5 Best Essential Oils for Laundry in 2022

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Over the past year, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with trying to live toxin free. Part of that toxin free lifestyle includes making my laundry detergent! I have been using certain essential oils for laundry to make my own products!

Essential oils are natural, plant derived aromatic oils. All the fragrance and scents we love without the harsh chemicals! Essential oils can easily be used to replace chemical-based laundry detergents and even be used in the dryer to make your clothes smell great!

While essential oils are generally considered safe, it’s important to take note of certain safety precautions when using essential oils for laundry. But only when not used properly.

  • Essential oils can potentially stain clothes.
  • Some essential oils can irritate the skin more than others.
  • Essential oils have a certain flashpoint. Some are more flammable than others at lower temperatures.

Don’t let those scare you thought. You’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we are going to go over how to safely use essential oils for laundry and fresh smelling clean clothes!

Why Use Essential Oils for Laundry

Whenever you see “fragrance” on the ingredient list, that could really mean anything.

According to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, fragrances are “linked to serious health problems such as cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies and sensitivities.” The FDA does not regulate this very well at all. Fragrances can include anything derived from natural raw materials, to manufactured materials, that can be used to give a product its distinct scent.

Essential oils are a NATURAL fragrance derived from the life essence of a particular plant. Their main purpose is to be used in aromatherapy, however there are many therapeutic benefits associated with each!

  • Natural anti-bacterials. Can kill bacteria and germs on dirty laundry.
  • Has the power to remove stains and odors.
  • Leaves clothes smelling fresh

My Favorite Essential Oils for Laundry

when it comes to laundry, there are many essential oils that can be used! It’ll really come down to personal preference. Here are some of my favorites to use.

Lavender Oil

Because of it’s versatility, lavender is a popular choice. It has a calming sweet, floral scent. Often, this oil is recommended to help relax after a stressful day. But don’t discredit the power lavender can have on your laundry. Lavender is a powerful antibiotic and antiviral, leaving you with the cleanest of clothes!

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree is known for its ability to kill bacteria and inhibit germ spread. It’s very potent, so it’s best to use diluted. A little goes a long way. It’s one of the most important essential oils to use in order to stop spread of disease. So, if you or a loved one is sick and doing laundry, tea tree should be your go to essential oil!

Lemon Oil

Lemon essential oil is a great natural cleaner for laundry! Want to get to the root cause of that bad smell? Lemon is a natural antibacterial and will kill the bacteria causing those odors, leaving behind a fresh citrusy scent! You can easily substitute lemon essential oil for another citrus essential oil!

Rosemary Oil

Another versatile essential oil, rosemary has a fresh and earthy aroma that can be used in conjunction with tea tree oil to really eliminate those bad odors and kill bacteria.

Peppermint Oil

I love using peppermint anytime it involves killing germs and needing to disinfect, especially when I’m sick. It also makes a great addition to any laundry cycle due to its ability to kill bacteria. You’ll be left with a fresh and minty scent on your clothes!

How to Use Essential Oils for Laundry

So, now that you’re more familiar with why we’re using essential oils for laundry, and maybe picked out a few of your favorites from above, it’s time to put it into action! Let’s look at some of the different ways you can use them!

Make Your Own Essential Oil Laundry Detergent

Please do NOT follow other advice and just add essential oils to the water in your washing machine. Essential oils are not water soluable and will not mix well by themselves in the water. Add 15 drops of essential oils to your detergent, or better yet, make your own!

Below is a recipe I received in a Simply Earth subscription box.


  • 1 oz soap nuts ( 8 count)
  • 2 cups distilled or filtered water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 20 drops Simply Earth Clean and Fresh Essential Oil blend
  • 16 oz glass amber bottle


  • Combine the soap nuts and water in a pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  • Simmer soap nuts for 1 hour until they turn a light color.
  • Turn off heat and allow them to cool.
  • Strain the soap nuts and discard.
  • Stir in the vinegar and essential oils into the soap nut infused water.
  • Store in the glass amber bottle.

Shelf Life: 2 weeks

To Use: Add 2 to 4 tablespoons per load of laundry.

After making and using this, I was pleasantly surprised! I thought the vinegar would be overpowering, but it wasn’t. My clothes smelled so good after being washed. Don’t expect the water to soap up like conventional detergent. That’s normal and has no impact on whether or not it will work.

Don’t want to buy the Simply Earth Clean and Fresh blend? No problem! Just substitute the 20 drops of Clean and Fresh with one of your own blends below OR 20 drops of your essential oil of choice from the list above!

Jordan’s Master Clean and Fresh blend

  • 5 drops fir needle
  • 5 drops lemon
  • 5 drops neroli
  • 5 drops grapefruit

Make Your Own Essential Oil Dryer Sheets

I’ve never had any luck with just adding essential oils to my wool dryer balls and actually having a fresh scent on my clothes. I don’t know other blogger’s secret there. It’s never worked for me.

So, instead I’ve been experimenting with new dryer sheets. If you have an old t-shirt you don’t need, you can easily make your own with essential oils.

You will need:

  • 10 drops tangerine essential oil
  • 2 drops thyme essential oil
  • 10 drops clean and fresh essential oil blend
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • Cloth scraps or old t-shirt
  • resealable jar


  • Mix together the essential oils in a measuring cup, slowly stirring adding the vinegar
  • Cut up the t-shirt or cloth scraps into 5-inch squares
  • Add the cloth to the sealable jar
  • Pour the vinegar and essential oil mixture into the jar on top of the cloth
  • Seal jar

When you are ready to use, simply remove a cloth and throw it in the dryer with your clothes!

Shelf Life: 6 Weeks

Related Post: DIY Fresh Linen Spray with Essential Oils

Safety Precaution for using Essential Oils for Laundry

Only Use 100% PURE Essential Oils

It’s important to note that essential oils ARE flammable. However, only 100% PURE essential oils should be used. Make sure you are buying from a reputable brand. There are many companies out there who advertise pure essential oils, but still include fillers and additives in their mix. In order for a company to label their essential oil as pure, only 5% of the product has to actually be pure. The FDA does not regulate this, and it’s a problem.

True 100% pure essential oils will not be as flammable as other oils claiming to be.

How to Safely use essential oils for laundry:

Wash your clothes in temperatures ranging from 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This will break down the essential oils and wash them away before the clothes hit the dryer!

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