Natural cleaning has become the latest craze with each corporation trying to outdo the other by offering so-called natural products for cleaning the house or for use in the laundry. But how can you know you are actually using an “all natural,” product? One of the safest ways is to purchase your own pure essential oils from a reputable essential oil supplier like Nature’s Gift, and combine them with safe common household products like vinegar, baking soda, distilled water, or alcohol. Often this method is not only safer, but a less expensive alternative to prepackaged products.

For instance, make your own homemade fabric softener, with one gallon white vinegar and 20-30 drops of Lavender(lavender angustifolia)Essential Oil. Add the lavender essential oil to the vinegar right in the container and you've got instant fabric softener. Shake well before using. For a large load, add 1 cup during the rinse cycle; use 1/2 cup during the rinse cycle for smaller loads.

White vinegar will leave your clothes soft and fluffy, and your towels will also be soft and much more absorbent. It will not eliminate static cling, though. A vinegar rinse will remove all traces of soap scum or detergent both from your clothes and from your washing machine. It is also said to revive the color in dark or brightly colored fabrics.

Another fabric softener recipe uses 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup baking soda, 2 cups water, and 10 drops of Lavender, Lemon, or Peppermint (select only one). Mix the vinegar, baking soda, water, and essential oil together and then add to your rinse cycle to deoxidize, sanitize, and soften your laundry. If you are feeling adventurous and would like to try a blend of essential oils in your homemade fabric softener, one idea is a Balsamic blend for men’s clothes of equal parts Eucalyptus, Pine, and Rosemary Cineole essential oils (diluted as noted above for the one gallon white vinegar, equally dividing the oils between 20-30 drops.). For moth problems, try two parts each Eucalyptus Globulous, one part each Lemon Teatree and Peppermint, (might be good for clothes you are planning to store for the season) and for bed clothes, blend a peaceful night with two parts Lavender and one part Rose Geranium.

Note: Citrus oils such as Sweet Orange, Pink Grapefruit, etc. are probably not the best choices for use in the laundry, as they may discolor clothing. Should you choose to experiment with citrus oils, limit these experiments to the lighter and clearer essential oils, not the dark or deeply colored oils.

Also in the laundry, essential oils may be added to a load of clothes in the washing machine, or a few drops put on a cotton cloth and added to the dryer for scent. If using oils in the washer, be aware that some sources do warn that oils could damage plastic plumbing.

Some further ideas:

Adding a teaspoon of Lemon Oil to the washer will remove greasy/oily smells. (A great trick for Massage Therapists and/or mechanics.)

Research indicates that adding Eucalyptus Globulous essential oil to the washing machine may kill dust mites in bedding.

Lavender essential oil in the dryer can scent bed linens. Add a few drops of Lavender or other essential oil to an old cloth or piece of cotton fabric & keep it near the dryer, such as on a shelf to use as a dryer sheet. To really preserve the scent of essential oils in the dryer, add them and run on a 'no heat' cycle for a few minutes at the end of the drying cycle.

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Author's Bio: 

Over 15 years experience sourcing, selecting and making available highest quality therapeutic essential oils and aromatherapy products, founder of Nature's Gift, Inc., author of Essential Oils and Aromatics.