Did you know using essential oils in laundry may be a fire risk? They smell great but essential oils are flammable and need to be used with caution.
You may have noticed a warning in my laundry scent booster post about essential oils causing fires in dryers. From my research, this seems to be a pretty rare problem but it is a risk. It’s even possible that carrier oils are an even larger issue.
This was a surprise even for me. I had been putting a few drops of essential oil on dryer balls and using it them in my washer often. People have been recommending this for years.
Recently I read some articles about how this could be the cause of some house fires. If you think about it, it makes sense. I know they are flammable, that’s why it’s best not to use them with a diffuser that uses a candle and why it’s best not to heat them in general. I never really thought about it with a dryer.
Does this mean you shouldn’t use essential oils in laundry ever again? No, you just need to use them safely and there are a few ways to do that.
Using Essential Oils in Laundry Safely
Don’t Use Essential Oils on Dryer Balls or Dryer Sheets
Dryer balls are great and help reduce static and drying time but you should not add essential oils to them. This is one of the times you would have a higher risk of fire.
Dryer sheets, in general, should be avoided. They can cause build up on your clothes and even on your lint trap, which is another fire risk.
Line Dry Your Clothes
I’m a big fan of line drying and do it a lot when the weather allows. It has so many benefits like lower energy bills, it’s easier on your clothes, and you can use essential oils in the wash without the fire risk.
Do still keep in mind that you still need to get the essential oils out before you put them in the dryer if you only line dry part of the time. Even with colder loads if you are washing the items more than once you are likely doing a better job getting the oils out.
Additional Resource: The Problems with Line Drying and How to Fix Them
Use Hot Water to Rinse Out the Essential Oils
This is why I still like using the laundry scent booster. The loads I like to use it for is bedding and towels. These are loads I wash on hot water cycles anyway.
The hot water helps dissolve and clean away the essential oils but some of the scent remains. This combined with line drying is a very safe and easy option.
Following these suggestions can help keep you safe. Also, keep this in mind if you use essential oils on your body. I’m not a fan of much topical use of essential oils. I prefer to use them in cleaners or diffuse, but if you do use them topically you need to make sure any clothes that come in contact with the essential oils or a carrier oil need to wash properly to get the oils out.
There are a lot of risks in our lives, don’t let this stress you out but instead, take reasonable precautions to keep you and your family safe.
I personally never run my dryer when I’m asleep or away from home. Some people find this extreme but for me, it feels like an easy way to reduce our fire risk. Dryers are a large cause of fires and only using it while you are around can help ensure that if a fire does start the damage is reduced.
Another important safety tip is to keep a fire extinguisher near your dryer. You should have several in your home as well as several smoke detectors.
Our dryer is in the garage and there is a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall by the door to the garage. There is also a smoke detector nearby. This is one of the first things we did when we moved in and it gives me a lot of peace of mind.
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