Along with switching from medicine to whole, unprocessed foods and herbs and essential oils, I’ve also switched over to greener and less toxic household cleansers, soaps and shampoos, and beauty products. Contrary to popular belief, our body often absorbs what we topically apply to it just as rapidly, effectively, and as potently as if having ingested the actual product. Indeed, it has been said that our skin is our largest organ; yet another reason why essential oils work so well merely rubbed into the skin.
Whenever possible, I try to make my own cleansers and self-care products. I love DIY recipes – provided they are: a) cost effective, b) not too hard to make, and c) actually WORK. Currently, I make my own hand soaps, shampoos, surface cleanser sprays, and deodorant. And I continue to experiment with various recipes I find online. (Check out some of my favorite ones in this post: DIY With Essential Oils.) Unfortunately, I have yet to find a DIY recipe for laundry detergent that fits the above criteria. However, I do use use essential oils in place of fabric softener and dryer sheets, and to enhance the smell of my basic, unscented detergent.
How I use essential oils in my laundry routine:
1. Detergent – I use a very basic (yet effective), non-toxic detergent. But since I enjoy having freshly scented clothes, I’ll usually add a couple of drops of Lavender, Lemon, or Purification oil while pouring the detergent into the dispenser. The specific oil I choose to add in varies, depending on my laundry load’s needs – Lavender has an amazing scent. Lemon (and any of the other citrus oils) are very useful for removing grease and oil stains. Purification oil (a blend unique to the Young Living line of oils) is very effective at neutralizing bad odors in clothes caused by the occasional stomach virus, bed wetting, or just plain old boy sweat (fellow Moms, you know what I mean!).
2. Fabric Softener – Instead of store-bought fabric softener, I use this substitute: Add a few drops of an essential oil (the same oil you added to the detergent) to some plain vinegar – 1/2 cup for a small load, 1 cup for a large load – and then pour the whole solution into the fabric softener dispenser.
3. Easy Dryer Sheets – Apply a few drops of essential oils to a paper towel and toss it in the dryer with your load!