RMO logo

August 3, 2015

27 Incredible Essential Oils for Laundry Use

Cleaning clothes is something we all have to deal with every week. Many of the commercial detergents are full of harsh chemicals and strong scents. However, when you work on using natural soaps and essential oils for laundry, you have less soap build-up in your clothing, and less chemicals going down into the sewer system and eventually into the environment. Using essential oils for laundry is a great way to clean your clothes naturally.

In our continuing efforts to help you save the environment with more natural cleaning products, we have our next installment in the Cleaning House With Essential Oils series. We have several tips and recipes for different stain removers, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners  to give you something new to do to use natural cleaners in your laundry.

Supplies to Have On Hand:

(This list will be the same on each of the cleaning house articles)

Cleaning supplies: Equipment:
  • Borax
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Castile Soap, liquid and solid
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Washing Soda Crystals (L-ascorbic acid powder/crystals)
  • Oil based soap (Murphy’s is good)
  • Concentrated Oil Soap Paste
  • Citrus seed extract (different from the essential oil)
  • Beeswax
  • Carnauba wax
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Washing soda, generic name sodium carbonate
  • Powdered Milk
  • Alum
  • Vitamin C Tablets
  • Salt
  • Linseed oil
  • Cornmeal
  • Turpentine
  • Lemon Juice
  • Aloe Vera Gel and Juice
  • Natural Cat Litter
  • Plastic squirt bottles
  • Plastic spray bottles
  • Plastic containers with shaker tops
  • Coffee cans with lids
  • Glass jars with lids
  • Cotton cloths
  • Rags
  • Cellulose sponge cloth
  • Gallon size buckets
  • Mops
  • Paper towels




Essential Oils for Laundry

Lemon, Lime, Lavender, Orange, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Pine, Spruce, Cypress, Thyme, Palmarosa, Citronella, Wintergreen, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Spearmint, Oregano, Cinnamon Bark, Clove Bud, Sage, Petitgrain bigarade, Vetiver, Coriander, Juniper Berry

(This list contains all oils used in all the cleaning articles.)

A Few Points of Interest



Here are a few recipes for various ways to use essential oils in your laundry. This can get you started and help you find ways to develop your own recipes.

Pre-Treatment for Stains

Place clothes in the washer and add enough warm water to cover them. Combine all ingredients and add to the washer. Let clothes soak for an hour or more, then wash as usual.


Lemon & Tea Tree Perspiration Presoak

Combine all ingredients and add to the clothes in a washer ful of warm water. Allow to soak for an hour or two, then wash as usual.

Grease Stains

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:

Soak until stain breaks free. Wash in hottest water the fabric can stand.

Basic Liquid Laundry Detergent

Combine all ingredients into 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. The following is a Bleach Alternative Formula:

Add all ingredients to laundry load. For extra whitening power, let the clean clothes hang outside to dry in the sun. *This formula makes enough for one load. You can make more but keep lemon juice and essential oils separate until ready to use.

Lemon Fresh Linen Wash

Combine all ingredients into a plastic container, preferably one with a pour spout. Give this formula a gentle shake, or just turn upside down once or twice, before every use. For an average load, use 1/4 cup.

*This can be used for any type of laundry but it’s especially nice for cotton linens that have been allowed to dry naturally in the sun after washing. The aloe vera juice and vinegar soften, while the citric acid and grapefruit extract brighten and sanitize.

Hard Water Formula

Combine the soap, washing soda, and borax in a heavy plastic container. Blend the vinegar and essential oils in a separate container, preferably one with a pour spout. Use 1/2 cup of the soap mixture for washing, add 1/2 cup of the vinegar mixture during the rinse cycle.

Fine Washable Formula

Add Rosemary oil to the warm water. Place clothes in washer and add soap and Rosemary water. Launder in cold water on the gentle cycle. *Do not use on 100% wool, silk, or satin.

Baby Laundry Formula


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:

Add ingredients to water. Soak diapers for 20 – 30 minutes, longer if heavily soiled, before laundering.

Lemony Fabric Softener

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-duty plastic container. Add 1 cup to rinse cycle for each load. *You can also use Orange oil or a spice oil or spice blend for the essential oil(s).

Laundry Starch

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before every use. Lightly spray the garment and iron as usual.

And Finally

We all love to have clean laundry and it’s so much more fun to enjoy fresh clean laundry when you have used natural detergents and the scent of your own choosing. Let us know what you like to do with your laundry. What experiences have you had using essential oils for laundry? Tell us in the comment section down below.

  Leave a reply...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fair warning!!! Do not use Arm and Hammer laundry booster super washing soda! It turned into a science experiment of incredibly fast growing, fizzing, science fair volcano like huge mess all over the place!

Katie | March 18, 2017 | Reply

I’ve been wanted to ass essential oils to my laundry, but I’ve read in a fee news articles that they can catch fire, so use caution. do you find this to be true? last question is your laundry recipe seems so easy, I love it, but I also read that vinegar and castile soap do not mix and cancel each other out?

Jill | August 23, 2017 | Reply

    Jill, we have not heard of any incidents where the essential oils are the cause of a laundry fire. However, this does not mean it is not possible but it is also important to note that lint in a dryer can also be a hazard. So being watchful and taking precautions and being aware of any warning signs is a good idea. As far as the vinegar and castile soap canceling each other out has not been our experience.

    Rocky Mountain Oils | September 5, 2017 | Reply

    I know of many people that use oils in their laundry and they have never had problems with it.

    Susan Greene | October 25, 2017 | Reply

I do not recommend using borax. I was at a place where we used it on towels and after a while they felt horrible. However I am not sure but something like the oil purify may help this problem.

Susan Greene | October 25, 2017 | Reply

I would like you to explain how you added the Baking Soda to the mix of Fabric Softener.

Paul Welch | December 15, 2017 | Reply

    We reviewed this recipe and made updates. Baking soda has been removed from the fabric softener recipe as the baking soda does not mix with white vinegar well.

    Rocky Mountain Oils | January 10, 2018 | Reply

I use both borax and Arm and Hammer washing soda in my detergent recipe and have no complaints whatsoever.

Karen | January 1, 2018 | Reply