Can I Use Essential Oils in My Washing Machine?

by Arupe

It seems like a very good idea to add essential oils into our laundry so that we can freshen our clothes with our favorite essential oil blends. However, is this really a good idea? And are there any complications or drawbacks of doing so?

First of all, there are many other ways we could apply our favorite essential oils on our clothings, however adding them into the washing machine may not be the most effective way. There are several things you could do to improve its effectiveness too. Read on for some tips as well as alternative ideas.

How a Washing Machine Affects Essential Oils

We need to understand the purpose of washing machines. They basically function as what they are called, washing of our clothes. Your washing machine is designed to remove dirt and odors of your clothes. This means that your essential oils are not spared as well!

This means that your essentials oils you add at the start of the wash will basically go to waste since the washing machine is trying hard to wash it away. Putting essential oils in your washing machine is not the most effective way to go, but if you are still insistent on doing so, here are some tips and tricks to improve the outcome.


Tips on Adding Essential Oils in Washing Machine

  1. Use Cold Water.
    Hot water quickens the pace of your essential oils being broken down. A simple solution to minimize this is to wash your clothes in cold water if you are adding essential oils into your load. You want to preserve your essential oils as much as possible.
  2. Add Essential Oils Later in the Wash Cycle.
    Adding the essential oils later in your wash cycle will also help to maximize their stay in the wash. In your entire laundry procedure, I recommend adding essential oils at the end stages, so that most of the essential oils are preserved and not being washed away by the thorough wash and rinse cycles.
    * By adding essential oils into the fabric softener / conditioner compartment instead of the detergent compartment, you are delaying the application of the oils to a later stage.
  3. Air Dry or Turn Off the Heat in Your Dryer.
    Remember not to apply your clothes to any sort of heat. If you put your clothes in the dryer after the wash with the heat function turned on, your essential oils will still be broken down by the heat no matter what. You do not want that to happen after all the precautions you have already taken. Check out my other article on Can I Put Essential Oils in My Dryer?


Safety Tips When Putting Essential Oils in Dryer

Furthermore from a safety issue standpoint, essential oils are highly  flammable. If the oils are subjected to high heat and dry conditions, there is a possibility of them catching on fire. All essential oils are flammable to different extends, but oils in the citrus family tree are the most volatile, and thus will be more prone to catching on fire, especially with their low flash point of 40˚C to 60˚C (104˚F to 140˚F).


Alternatives to Adding Essential Oils into Washing Machine

Add into Dryer. As mentioned earlier, add essential oils to your dryer instead of your washing machine. Apply 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil blend onto a cotton ball or a reusable rag, and put it into the dryer with your other clothes. Remember to use a low heat setting, and minimize the use of oils from the citrus family tree.

Use an essential oil spray. Create a mixture of your favorite blend and dilute it according to this:
• 2 tablespoons / 1 ounce of vodka or witch hazel
• 1/2 cup of distilled or tap water
• 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil blend
• Mix them together in a 4 to 6 ounce (120 to 180ml) spray bottle

Then spritz onto your clothes and leave it to air dry for around 10 minutes before folding and storing them.


My Conclusion on Using Essential Oils in Washing Machine

At the end of the day, you can see that, although still possible, using essential oils in your washing machine is not the most recommended way to go. There may be other more effective ways to go about applying essential oils onto our clothing. Based on safety and wastage standpoints, you may need to alter your laundering process just so to make it work for you. If you are left with no other choice, then I hope all the tips provided in this article has been of help to you.


5 Essential Oils That are Great For Using in Your Washing Machine

1. Lavender.
Lavender is a well liked fragrance. Adding lavender to your clothes will give you a relaxing aroma throughout your day, which helps to improve your mood and general wellbeing. It has a cooling effect, and provides a sense of vitality.

2. Geranium
Geranium has similar aromatic properties as rose. Add geranium to your clothes to smell wonderful for the day. Geranium also helps you to feel relaxed and keeps your mind at ease throughout the day. A little geranium goes a long way.

3. Tea Tree
Tea tree helps to provide antibacterial support. Use it to wash old clothing as well as your towels and rags.

4. Peppermint
Peppermint is a great essential oil to add for a long day ahead. It provides an awakening effect, and helps you stay refreshed. Peppermint invigorates your mind and body, and it provides a fresh and coolling effect.

5. Rosemary
Nothing like a beautiful scent in the morning that sharpens your mind and soothes your body. Rosemary is highly invigorating and helps to enhance your memory and focus, gives a feeling of being clean and uplifts your wellbeing, giving you a positive attitude to start your day ahead.

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