The benefits of essential oils have been making their way around the blogosphere, but this isn’t a new craze. Using essential oils for healing, wellness, and masking terrible odors have been around for centuries. Luckily, many families are looking for more natural ways to manage their health and scent their homes, so they’ve made a resurgence. But what many haven’t discovered yet is the benefits of using essential oils in the laundry room, but overlooking this great way to use their favorite oils means they’re missing out on some natural cleaning power!
Ways to Use Essential Oils in the Laundry Room: Stain Removal
Stains are a pain, and it seems that every time I get a new outfit, I stain it during the first wearing. It’s so frustrating, especially if it’s an oil-based stain which is just about impossible to get out. There are also those stinky stains the dog and kids contribute, and of course, my hubby adds motor oil, dirt, paint, and goodness knows what else to the mix.
Of course, there are plenty of commercial stain removers to choose from, and some work better than others but finding a natural way to care for stains takes a little more work. But, if you keep a simple essential oil on hand, you may be able to tackle those stains. All you need is some Lemon Essential Oil. It’s so versatile you’ll want to have this in your oil arsenal at all times. In the laundry room, rub a drop or two directly onto a grease stain and then launder as usual.
Ways to Use Essential Oils in the Laundry Room: Stinky Washer Odor Remover
If you have a front loader washer, you’ve likely had to deal with a stinky washer from time to time. The first thing to do to prevent the stink from happening is to leave the door ajar after the end of the cycle, so it has a chance to dry out complete. Of course, if you have children, this isn’t an option – we don’t want any kiddos crawling inside. So another option is to dampen a washcloth thoroughly with warm water and add 5-10 drops of e lemon or lime essential oil. Put it inside and let it work until the next time you use the washer.
Ways to Use Essential Oils in the Laundry Room: Make Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent (Dry Soap)
There are many popular DIY laundry detergent recipes out there, but this is a basic version you can make your own. This should be HE safe (meaning it doesn’t produce too many suds), but try it the first time when you’re home to make sure it doesn’t cause a problem. My washer is a top load HE and it works great).
- 3 cups washing soda (also called soda ash)
- 3 bars Castile soap (I suggest Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap*), grated
- 3 cups Borax
- 1/4-1/2 tsp (about 25 – 50 drops) of good essential oil** – try lavender, grapefruit, lime or orange, and yes, you can mix them for your signature scent! The amount depends on how scented you want your wash – use the same scent in your dryer (see the scented dryer ball spray above).
- Grate the soap with a hand grater or in a food processor – it needs to be ground very finely so that it’s dispersed throughout the powder evenly.
- Place the grated soap in a large bowl and add the Borax and washing soda and with a wooden spoon, carefully mix (the Borax and washing soda can be drying to your hands, but they’re not dangerous).
- Dot the essential oils over the top and stir.
- Store in an air-tight glass jar (approx one 1/2 gallon or 2 quart containers) and store with a tablespoon or other measuring device nearby. Use two tablespoons of homemade laundry soap for an average load and add one tablespoon of a natural oxygen booster or 1/4 cup baking soda for a load that needs a little extra cleaning. Pre-treat stains and use a minimum of warm water.
*I love Dr. Bronner’s products and the Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soaps are among my favorites. They’re perfect in the bath, shower, or this recipe and they’re biodegradable, gentle, vegan, and can be used to wash your body, face, and hair! They only use organic and fair trade ingredients and the scents are created with essential oils. The current scents are Almond, Baby Unscented, Citrus, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, Rose, Tea Tree, and Green Tea. If you use a scented soap, you’ll need to adjust the amount of essential oil you add. If you want to add your own, use the Unscented. For showering? I love the peppermint – it’s an amazing way to wake up in the morning! I also like the citrus for the morning as well and then lavender for a bath before bed and I’m all set!
**Buying a good essential oil is imperative. Cheap imitations are flooding the market and it’s getting harder to tell the real stuff from the fake. Buy from trusted sources and reputable companies. For me, that’s NOW Foods Essential Oils and Aura Cacia. They’re my tried and true and always perfect oils.
ESSENTIAL OILS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM: SCENTED DRYER BALLS
If you don’t already use wool dryer balls, buy them! They help your clothes dry faster and keep them static free, so you can stop buying those expensive, overly scented, and chemical-filled dryer softener sheets. If you miss your scented clothes and towels, put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the dryer balls before tossing them into the dryer. Giving the 0il spot a little rub before you toss it in will help stop it from staining your clothes. If you’re not ready for dryer balls (but trust me, they do cut down on the drying time, and if used correctly, they work great!), then put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a water dampened piece of fabric (like a washcloth) and dry it with your load. Or, make a wool dryer ball spray by mixing 10-15 drops of essential oil for every cup of water in a fine mist spray bottle and spray the balls before use. Be sure you shake before spraying and adjust the scent to suit your taste. Lavender, Rose, Geranium, lemon, and combinations of these give you great smelling laundry.
Essential oils in the laundry room can help remove stains, take the place of expensive dryer fabric sheets, and can scent your homemade laundry soap. But you’ll have to do some trial and error because we all have different stains, our ability to smell isn’t the same, and some have hard or soft water. Plus, the fabric content matters too. But do it and you’ll be rewarded with a natural way to care for your family’s clothes!
Have you tried any of these solutions? I’d love to hear about it. Do you know of other ways to use essential oils for laundry? I’d love to hear about it! Please share them in the comments!