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Essential oils are natural aromatic products extracted from plants. They are typically associated with aromatherapy and their ability to stimulate areas of your limbic system, such as emotions, behavior and long-term memory.
However, aromatherapy suggests that the only benefits of essential oils comes from inhaling them. They are far more versatile than you might think.
Essential oils can be used to enhance your regular laundry routine. Whether it is to improve your laundry’s scent or to clean your washing machine, essential oils could be a great addition to your laundry room. Read on to find out how!
Essential Oils for Fresher Clothes
Essential oils can be used to make your laundry smell fresh and clean. Unlike the synthetic fragrances from commercial detergents and dryer sheets, which can cause some skin issues, like eczema, essential oils are much more natural. Moreover, essential oils can help break down the more stubborn scents from smelly clothes.
There are a few ways to freshen up your clothes in the washing machine. First, you can simply add 4-6 drops of your chosen essential oil straight into the washer or into the detergent compartment of the washing machine. The second option is to DIY your own essential oil laundry detergent powder or essential oil laundry detergent liquid.
Here are some essential oils that will freshen up your clothes in no time:
- Sweet orange
- Ylang Ylang
Essential Oils as A Natural Fabric Softener
Another way to freshen up your clothes is to use your essential oils as a natural fabric softener. There are a number of ways you can do this in the dryer. However, washing machine softeners are a more effective way to go.
You see, homemade fabric softeners for washing machines balance out the pH balance in your washing machine better than commercial liquid fabric softeners. Not to mention, they can make your clothes a lot softer.
To use essential oils as a fabric softener, you can simply mix a few drops of an essential oil into the water and pour it into the fabric softener compartment in your washer.
Another option is to create your own fabric softener crystals, using epsom salt and essential oils. A simple mix of vinegar, baking soda, and an essential oil can do the trick as well.
Any of these recipes will ensure your clothes have a more natural, long-lasting scent and softness without the artificial chemicals of dryer sheets.
Essential Oils for Disinfecting Laundry
Despite popular belief, washing machines are not 100% clean. Unless you are constantly disinfecting and cleaning your washing machine, you are actually recycling microbes and germs back into your clothes, even if they are clean.
Moreover, commercial detergents can only penetrate so much into clothes. Usually they only deal with dirt on the top layer of clothes, but pathogens and germs can still linger deep into the fibers of your clothing.
Fortunately, essential oils present a solution. Essential oils contain many antibacterial agents, making them a great laundry disinfectant option. Using essential oils is a great way to combat illnesses long before they happen, and they can even speed up recovery.
To disinfect your laundry with essential oils, try adding a drop of lavender or tea tree oil with an unscented detergent. Both lavender and tea tree oil have antibacterial and antifungal properties that will freshen and disinfect your clothes.
You can also add a mix of vinegar and baking soda with 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil to your load during its rinse stage.
Essential Oils to Remove Mold and Mildew
Similarly, essential oils can be used to deep clean your washing machine. Like we said, washing machines can easily harbor pathogens and germs. Moreover, washing machines can be breeding ground for mold and mildew.
According to many washing machine repairmen, this can be on account of leaving your wet laundry in the washer for too long, using cold water too often to wash your clothes, or washing heavily soiled clothes with regular loads.
Any of these things can easily result in a growth of bacteria and mold inside your washer and a musty smell that can cling to your clothes.
To clean your washing machine with essential oils, try to mix:
- Hot water
- An antifungal essential oil
Add this mix in with an empty hot load in your washing machine. Run it several times until the mold and mildew goes away.
Here are some antifungal essential oils to use:
- Tea tree
Tips When Using Essential Oils in Washing Machine
Before you add essential oils in your washing machine, use these tips to ensure you are getting the best out of them.
- Make sure you use cold water with essential oils. Hot water breaks essential oils down quickly which prevents them from being effective.
- Try to add essential oils later on in the washing cycle. This will ensure they can last longer in the wash and are not washed away during rinse cycles.
- Air Dry your clothes afterward. Again, heat can break down the essential oils. Moreover, they can run the risk of catching fire.
Essential oils have a multitude of benefits that only starts with aromatherapy. They can be diffused around your home to encourage a relaxing environment, but most importantly they can greatly enhance your laundry routine.
Not only do they provide fresher and softer clothing, they also support your health in many ways. Moreover, they wean you off of the artificial chemicals and scents of commercial detergents and fabric softener with something far more natural and gentler with your skin.
We hope this article was helpful to you. Do you know any other ways to incorporate essential oils into your laundry? What are your favorite essential oils to use at home? Please share your responses and questions with us!