Try these natural ways to soften and freshen your laundry. They are simple and effective without any of the harmful impacts of some options out there.
There is nothing better than a load of laundry just out the dryer that smells fresh and is nice and soft. You may think you need things like fabric softener, dryer sheets, and scent boosters to achieve this but there are other ways.
All of these highly scented products can be harmful to your health so it’s best to avoid them. They can even do more harm than good for your clothes.
Fabric softener and dryer sheets can build up on clothes making them seem less clean and making towels less absorbent. The residue can also build up-on the lint trap causing a fire hazard.
There are five different ways I have found that work well for softening and freshening laundry in a natural and safe way. Some you may have heard of but there may be some new options as well.
Ways to Naturally Soften and Freshen Laundry
Vinegar does a great job of removing odors and softening clothes. Simply add 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. You can also use a fabric softener ball.
Vinegar can also help disinfect laundry. This is really useful when washing dishrags and laundry that may have a lot of germs. This is one time I do often use hot water to clean my laundry.
If you forgot about a load of clothes in the washer simply add the vinegar and run a rinse cycle. This will help freshen them up again. We all have forgotten loads, right?
Dryers balls are an easy and safe way to soften your clothes and reduce dryer time. Throw a couple into the dryer with your clothes and they will do all the work.
I prefer wool dryer balls to avoid plastic. You can make your own dryer balls using upcycled yarn to make sure they are more ethical. If you are vegan be sure to look for dryer balls that are PVC-free.
A lot of the scent boosters out there are full of toxic ingredients. However, you can make your own using essential oils or buy one from Method or Mrs. Meyer’s. All are safer options that still allow you to increase the scent on your clothes to help them smell fresh.
Just remember these items can still be hard on sensitive skin and some people are sensitive to scents and may get headaches from the scents.
Scented Laundry Detergent
Many laundry detergents use scents that contain harmful ingredients like phthalates but there are options out there using natural, safer scents.
Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Meyer’s are all great options. You can find all of these and more at Grove Collaborative. It’s my favorite place to shop for natural cleaners.
Use a Clothesline
When weather and allergy levels allow it, I love using my clothesline. Clothes smell better, have less static, and I save money on electricity when I use my clothesline.
An added bonus is that it helps keep your whites brighter and can even help remove stubborn stains. It really is one of my favorite of all of these options.
Word of Caution About Essential Oils
Essential oils are often recommended for laundry but when put in the dryer they can be a fire risk. This is a problem that isn’t very well known but is one we need to be aware of. You can learn more by reading Using Essential Oils in Laundry May Cause Fires.