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Cleaning House With Essential Oils: The Laundry

Cleaning House With Essential Oils: The Laundry

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

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 here 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

 

 

 

What oils to use

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

  • Pretreat stains! Rinse a stain in cold water first then use a pretreatment formula. (Listed below in recipes)
  • Prewash heavily soiled clothing. It helps eliminate most dirt without it settling into other clothes. Prewash in the hottest temperature the item(s) can handle
  • Grass stained jeansPresoak old or tough stains — like grass or blood — for at least 30 minutes.
  • Always keep a big jug of white vinegar in your laundry room. It dissolves uric acid and helps make blankets light and fluffy. Great for baby clothes. It also works as a fabric softener.
  • Get pure soap flakes for a natural detergent. Or use your homemade soap.
  • Wool should be hand-washed in cool water and a capful of liquid castile soap. then rinsed well in a tub of clean water. Never allow wool to soak. Don’t wring-dry. Place on a towel and roll up like a jelly roll. Gently press to remove excess water. Then place garment flat on a dry towel, reshape, and leave to dry. (8)
  • Silk items should be dipped in a solution of warm water and a capful of Liquid Castile Soap. Rinse well and gently squeeze out excess water. Turn the garment inside out and hang until it is damp to the touch. With the garment still reversed, press with an iron on low setting. (8)
  • For a basic Fabric Softener, take one jug of White Vinegar and add 10 – 20 drops off essential oil of choice.  Shake well before every use and add 1 cup to the final rinse of your laundry. (8)

Recipes

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

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Salt
  • 3 drops Tea Tree oil

Place clothes in 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. (8)

laundry-basket-webPerspiration Stain Remover

  • 1/4 cup Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 4 drops Lemon, Lime, or Eucalyptus oil

Combine all ingredients. Rub the mixture into the stains with your fingers, a soft cloth, or an old toothbrush. Launder as usual. (8)

Lemon & Tea Tree Perspiration Presoak

  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 6 drops Tea Tree oil

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. (8)

Mold & Mildew Stains

  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 drops Tea Tree oil

Mix together formula, treat the mold/mildew spots and launder as usual. (8)

Grease Stains

  • 2 teaspoons Cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda

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:

  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 5 drops Lemon or Orange oil

Soak until stain breaks free. Wash in hottest water the fabric can stand. (8)

Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soapBasic Liquid Laundry Detergent

  • 2 1/4 cups Liquid Castile Soap
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Glycerin
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 10 – 15 drops Essential Oil of your choice

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:

  • 1/2 cup Basic Liquid Formula
  • 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice or White vinegar
  • 6 drops Lemon oil

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. (8)

Lemon Fresh Linen Wash

  • 2 cups Liquid Castile Soap
  • 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Juice
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Citric Acid
  • 2 teaspoons Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • 15 – 20 drops Lemon (or Lemongrass) oil

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. (8)

BoraxHard Water Formula

  • 1 cup Soap Flakes or finely grated pure Bar Soap
  • 1 cup Washing Soda Crystals
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 2 cups Vinegar
  • 10 drops Essential Oil of choice

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. (8)

Fine Washable Formula

  • 1 ounce Liquid Castile Soap
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 drops Rosemary oil

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. (8)

soda-crystalsBaby Laundry Formula

  • 1/4 cup Washing Soda Crystals
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Castile Soap
  • 2 drops Lavender oil

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:

  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 6 – 8 drops essential oil of choice
  • Bucket or pail of Hot Water

Add ingredients to water. Soak diapers for 20 – 30 minutes, longer if heavily soiled, before laundering. (8)

Doing laundryLemony Fabric Softener

  • 6 cups Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 15 drops Lemon or Lemongrass oil

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). (8)

Laundry Starch

  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 2 drops essential oil of choice (For light colors, use a clear oil like Tea Tree)
  • 1/2 cup cooled Black Tea (for dark colors only)

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before every use. Lightly spray the garment and iron as usual. (8)

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 in your laundry? Tell us in the comment section down below.

Clothesline peg

References

  1. Seasons of Aromatherapy by Judith Fitzsimmons and Paula M. Bousquet
  2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  3. The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood
  4. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
  5. 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller and David Schiller
  6. Do It Gorgeously: How To Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products, by Sophie Uliano
  7. DIY Natural Household Cleaners: How To Make Your Own Cleaners Naturally, by Matt & Betsy Jabs
  8. The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning, by Karyn Siegel-Maier

 

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About JC Shannon

I am a writer. I was first introduced to this world of natural health in 2005 when I was asked to write an article about using essential oils. Since I like to know what I'm writing about before I do it, I immersed myself in the essential oil and aromatherapy world and found I prefer it. I never left it. In a quest to educate myself and others in more alternative and safer ways to make our world a better place, I am always looking for good information to share.
1 comments
blondymk
blondymk

Can this be used in a front loading HE washing machine?