Did you know that essential oils can be used for disinfecting laundry?
This is yet another one of the many uses of essential oils. In our house, we use non-toxic laundry detergent. For regular loads we use soap nuts. These are all natural berries that work as a natural detergent. Soap nuts are the most economical non-toxic laundry solution I’ve found. I bought a box of them and expect them to last for a couple of years.
For slightly dirtier loads, I use DIY laundry detergent.
But when I really want to disinfect, I add a few drops of essential oils to the wash cycle. Essential oils contain natural antibacterial agents. So I use them to add more power to my non-toxic laundry solutions.
Essential Oils for Disinfecting Laundry
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I like to keep an essential oil germ-fighting blend in the house. This is a five-oil formula with an interesting history.
It’s believed that this and similar products are modeled on a recipe used by a group of Medieval thieves. Most likely (If they existed) they didn’t use this exact blend. But, according to the story, they stayed healthy during a plague, thanks to an herbal blend passed down in their family.
This blend enable them to rob the dying without getting sick themselves. Finally, they were apprehended. They divulged their secret, in exchange for leniency.
Can You Put Essential Oils in a Washing Machine?
My germ-fighting blend is the first thing I use when I feel a cold or flu coming on. I also like to put it in my cold air diffuser during cold and flu season. But, invariably, each year, I end up with half a bottle or more. Essential oils don’t last forever. So into the laundry they go.
For the laundry, I often use essential oils I’ve had for a year or more. They’re in danger of going bad. So into the laundry they go.
Essential oils really do fight pathogens. One study found that 19 of 21 essential oils tested killed bacteria in a laboratory setting. Out of the oils tested, cinnamon essential oil emerged as a winner. Cinnamon oil is one of the aromatics included in most germ-fighting formulas.
Essential Oils for Smelly Laundry
Most essential oils would do just fine in the laundry. But there are a couple I wouldn’t use. For instance, carrot seed essential oil isn’t good for cleaning. Neither is patchouli essential oil.
But many others, including lavender, peppermint, lemon, orange and germ fighting essential oil blends can be added to a wash cycle.
What I do is put a few drops of essential oil in the washer as the water is running. I don’t worry about the oils staining my clothes. Essential oils are not really oils. Instead, they’re volatile, highly concentrated plant extracts.
Essential Oils to Deodorize Laundry
Pure essential oils shouldn’t stain, even if you pour them directly on your clothes. Still, I wouldn’t do this with a really nice outfit. I”d also be very careful of using aromatic oils in a washing machine with a really delicate item. (Please understand that I’m only sharing how I do my laundry. I can’t take responsibility for anyone else’s clothes.)
Essential oils could also be used to disinfect diapers or laundry soiled with pet stains. Although you shouldn’t use essential oils on a baby, there’s nothing wrong with adding a few drops to a wash cycle, as long as no strong smell is left on the diapers.
Adding Essential Oils to Laundry Detergent
You can use many types of essential oils in your laundry. I’ve found that it’s an excellent way to use up oils at risk of going bad. Generally, the longest lasting essential oils will retain their properties for about five or six years. Others, including citrus oils, may go bad after about a year.
So if you have half a bottle of citrus oil, and it’s getting old, using it to disinfect laundry is a good way to use it, so it won’t go to waste.
Germ Fighter Synergy Blend is something I always have on hand. I don’t want to be without it, because there’s evidence some of the individual oils it contains really can fight infections. But I generally don’t use the entire bottle during one cold and flu season. So at the end of winter, there’s always some left over for the laundry.
Essential Oils for Fresh Laundry
Also, Germ Fighter Synergy Blend is strong. But it has a pleasant scent. So it’s perfect for fighting dirty, smelly laundry. I’ve also used germ fighting formulas in my basement dehumidifier to fight mold (and also to use them up). They do an excellent job of getting rid of the mold smell in my basement.
The germ-fighting blends are marketed as cold and flu fighters. (There’s even some scientific evidence to back up this claim. One of the blends sold by a multilevel marketing company was found to kill the influenza virus, at least in a laboratory setting.)
How To Use Essential Oils to Scent Laundry
I use germ fighter blend in my laundry because I don’t tend to use the entire bottle. So I always have some left over. But lavender essential oil would also make an excellent laundry scent. In terms of smelling fresh, it’s hard to beat lavender. Its very name comes from a Latin root word meaning “to clean.”
Peppermint essential oil would also leave laundry smelling great. But this is an oil I tend to use a lot of as well. Another option would be geranium essential oil. This is a very strong aromatic. I use it occasionally. (It’s a great mood elevator and pick me up.) Because of its strength, I don’t tend to use an entire bottle before it goes bad. So it makes sense to use the leftover a laundry freshener.
Putting Essential Oils In Laundry Detergent
Another good reason for using essential oils in the laundry is if you were washing something that’s been exposed to mold. I can’t promise it will help. I have no studies to back this up. But I successfully used a germ-fighter blend in my basement dehumidifier.
My dehumidifier had the distinct smell of mold. The essential oils got rid of the mold smell.
Essential Oils for Fresh Laundry
I first learned about Germ Fighter essential oil blend for laundry after spending some time on Pinterest. This is where you’ll invariably come across pins from Young Living distributors. These Mommie bloggers have come up with endless ways to use Thieves, a proprietary blend of five essential oils.
But the proprietary Thieves blend is expensive. So, instead, I’ve purchased by germ fighting formulas from two other companies. One is Plant Therapy, which sells a similar product called Germ Fighting Synergy Blend.
I’ve also purchased Protect germ fighting blend from another company called Fabulous Frannie. I’ve been very happy with both blends. I don’t think there’s any need to use high-priced multilevel marketing oils in your laundry. Actually, I don’t tend to buy MLM oils anyway, even for personal use.
Natural Alternative To Fabric Softener Sheets
Don’t forget about your dryer cycle. Clothes softener sheets are potentially toxic. One natural alternative is wool dryer balls, which soften clothes without the nasty chemicals. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to those dryer balls to make your clothes smell clean and fresh. (Wait until the essential oil is dry and then toss in your dryer.)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.