Spruce up your laundry with essential oils

From lavender to lemon, these essential oils can help make your laundry smell nicer and improve your mood.

Doing the laundry is never a fun job but, let’s be honest, there’s nothing like getting into a freshly-made bed, or putting on a fluffy cardigan that smells of your favourite fabric softener come December. But that’s the thing: laundry doesn’t need harsh chemicals to smell nice; essential oils do the job just as well!

Essential oils are a basically a plant or flower’s essence extracted as a liquid. As such, they also contain a number of the properties the plant is known for, including its scent. This is the basis of aromatherapy, which is the practice of using such oils for physical and emotional health, meaning adding essential oils to your laundry does more than make it smell nice.

Among the most popular essential oils to add to your laundry are:

  • Lavender, which is perfect for pyjamas and bed linen, as its scent calms and relaxes.
  • Bergamot, which has a refreshing, yet deep smell. It also has antibacterial properties, making it ideal for towels.
  • Peppermint, which has a sharper smell that’s both cool and refreshing. This works great with gymwear or daywear.
  • Lemon, which smells fresh and uplifting, and is perfect for indoor clothes. It also has antibacterial properties and can also help remove stains and make whites whiter.

These are just some of the dozens of essential oils you can use, and there are whole websites and encyclopaedias dedicated to the different properties of each extract. Even so, how you use essential oils in your laundry makes a difference.

  • You can put some drops onto dryer balls, allowing them to lightly scent your clothes while they dry in the tumbledryer.
  • You can dilute them in vinegar or unscented laundry detergent, and then adding as much of the mix to your wash as you would laundry detergent. The recommended mix here is 10-20 drops for every 120ml.

There are also other things to keep in mind, including:

  • Some essential oils can stain your clothes, so always try a test patch before you go all out. To do this, put an undiluted drop of the essential oil on a piece of fabric and wait until it dries. If it leaves no mark, then it should be safe to use.
  • Some essential oils are toxic to pets, so always check with your vet before you use them on their objects.
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