Using Essential Oils In Laundry


Welcome to the aromatic world of essential oils for laundry. Forget artificial fragrances and chemical concoctions; it's time to infuse your laundry with natural, delightful scents that make opening your dryer a treat. 

Quick links:

What are essential oils?

How to use essential oils in laundry?

Best essential oils

Best combinations

How to scent dryer balls with essential oils?

How to scent dryer balls without essential oils?

How much do you need?

Dryer-safe essential oils

Will essential oils stain clothes?

Let’s explore together the fragrant world of using essential oils in laundry. 

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are nature's aromatic gift. They are highly concentrated plant extracts, harvested through methods such as distillation or cold pressing from a wide variety of plant parts: fruits, leaves, bark, and flowers. 

These oils capture the plant's scent and “essence.” They can be antimicrobial, soothing, invigorating, or refreshing, making them a versatile addition to health and wellness practices, beauty routines, and even your laundry tasks. 

When used wisely, essential oils can enhance your laundry experience, offering a natural alternative to synthetic fragrances while potentially providing subtle cleaning benefits.

How Can I Use Essential Oils For Laundry?

There are several ways you can incorporate essential oils into your laundry routine. Can you guess which one is our favorite?

Add to Wool Dryer Balls

Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to our handfelted 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.

6-pack of our Smiling Sheep Wool Dryer Balls


Add to Laundry Detergent

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.

DIY Fabric Softener

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.

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.

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.

Choosing Essential Oils to Use with Wool Dryer Balls

With hundreds of fragrances available, choosing the right essential oil can be overwhelming. Here are some factors to keep in mind.

  1. Personal preference. Choose oils with scents that you genuinely enjoy. After all, you want your clothes to smell good to YOU.
  2. Safety. Ensure the oils you select are safe for your family members. Some oils, like peppermint, might not work for everyone. Refer to reliable sources for essential oil safety guidelines.
  3. Desired effects. Whether you want uplifting, invigorating, or calming scents, pick oils known for those qualities.
  4. Cost. Certain oils can be more expensive than others. Opt for affordable options.
  5. Quality and purity. Ensure you choose high-quality, pure essential oils. Be cautious of synthetic chemicals masquerading as natural oils.

Best Essential Oils for Laundry

There are so many essential oils to choose from, each with its own 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 ideal 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 clothes.
  • 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 essential oil sprayOne or two spritzes on your dryer balls, and you’ve got long-lasting fragrance for several laundry loads.

Essential oil spray

<Buy our essential oil spray> for great-smelling laundry!

Best Essential Oils Combinations for Laundry

If you thought there were a lot of essential oils, there are infinitely more ways to combine them. Here are a few:

  1. Fresh and Clean. Combine equal parts of lavender, lemon, and rosemary for a scent that's bright, clean, and slightly floral.
  2. Sweet Dreams. Lavender and chamomile are a dreamy duo that can help bring a sense of calm and relaxation to your bedtime linens.
  3. Citrus Burst. For a zesty, energizing fragrance, try combining grapefruit, lemon, and bergamot. It's like a refreshing citrus smoothie for your clothes!
  4. Forest Retreat. Blend pine, frankincense, and cedarwood essential oils for a grounding, earthy scent that's reminiscent of a tranquil walk in the woods.
  5. Floral Bliss. Combine geranium, jasmine, and ylang-ylang for a lush, romantic scent that's a floral lover's dream.

See our complete guide to essential oil recipes for even more suggestions!

How to Scent Dryer Balls with Essential Oils

Scenting wool dryer balls with essential oils is simple, and it takes just a few seconds! Drop 2-3 drops of your preferred essential oil onto one of your dryer balls and allow it to soak in for a minute or two.

You can incorporate the scented dryer ball into your laundry routine in two ways.

Option #1: Add at the Start of the Drying Cycle

If convenience is key, simply add the dryer ball with the essential oil at the beginning of the drying cycle. This method results in a light, subtle scent permeating your laundry.

Option #2: Add at the End of the Drying Cycle

Wait until the drying cycle is finished before tossing the oil-infused dryer ball into the dryer for an additional ten minutes for a stronger scent. This method requires fewer oil drops, offers a stronger fragrance, and requires minimal effort.

How to Scent Dryer Balls Without Essential Oils

If you prefer not to add essential oils to laundry (we can’t for the life of us understand why you wouldn’t want to, but hey), here are some less-awesome ways to add scent to your laundry or dryer balls.

Herbal Sachets

Herbal sachets are a natural and aromatic way to infuse your laundry with delightful scents. These sachets are typically filled with dried herbs such as lavender, rose petals, or chamomile, known for their soothing and refreshing fragrances. 

The gentle heat of the dryer activates the herbs, releasing their enchanting aromas. Herbal sachets not only impart a pleasant scent to your laundry but also offer a touch of relaxation and serenity. As your clothes tumble, they become infused with the subtle essence of nature, creating a truly refreshing and rejuvenating laundry experience. 

You can also make your own dryer sachets by using fabric pouches or small pieces of breathable fabric secured with a string or rubber band. Fill them with various fragrant materials like dried flowers, citrus peels, or aromatic spices.

DIY Fabric Sprays

Make your own scented laundry sprays by combining water with a few drops of y essential oil. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and lightly mist your dryer balls or directly spray onto your fabrics before tossing them in the dryer. As dryer heat activates the spray, it releases the fragrance.

Too busy to make your own spray? Use ours. Our Essential Oil Anti-Static Scenting Spray is available in lavender, lemon, or orange scents, and it works super well. 

Natural Fragrance Boosters

Fragrance boosters utilize natural extracts such as vanilla or almond to infuse your clothes with a subtle and inviting fragrance. Simply add a few drops of your chosen extract to your dryer balls before tossing them in with your laundry. As the dryer balls tumble, they release their gentle scent, creating a natural and refreshing aroma. Natural fragrance boosters offer a non-toxic and chemical-free option to enhance your laundry.

Scented Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets have long been a staple in many households for their convenience, ability to reduce static cling, and the fresh scent they impart to laundry. However, they come with their own set of drawbacks. First, they are single-use, creating unnecessary waste with each load of laundry. Second, they often contain synthetic fragrances and chemicals, which can be irritating for those with sensitive skin or allergies.

In contrast, wool dryer balls like those from Smart Sheep are a far more awesome and eco-friendly option. Made from 100% natural wool, these balls are reusable for up to a thousand loads, significantly reducing waste. They naturally soften fabric, reduce static, and shorten drying times, saving energy. 

When used with our anti-static spray, wool dryer balls can provide a customizable, natural scent to your laundry without the use of synthetic fragrances or chemicals. Not only do they offer a greener alternative, but they also turn your laundry routine into a sensorial, eco-conscious experience.

How Much Essential Oil Should I Add to Wool Dryer Balls?

Here's the scoop: It doesn't take a lot of essential oil to make a big impact.

Start with about 2-3 drops of essential oil per dryer ball. This should give your laundry a light, fresh scent. For a stronger aroma, you can go up to 5-6 drops, but be careful not to overdo it. Remember, essential oils are potent—a little truly goes a long way!

If you want to make things super easy on yourself, buy our essential oil spray, spritz a little on your wool dryer balls, and toss them in. Easy as that.

Dryer Safe Essential Oils

Some essential oils are more heat tolerant, making them perfect for the warm environment of your dryer. Others, not so much.

Most citrus oils, like lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot, are great choices. They're known for their ability to withstand higher temperatures, and their fresh, zesty scents can make your laundry smell like a sunny day, no matter the weather outside.

Lavender is another dryer-safe superstar. Not only is it heat tolerant, but its calming aroma can make your bed linens and towels feel like a spa experience.

Eucalyptus oil is another good option. Its invigorating scent can make your clothes smell as fresh as a walk in an Australian forest, and it's known for its heat-resistant properties.

On the other hand, some essential oils have a lower flash point, meaning they can become flammable at relatively low temperatures. It's best to avoid such oils in a dryer setting, as the heat from the dryer could potentially reach its flash point. Examples of these include fir needles, spruce, and some types of pine oils.

Also, thyme, cinnamon, and oregano essential oils can be irritating to the skin and are generally not recommended for use on clothing that will be in direct contact with your body.

Will Essential Oils on Dryer Balls Stain Clothes?

An unexpected stain can feel like a real bummer. Fear not: when used properly, essential oils on your laundry should not stain your clothes.

Fortunately, when you use our essential oil spray, your laundry will be safe. No stain, no pain.

If you want to DIY your essential oils, keep the following in mind:

  1. Select your favorite essential oil (or blend) and add a few drops to each wool dryer ball. We recommend anywhere from 2-5 drops per ball, depending on the strength of the scent you desire.
  2. Let the dryer balls sit and absorb the oils for about 10-20 minutes. This might seem like a laundry delay, but it's a worthwhile pause. It gives the oils enough time to fully seep into the wool fibers, rather than staying on the surface where they could potentially come into contact with your clothes.
  3. While waiting, you can load your clothes into the dryer. Once the dryer balls have had enough time to soak up the essential oils, toss them in with your laundry.
  4. Start your dryer cycle as usual. As your clothes tumble with the balls, they will be gently infused with the fragrance of the essential oils.
  5. Once the cycle is done, not only will your clothes be wonderfully soft and static-free, but they'll carry a hint of your chosen scent too!

Essential Oils FAQ

Are essential oils safe to use on dryer balls?

Some essential oils are safe to use on dryer balls. Lavender, orange, lemon, tea tree oil, and rose are just a few of the best you can choose from.

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 you put essential oils on cotton balls?

Yes, 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.

What are the benefits of using oil in my laundry routine?

Using oil, specifically essential oils, in your laundry routine can provide a natural, customizable scent to your laundry, devoid of synthetic fragrances. Some essential oils also have antimicrobial properties.

How long do essential oils last on dryer balls?

It is recommended to re-scent your dryer balls every 4-5 loads on average with our awesome essential oil spray. 

Do wool dryer balls make clothes smell?

Wool dryer balls don't have a scent on their own. When infused with your favorite essential oils, they can leave your laundry with a fresh, natural fragrance. Just add a spritz of our scenting spray to each ball, then toss them into your dryer for a scented laundry experience.

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.

What are some useful laundry hacks?

If you're looking to save time and make your laundry routine more efficient, try these useful hacks.

  • Use white vinegar as a fabric softener.
  • Use mesh bags for delicates.
  • Use our wool dryer balls to make your laundry more fluffy.
  • Use ice cubes to help release wrinkles.
  • Use our amazing stain stick to banish unsightly stains from your clothes. Alternatively, try baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (more messy and inconvenient).

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 times with our amazing anti-static spray, scented with lavender, lemon, or orange 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 dryer. This process will give your clothes a lovely, natural fragrance without the synthetic fragrances often found in laundry products.

Do you have any tips for using essential oils during spring cleaning?

Essential oils can be a game-changer for your spring cleaning. Add a few drops of essential oils like lemon or tea tree to your household cleaner for a refreshing, natural aroma. Or use essential oils in laundry detergent to leave your clothes smelling fantastic. For a quick freshen-up, a homemade linen spray with your favorite oil can work wonders.

Can I use essential oils with unscented laundry detergent?

Yes, you can! Pairing essential oils with unscented laundry detergent is an excellent way to add a natural fragrance to your laundry. Simply add a few drops of oil to your laundry detergent or directly onto wool dryer balls for a subtle, refreshing scent.

What can I use instead of traditional stain remover?

If you prefer natural products, use two cups of white vinegar and a few drops of lemon essential oil. But we're all familiar with the odor of white vinegar. Luckily, Eco-Friendly Top Secret" Stain Stick is eco-friendly and works flawlessly without adding any smell. 

How can I use essential oils for cleaning beyond just laundry?

Essential oils are incredibly versatile for cleaning. You can add a few drops of your preferred oils to a spray bottle of water for a simple, effective household cleaner. Additionally, essential oil diffusers can help cleanse and refresh the air in your home, keeping it smelling fresh and clean.

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.