Updated: Jan 1
The average American family does roughly 350 loads of laundry per year. That means your body has 350 chances to come into contact with chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, nonylphenol ethoxylate, and 1,4-dioxane. These substances not only have the potential to cause bodily harm, they can also contaminate drinking water and inflict damage to the environment.
If you want to make DIY laundry soap and use wool dryer balls, read on... So why not use natural products that clean clothes and leave them smelling fresh while helping revitalize, reinvigorate, and regenerate the body and mind? The following are tips, tricks, and a few recipes that combine essential oils and natural cleaning products to make stain removers, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners. Essential Oils for Laundry Lemon – Lemon not only packs a punch with its antifungal, astringent, and antiseptic properties, it also smells delightfully fresh. Lime – Crisp. Tart. Uplifting. Lime oil works wonders when blended with DIY household cleaners. Lavender – A calming oil, lavender is great with soaps, bath oils, perfumes, DIY skin care, and linen sprays. Orange – Orange comes equipped with a medium‐strength citrusy, sweet aroma, and helps stimulate a cheerful mood. Tea Tree – This strong, yet gentle oil with antiseptic properties mixes perfectly with natural DIY cleaning products, including surface cleaners and soaps. Lemongrass – The citrusy oil is often in soaps, detergents, perfume, and skin care products. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus offers a fresh, clean aroma that can aid in centering and clearing the mind. Grapefruit – A spray of grapefruit helps lift the mood and purify the air in a house. Rosemary – A few drops of rosemary may help reduce mental and emotional exhaustion while stimulating focus and improving mental clarity. Pine – Busts grease and grimy substances that plague your clothes. Spruce – Similar to pine, spruce cleans dirt and grime while purifying clothes with a clean-forest fragrance. Cypress – This oil delivers a medium-strength fresh, slightly woody, and evergreen aroma that also encourages peace, harmony, and serenity. Thyme – Works great for helping to remove dirt and grime. Palmarosa – Often found in perfumes, palmarosa blends well in linen spray to foster a calm, serene atmosphere. Citronella – Sure it’s great for repelling bugs, but it also leaves clothes clean, with a lemony-fresh aroma. Wintergreen – Using wintergreen with natural laundry detergent may provide a soothing sensation for joints and muscles after wearing the washed garment. Bergamot – Apply a few drops of this citrusy oil to a dryer sheet for fresh-smelling laundry. Cedarwood – The warm, sweet, woody, and balsamic aroma keeps clothes fresh and discourages pests, like moths. Spearmint – Spearmint has a fresh and minty aroma and may also calm the mood while promoting feelings of overall wellness. Oregano – Sanitizes clothing and leaves a warm, spicy aroma. Cinnamon Bark – Helps to give clothes a warm scent and feel. Clove Bud – Add the oil to natural cleaners to aid in uplifting and stimulating moods. Sage – Sage may help mitigate the effects of hair and skin oils on clothing. Petitgrain bigarade – This is a great natural deodorant that also helps even out oily complexions. Vetiver – Vetiver serves as a fixative for several perfumes and gives clothing a woody, slightly sweet aroma. Coriander – The oil’s sweet, spicy aroma can stimulate a positive mood while boosting memory and mental clarity. Juniper Berry – Another oil that helps combat the body’s natural oils that can actually ruin your favorite clothes.
Supplies You’ll Need So, you know what oils we recommend, but how in the world should you use them when doing laundry? Keep on hand spray bottles and basic DIY cleaning supplies to mix with the essential oils, including: White vinegar Baking soda Glycerin Lemon juice Liquid Castile soap Borax Cornmeal Distilled water Household items like an empty, clean coffee can with lid or an old Tupperware container with a top are great for mixing. Also make sure you have a few cotton washrags or old towels on hand for wiping and applying cleaners.
Dryer Balls Using a dryer also presents its own list of issues, especially if someone in the family has sensitive skin. Dryer balls offer an economical alternative to expensive single-use dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls allow users to add their favorite essential oil to deliver a clean, fresh scent to multiple loads of laundry while reducing dry times. Simply apply two to three drops of an essential oil into each dryer ball, let the oil dry before use, and toss in one to three balls with a small load, or four to six balls for larger loads.
Go-to Laundry Recipes
Basic Laundry Detergent 2 1/4 cups Liquid Castile Soap 1/4 cup White Vinegar 1 tablespoon Glycerin 3/4 cup Water 20-30 drops Essential Oil of your choice Combine everything in a plastic container or squirt bottle. Shake once or twice every time before adding to wash. To use, add 1/4 cup per average load; 1/2 cup for extra-large or heavily soiled loads. Lemony Fabric Softener 6 cups Vinegar 1 cup Water 15 drops Lemon or Lemongrass oil Combine all ingredients in a heavy-duty plastic container. Add 1 cup to rinse cycle for each load.
Baby Laundry Formula 1/4 cup Washing Soda Crystals 1/4 cup Borax 1/4 cup White Vinegar 2 tablespoons Liquid Castile Soap 2 drops Lavender oil Mix dry ingredients and vinegar together. Mix Lavender oil in Castile soap. Add the two mixtures to the laundry and launder as usual. The following is a Diaper Whitening Formula: 1/2 cup Borax 1/2 cup White Vinegar 6 – 8 drops essential oil of choice Bucket or pail of hot water Add ingredients to water. Soak diapers for 20 – 30 minutes, longer if heavily soiled, before laundering.
Grease Stains 2 teaspoons Cornmeal 2 teaspoons Salt 2 teaspoons Baking Soda Mix together and cover the stain with the formula. Let stand for 30 minutes or more to absorb as much grease as possible, then wipe away. Soak the remaining stain in the following formula: 1/2 cup White Vinegar 1/4 cup Water 5 drops Lemon or Orange oil Soak until stain breaks free. Wash in the hottest water the fabric can stand.