DIY Laundry Scent Booster

DIY Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

Everyone loves clean and fresh smelling laundry, right?  Just walk down the laundry aisle at your favorite big box store and you’re quickly overwhelmed with the scents and options to make your laundry ‘smell clean’. The scent additives don’t really do anything other than add scent, so why not make them yourself? Today I’m sharing a simple DIY recipe for a Laundry Scent Booster – it’s cheap and easy to make and perfect for adding your own personal scent to your laundry routine.  Best reason to make it?  It’s natural and doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances or ingredients.

Ingredients for Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

Laundry Scent Booster

  • 1-2 cups epsom salt (depending on how much you want to make)
  • 20-30 drops essential oil – I love lavender and lemon for this recipe
  • mason jar (is available in Clean Mama Home!  You can find the aqua bar mop cloth pictured here.)

Put Epsom Salt in Container - Clean Mama

Measure epsom salt into a bowl, add 20-30 drops essential oil and stir to combine.  Let it air dry for a bit and then transfer to a mason jar for storage.

Add Essential Oils - Clean Mama

To use: Add 1 tablespoon of the Laundry Scent Booster directly to the washer and wash as usual.

Add Laundry Booster to Washing Machine - Clean Mama

I love this for sheets and towels – it adds a subtle, clean scent.  If you mix it up and find that you need more scent, simply add a couple more drops of essential oils to your jar, stir, and keep using.

Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

Epsom salt will completely dissolve in water and is just the ‘vehicle’ to get the scent into your laundry – it may also add a little softening as well.  And this is a MUCH cheaper option for boosting that scent.  How’s that for clean laundry?

Laundry Scent Booster - Clean Mama

If you like DIY cleaners, check out this post:

How to Make Scented Vinegar - Clean Mama

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  1. I don’t live in the US and I am not familiar with Epson salt. Would washing soda be an alternative?

  2. Allycat2009 says:

    Can I use table salt instead? Epson salt is very expensive (USD 3 for a mere 300g) in where I live.

  3. Thank you thank you! I use all of your cleaning recipes and I’ll add this to my aresenal!

  4. Love this idea. Are those the actual essential oils you use (that link on amazon?) Also, do you put both the lavender AND the lemon in the epsom salts together? Thanks!

  5. Could this be added to the fabric softener compartment instead of directly into the wash? I absolutely love all your great tips! Keep them coming. Thanks.

  6. Judith Spencer says:

    This sounds amazing! I use Epsom salts in my bath quite often (especially after pilates!). It is a skin softener and soothes tired muscles. If I trust it with my skin, I am going to trust it in my laundry. XOXO
    Thanks for the great tip. I just made some and can’t wait to try it!

  7. I love the idea bc of the non-toxicity!! Would the salt hurt (degrade) clothes? I guess it’s not an issue if you only use with towels? Would it be safe with sheets? And Does it last after drying? Sorry for all the questions, I’m excited to try this!!

  8. Can I use this in a high efficiency washer?

  9. Thanks for this cool recipe! I love finding more ways to be natural. I usually add a couple drops of essential oil to my dryer balls to scent and soften my laundry.

  10. I’ve always wanted to try using essential oils in my laundry (we use cloth diapers!) but I’ve been hesitating to put an oil in with my clothes. Will it not leave oil spots?

    • If you put it in the salt and let it dry before washing, it’s fine. The salt absorbs the oil 🙂

    • Essential oils aren’t really oils. I put liberal amounts of lavender essential oil on my unscented dryer sheets before I pop them in the dryer and have never had an issue.

  11. When I saw this, I was so excited! FINALLY a recipe for a scent booster that I could afford and with ingredients I have on hand! So I immediately mixed this up per the recipe and tried it out on my sheets that were going into the wash. When they came out, the smell was, well, disappointing. Nothing bad, mind you, just not the lavender and lemon I expected. So I dosed it up another 30 drops in the two cups of Epsom salts and tried again with the next batch of clothes, and again, clean, but nothing to rave about, scent wise. Am I missing a step? I am using essential oils and Epsom salts. I even tried a load by just using it in the softener chamber on the washer, and nothing! HELP!

    • It could be your essential oils or it might not work for you – it’s a subtle scent, not overpowering.

    • You might try adding the essential oil to a wool dryer ball, or a dampened wash cloth in the last 5 minutes of your dry cycle.

  12. Thank you for this post! I’ve been trying to eliminate unnecessary chemicals from our home, but my husband and kids complain that our laundry doesn’t smell “good” anymore (since I stopped using fabric softener and substituted vinegar). I’ll have to try this!!

    Nineteen Windsor

  13. Great idea! So easy. I listen to a podcast called The Essential Oil Revolution. A recent episode said that many scented products contain formaldehyde-a known carcinogen. The FDA does not require that this be put on the package because it is not being ingested. I’d rather not take my chances of it getting on my clothes either! This is a super alternative. Thanks!

    • Daria, I worked in a clothing dept. when we would open the boxes, you could smell formaldehyde. I no longer work there! I beat the crap out of cancer once, I don’t want to be exposed to anything that might cause “Roound 2”! So, ALWAYS wash your new clothes before wearing them 🙂

  14. Becky, I love this! Thank you. I am loving the Lemon/Lavender combo! When I open the cabinet door or bathroom closet where I keep my baking soda & L/L mixture, it smells lovely 🙂 and because we store it in our li’l jars with holes punched out of card stock, It DOUBLES as a room freshener!… A safe one for grandchildren to be around too:) so it’s a win-win-…win! Thanks again. GinaO

  15. Could you mix the salt, little bit of baking soda and essential oil to give it an extra boost?

  16. One of my favorite ways to add a fresh scent to laundry is an alternative to dryer sheets. Simply take dried lavender straight from the garden and out it in a small draw strong mesh pouch. Make sure to tie it really right so the lavender doesn’t come out. You can throw it directly into your dryer and the heart from the dryer will release the scent. When it looses its scent simply empty it and refill. A fantastic alternative to the chemical filled dryer sheets that cost money are used once and simply thrown away. You could use any dried flower scents you wanted to really. My sister uses pine needles.

    • Great tip Shannon!

    • I love this tip! I need to try it, thanks for sharing. I don’t grow lavender so I will have to look online to buy it in bulk. Pine sounds divine too!

    • I Do this with spice bags, fresh lavender + essential oil. Throw in right in with laundry in washer and dryer with sheets and towels for extra boost. I use lavender in my home made laundry soap as well.

  17. I agree with what the other “Gina” said. I worked in a few clothing retail stores over the last 20 years and I remember sneezing uncontrollably after opening up the boxes of shipment clothing. You can definitely smell the chemicals used in the fabrics! This is why it’s important to launder new clothing, towels, sheets, etc! Due to most of us having allergies in my home, I’ve been reducing chemical based cleaning products to home made ones. It seems to be working well. I’ve made my own carpet freshener according to Clean Mama’s recipe posted over a month ago. Before, my feet would itch after using store bought carpet freshener, now with just using the baking soda and essential oil mixture, I have no skin irritation. I’m not sneezing a lot either! I’m definitely going to try this laundry freshener recipe! Your blog is awesome Becky! Keep it up!

  18. Do you think already scented Epsom salt will work? I just bought a package of lavender Epsom salt from target for my bath.

    • It depends on what’s in it….if it’s just essential oils and Epsom salt, maybe. If not, I can’t recommend it 🙂

  19. Is it o.k to store this in a plastic container?

  20. I have a question- why Epsom salt and not baking soda?? Is there a difference or same outcome? Thanks!

    • The Epsom salt is a vehicle for the scent and the baking soda has some deodorizing and softening properties. For this recipe, the Epsom Salt is the best ingredient 🙂

  21. Melissa A. Hernandez says:

    After cycling out chemical laden products from our home 5 years ago, I would often find myself wanting a little “more” from the natural products I am using. I do not care for strong perfume smells and actually get sick walking down the cleaning aisles at the stores, but STILL wanted a little “something” that would allow my clothes the clean “scent” most commercial detergents leave behind. ENTER = Scent Boosters!! And natural to boot!! I just whipped up a batch and have it whirling in the machine now. I cannot wait to smell the results!! In addition to the lavender and lemon I added clary sage. Can’t wait to try other scents for different seasons! Love essential oils and love your posts! Thank you!!

  22. Could you use the Epsom salt that is already scented?

  23. Someone in your house got stinky feet? Make up a batch of this with tea tree oil. I don’t use a mixing bowl…I just fill an old jar half full of Epsom salt, dribble in the oil, cap it tightly, and shake to incorporate. The tea tree oil is highly anti microbial. Lavender is especially suited to mask body odors. Almost everything else simply adds variety and/or evokes memories.

  24. I’ve been fearful to try this. Love the idea. I’ve read Epsom salts fade clothes color? Should I be concerned?
    Towels, sheets, blankets here are colored/patterned.

  25. What tips might you have for the laundry scent booster to work? I made some like you said (1 cup Epsom salt with 30 drops each of lavender and lemon), but cannot smell the EOs on my clothes or towels. My family and I use all doTerra EOs. Should I use more drops?

  26. I am allergic to epsom salt. what is a good alternative?

  27. Hi Becky! I made this recipe and added baking soda as well. Overtime I’ve found that my clothes start to smell oily and unclean. Could it be the essential oil in using?

  28. Hi,
    Great article! Just a quick question…Do you know if it’s safe to use these essential oils listed in your laundry if you have a cat or dog? I know you should avoid many essential oils if you have cats but I wasn’t sure if this was diluted enough to where it would be okay.


    • Any oils that I use and recommend are so diluted that you should be fine and I wouldn’t put any essential oils ON Your pets unless it was advised by your vet. I also wouldn’t use this on a pet bed if you are concerned or I would use a pet-safe eo in the epsom salt (like lavender). Our vet does use some essential oils as part of their treatment, but if you have any questions, ask your vet 🙂

  29. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll make it tonight. 🙂

    Do you think this would be useful as a sweaty laundry pre-soak? I’ve tried the vinegar and the baking soda methods without any luck, but I should mention that I used soapnuts for cleaning my laundry as I have very sensitive skin.

    • I haven’t tried it as a pre-soak – I would try a laundry booster like washing soda or Borax instead as a pre-soak.

    • GommieBears says:

      I second the washing soda since the pH is high and will break up the oils that hold the sweat smells.

  30. I want my laundry to have a nice smell. If i put essential oils on my dryer balls will i still need to use a scent booster or would that be too much in terms of smell?

    • GommieBears says:

      It wouldn’t hurt since essential oils, well good essential oils, are rather volatile and needs an carrier for it to last longer. When you have a good and authentic essential oils and place a drop on a index card, it will evaporate and will not leave an oil ring that is common among cheap/fake essential oils.

  31. You suggested putting the Epsom salts directly into the washing machine. Is that preferred over putting it into the laundry soap dispenser?

  32. Nana Carson says:

    Do you use essential oils used for diffusers? Please tell us where to order correct oil.

  33. I’ve just made this recipe, and the vinegar softener. Do you use both with sheets and towels? And the dryer balls also? Or just one of them at a time. I am new to cleaning, and not sure which of these recipes to use with what laundry etc

    I also made your daily shower spray today, and it is amazing. My bathroom smells like christmas candy cane lollies! Thank you for your book and recipes.

  34. Do you use only one essential oil scent at a time or mix Lavender and Lemon?

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