lemon or orange, help uplift your mood and provide an energizing fragrance to your clothes.
  • Customizable scents. Mix and match different oils to develop unique fragrance blends that suit your tastes or mood. For example, combine lavender and vanilla oils for a soothing, comforting scent, or mix lemon and peppermint for an invigorating and refreshing aroma. The ability to personalize your laundry scent with essential oils can make the task of doing laundry more enjoyable and satisfying.

Yep—essential oils are awesome. Just use them in the right way to keep your household (and your laundry) safe.

The best essential oils for laundry

There are so many essential oils to choose from, each with its benefits. Here are some of the most popular essential oils for your laundry routine:

  • Lavender essential oil is a calming and versatile oil that is amazing for fabric softeners and perfumes.
  • Lemon oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties that make it a great addition to laundry detergents.
  • Tea tree essential oil is an antiseptic powerhouse that can fight germs and viruses in laundry and natural cleaners.
  • Peppermint essential oil has natural antibacterial properties that can boost the fresh scent in the laundry.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural germ fighter with a clean scent that can aid in centering the mind and helping with focus
  • Orange essential oil has a cheerful and stimulating scent that makes it easier to be productive
  • Rose essential oil has a light, floral scent that can encourage feelings of overall wellness.
  • Bergamot has a refreshing floral citrus scent that makes it perfect for great-smelling laundry.
  • Rosemary has a rich, spicy scent and antimicrobial properties that can boost immunity.
  • Chamomile essential oil has a delicate, calming scent that can be used on its own or combined with citrus oils for an uplifting fragrance.

Essential oils are easy, fragrant, and eco-friendly. If you want to make them even easier, get our scented laundry spray and wool dryer ball bundle. One or two spritzes on your dryer balls, and you’ve got a long-lasting fragrance for several loads of laundry.

Set of 6 Original 100% Wool Dryer Balls + Essential Oil Scenting Spray (save 10%!)

Will essential oil on dryer balls damage clothes?

When used correctly, essential oils on wool dryer balls will not damage your clothes. Wool dryer balls offer an excellent way to distribute essential oils evenly throughout your laundry load without any direct contact between the oils and your fabrics. The porous surface of the wool absorbs the oils for laundry, and the dryer heat helps release the clean scent gradually, which prevents any concentrated exposure that could potentially harm your clothes.

1-3 drops of oil per dryer ball will suffice to infuse your load of laundry with a natural, pleasant fragrance. Too much oil can lead to an overwhelming scent and may increase the risk of oil stains on your clothes. 

Choose high-quality, pure essential oils that do not contain any synthetic additives or fillers, as these components may have a higher likelihood of causing damage or leaving stains on your fabrics. Stick to 100% pure essential oils to ensure the best results and minimize any potential risks to your delicate fabrics.

For particularly delicate or precious fabrics, such as silk or vintage items, be cautious or avoid using essential oils at all. While the risk of damage is low when used correctly, let’s keep your laundry looking its best.

Do essential oils damage the washing machine?

The good news is that adding a few drops of essential oil to your liquid laundry detergent or using essential oil-infused laundry products (for example, homemade fabric softeners) is generally considered safe for washing machines.

Use oils sparingly and opt for high-quality, pure essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance oils. Too much oil can leave behind residue that could clog pipes or damage the washing machine over time.

Essential oils FAQ

How many drops of essential oil do I put on wool dryer balls?

2-3 drops of essential oil are enough to add your desired fragrance to wool dryer balls. Toss them in with the laundry instead of using fabric softener.

Can I use essential oils instead of dryer sheets?

Essential oils provide a natural alternative to traditional dryer sheets. Simply add 3-5 drops of your favorite oil or oil blend to wool dryer balls before starting a dry cycle. The gentle tumbling will release a fresh scent throughout your laundry.

Is it good to heat essential oils?

It is not recommended to heat essential oils. The high temperatures can cause the delicate compounds in the oils to break down prematurely, diminishing their natural scents and therapeutic properties. It's best to avoid excessive heat exposure with essential oils.

Do essential oils expire?

While essential oils don't technically expire, their aromas and effectiveness can degrade over time, especially when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. Store them in cool, dark spaces to extend their shelf life, but replace them annually for best results.

Can you put essential oils on cotton balls?

You can put essential oils on cotton balls. It's a simple, effective way to diffuse the scents throughout your home, car, or even gym bag. Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a cotton ball and enjoy the aroma.

Can you put wool dryer balls in the washing machine?

Wool balls belong in the dryer, not the washing machine. Their mission is to reduce drying time, soften fabrics, and control static in the heat of the dryer. For washing, it's best to stick with your regular detergent or other cleaning agents.

How can I incorporate essential oils directly into my laundry routine?

To bring the power of essential oils directly to your laundry, spritz your dryer balls a couple of times with our amazing anti-static spray, scented with lavender, orange, or lemon essential oils. Buy our Essential Oil Anti-Static Scenting Spray here.

If you’d rather use straight essential oil, add a few drops of your preferred oil to your wool dryer balls. Remember to allow the oils to fully absorb before adding the balls to your clothes dryer. This process will give your clothes a lovely, natural fragrance without the artificial fragrances often found in laundry products.

How can I avoid synthetic fragrances in laundry and cleaning products?

Avoid synthetic fragrances in laundry and cleaning products by opting for natural ingredients and eco-friendly options. For example, our line of eco-friendly laundry products is good for the planet and good for your laundry.

Further reading

Wool dryer balls vs dryer sheets

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

Why should I put a safety pin on wool dryer balls?

Can you use wool dryer balls and dryer sheets together?

What are the best wool dryer balls?