Essential oils can freshen your laundry in an eco-friendly, nontoxic way. They’re easy to use and convenient, and they smell so good.
Whether your family likes citrusy scents or leans more towards the calming whispers of lavender, there's an essential oil that's just right for you. Maybe you're in the mood for the crisp freshness of pine. Or perhaps you're yearning for the warm, soothing embrace of vanilla or cedarwood. The world of essential oils is a scented buffet, ready to cater to your every whim.
Using single essential oils is fun, but blending gets even more fun. Try mixing the fresh scents of bright orange and grounding sandalwood. Or floral geranium with uplifting lemon. The combinations are endless, and each blend is an opportunity to create a unique scent-scape that brings joy to laundry day.
How to Use Essential Oils to Scent Laundry
There are several ways you can incorporate essential oils into your laundry routine. Can you guess which one is our favorite?
Wool Dryer Balls
Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to wool dryer balls before throwing them in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will help disperse the scent on your clothes. This is a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to conventional dryer sheets. You can dab the oil directly to the dryer balls, or…
For added convenience, just buy our essential oil spray and save yourself some time. A couple spritzes on your dryer balls and your laundry will be fragrant as…an orange grove. Or a lemon grove. Or a lavender field. It will be so fragrant, and you will love it.
Each scenting should last for 3-5 loads of laundry, and you can re-up as soon as the scent begins to fade a bit.
Add a few drops of essential oil to your unscented laundry detergent before starting your wash. This way, your clothes get cleaned and scented all at once. Just be sure to use oils that are safe for fabrics. While adding oils in laundry detergent works, we prefer adding them to the dryer even more.
You can make a DIY fabric softener using white vinegar, water, and essential oils. Mix 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Use it as you would a conventional fabric softener.
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.
Scented Drawer Sachets
Place a few drops of essential oil on cotton balls or small fabric sachets and place these in your drawers or closet. Your clothes will gradually absorb the scent.
The Best-Smelling Essential Oil Combinations
If you’re looking to create your own essential oil blends, we’ve put together the best combinations of dryer-safe scents. Everyone has their own preferences, so choose a blend that works for you and your family. Each of the following laundry recipes has been carefully curated for its olfactory impact. Make sure to use pure essential oils—no artificial fragrances allowed.
Here are some of the best-smelling essential oil recipes for laundry.
Citrus Burst: Lemon & Sweet Orange Blend
This blend is as cheerful and invigorating as a summer morning. It combines the bright, tangy scent of lemon with the juicy freshness of sweet orange to give your laundry a clean, uplifting aroma.
Recipe: apply 5 drops of lemon essential oil and 5 drops of sweet orange essential oil to each dryer ball. Allow the oils to fully absorb before use.
Lavender Dreams: Calming Lavender & Chamomile Mix
A soothing lullaby in scent form. The calming properties of lavender, coupled with the gentle, relaxing aroma of chamomile, create a serene atmosphere perfect for bed linens and sleepwear. Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for a reason. Paired with chamomile, it hits different.
Recipe: dispense 6 drops of lavender essential oil and 4 drops of chamomile essential oil onto each dryer ball. Let the oils seep in before starting your dryer.
Forest Breeze: Pine & Cedarwood Combo
This blend is like a refreshing walk in a lush forest. The crisp, refreshing scent of pine paired with the warm, woody notes of cedarwood invigorates your senses and is great for refreshing activewear.
Recipe: apply 5 drops each of pine and cedarwood essential oil to each dryer ball. Wait for the oils to be fully absorbed before using the dryer balls.
Floral Fantasy: Geranium & Bergamot Harmony
This blend is an olfactory garden party. The sweet, rose-like aroma of geranium mingles beautifully with the sunny citrus notes of bergamot, adding a touch of floral luxury to your laundry.
Recipe: distribute 5 drops each of geranium and bergamot essential oil onto each dryer ball. Allow for full absorption before tossing them in your dryer.
Invigorating Citrus: Grapefruit & Lime Blend
This blend is a citrusy wake-up call for your senses. The zesty, uplifting scent of grapefruit combined with the tart freshness of lime gives your laundry a clean, invigorating aroma that's hard to resist.
Add 6 drops of grapefruit essential oil and 4 drops of lime essential oil to each dryer ball. Let the oils soak in before starting your dryer.
Sweet Serenity: Ylang-Ylang & Vanilla Mix
This blend is a comforting embrace in scent form. The rich, sweet aroma of ylang-ylang pairs wonderfully with the warm, soothing notes of vanilla, leaving your clothes with a sweet, comforting scent.
Apply 5 drops each of ylang ylang and vanilla essential oil onto each dryer ball. Wait for full absorption before use.
Citrus Spice: Sweet Orange & Clove Combo
This blend has a warming, festive scent. The juicy sweetness of orange melds beautifully with the spicy, warming aroma of clove, making your laundry smell like a cozy holiday kitchen.
Dispense 6 drops of sweet orange essential oil and 4 drops of clove essential oil onto each dryer ball. Let the oils seep in before use.
Exotic Escape: Lemongrass & Jasmine Harmony
This blend is a tropical getaway in scent form. The exotic, citrusy aroma of lemongrass combined with the intoxicating floral notes of jasmine makes your laundry smell like a far-off paradise.
Apply 5 drops each of lemongrass and jasmine essential oil to each dryer ball. Allow for full absorption before use.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant extracts that capture the natural essence and beneficial properties of their source plant. They're derived through processes such as steam distillation or cold pressing, which preserve the aromatic compounds.
Each essential oil contains hundreds of chemical compounds, the combination of which gives each oil its unique aroma and properties. Here are a few examples:
- Terpenes: these are the most common compounds in essential oils. Monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are particularly prevalent. They contribute to the oils' scent and have been associated with various health benefits. For example, limonene, a monoterpene found in citrus oils, has a bright, fresh aroma and exhibits antibacterial properties.
- Esters: found in oils like lavender and bergamot, esters contribute to a calming, soothing aroma and are known for their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. For example, linalyl acetate is largely responsible for the characteristic floral, slightly fruity, fresh aroma of lavender, and it plays a significant role in lavender oil's therapeutic properties.
- Aldehydes: a group of organic compounds present in many essential oils. They're known for their strong fragrances and are often responsible for the distinctive scents of the oils in which they're found. For instance, citral in lemongrass oil provides a strong lemon scent and exhibits antiseptic properties.
- Ketones: found in oils like rosemary and sage, ketones (for example, camphor) can stimulate cell regeneration and promote relaxation. However, they can be toxic in high concentrations, so essential oils high in ketones should be used with caution.
- Phenols: found in oils like clove and thyme, phenols are often associated with strong antimicrobial properties. However, they can also be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes, so they should be used in low concentrations.
- Alcohols: among the most beneficial and least toxic compounds found in essential oils. They're often associated with a pleasant fragrance and therapeutic properties like antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. Examples include linalool in lavender and geraniol in geranium.
Do Essential Oils Damage the Washing Machine?
When you're smart about it, essential oils and washing machines can be best buddies. But remember, essential oils are the superheroes of the plant world; a little goes a long way! Here are some tips to remember:
- Dilute, dilute, dilute: imagine showing up to a whisper-only party with a megaphone. That's what pouring undiluted essential oils into your washer is like. Mix those mighty oils into your detergent.
- Quality is king: just as you wouldn’t use dish soap in place of your trusted detergent, don’t be tempted by the siren call of cheap, low-quality oils. They may serenade you with their low prices, but they often harbor secret synthetic additives that might not play nice with your machine.
- Less is more: like that time you accidentally added too much chili powder to the stew, overdoing it with essential oils can leave you with a not-so-tasty outcome. A few drops per load is like the perfect pinch of salt: it enhances without overwhelming.
- Rinse it real good: if the thought of oil residues keeps you up at night, just run an extra rinse cycle. It's like giving your washing machine a refreshing sip of water after a spicy meal.
While you can easily incorporate essential oils into the wash cycle, we prefer to use them in the dryer. It’s just so much more convenient to spritz some of our essential oil spray onto your wool dryer balls and toss them in!
How Often Should You Re-Scent Your Dryer Balls?
Scenting your dryer balls is a bit like watering your favorite houseplant. You need to keep an eye (or nose, in this case) on it and refresh it as needed.
Depending on the essential oil blend you’re using, your wooly friends may start to lose their aroma after 3-5 loads. But don't fret; they're not giving up on you! They're just politely asking for a little pick-me-up.
So, every 3-5 loads, put your nose to the test. Is your laundry coming out smelling as fresh as a geranium, or is it a little more 'meh'? If it's the latter, it's time for a scent intervention! A spritz of our essential oil spray on each dryer ball, and they'll be back in action, ready to tackle your laundry with renewed vigor.
Speaking of wool dryer balls, we make the world’s best. These are handcrafted from 100% New Zealand handfelted wool and last for thousands of loads.
Easy Essential Oil Spray for Wool Dryer Balls
Adding essential oil to dryer balls is a breeze with our spray. Plus, you eliminate static cling in one blow (or spritz). We understand the appeal of a DIY approach, but we also know that sometimes you just want a quick, mess-free solution. That's exactly why we've created the Smart Sheep Essential Oil Anti-Static Spray, specially designed for wool dryer balls.
This effortless spray takes the guesswork out of measuring and dabbing. A few spritzes directly onto your wool dryer balls, and voila! Your laundry will be unbelievably fresh and clean.
But we didn't stop at practicality. We also ensured that this spray delivers an aromatic experience that's second to none. Choose from three enticing scents: the soothing calm of lavender, the invigorating brightness of lemon, or the warm cheer of orange.
So why not give your laundry, and your day, an easy lift? With the Smart Sheep Anti-Static Essential Oil Spray, using essential oils for laundry is ridiculously easy!
For the washing portion of your laundry, try our eco-friendly detergent strips. They're an awesome replacement for toxic laundry soap. Say sayonara to powdered laundry detergent or pouring messy liquids. Just toss a strip or two in your washer and call it a day.
And for that stubborn grease stain or red wine spot, try our amazing stain stick. It’s so effective, it should probably be illegal. Seriously, this stain stick is one of the best laundry hacks you’ll ever find.
Essential Oil Recipes FAQ
How can I use essential oils in my laundry routine?
To incorporate essential oils into your laundry routine, you can add a few drops of single essential oils like tea tree or eucalyptus radiata directly to your laundry detergent or dryer balls. Or you can combine essential oils, creating a natural laundry blend. If you’re ever adding essential oils directly to laundry, you may want to use carrier oils to dilute them. Carrier oils are base oils such as vegetable oil.
I've heard about using essential oils for spring cleaning. Can you share some cleaning tips?
Essential oils are great for spring cleaning. Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which make it perfect for homemade cleaning products. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to an essential oil diffuser to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
Can essential oils help with stain removal in laundry?
Essential oils don’t remove stains, but our Eco-Friendly Top Secret Stain Stick sure does! Try it, and you’ll say, “Where have you been all my life?”
How can I incorporate essential oils into my natural living lifestyle?
Essential oils can be a fantastic part of a natural living lifestyle, offering a versatile range of uses from diffuser blends for a naturally fragrant home to homemade cleaning products for a chemical-free clean.
Adding oils directly to your laundry can provide a natural, fresh smell to your clothing. Single essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus radiata are not only refreshing but also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.