I Tried That Viral Essential Oil Laundry Hack and Here’s What I Thought

published Mar 2, 2020
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One of the contenders in our “Softer, Better Smelling Towels” showdown was a single paper towel with a few drops of essential oils. We’d seen this trick circulating on Pinterest as a “DIY dryer sheet hack” and wanted to see where it would stand next to other oft-used methods, like dryer sheets and wool dryer balls.

The commercial dryer sheets left me with the fluffiest towels (no surprise there), but the smell was overwhelming and the sheets contain chemicals that leave me feeling uneasy. The wool dryer balls emerged as the most sustainable (and most budget-friendly) winner. And then… the essential oil paper towels came in last. It wasn’t a huge surprise, considering the other methods we’d tested were created for (and marketed as) fabric-softening, static-reducing dryer solutions. But it’s not that the DIY essential oil dryer sheet hack didn’t work. It worked… just not as well as the dryer sheets or dryer balls. 

What I Thought of DIY Essential Oil Dryer Sheets

Fresh out of the dryer, my brand new oil-laundered towels were less soft than the others when compared with different methods, but still somewhat soft—and smelled nice, too. The scent wasn’t obvious, though. It didn’t smell quite like the essential oils and it didn’t smell quite like my laundry detergent. I imagine the scents from the detergent and essential oils had sort of canceled each other out, creating a new scent entirely. Had I used an unscented detergent, the towels probably would have come out smelling more like the essential oils I’d used on the paper towel. I might actually recommend this method (combined with unscented detergent) over dryer sheets if your main goal is imparting a fresh scent. 

Regarding softness, the towels weren’t scratchy, but weren’t especially soft. They did come out static free, which was a positive. If I tried this method again, I might try shaking together several more drops of essential oils with a bit of water in a small spray bottle, then spraying the paper towel all over, in hopes that more oil would help make the laundry softer. 

This method is one to try if you find you find yourself in a pinch and don’t have any dryer sheets on hand, or if your dryer balls are missing from the laundry room. This could also be an option for those who choose to use free and clear detergent—but would like their laundry to be mildly scented and aren’t bothered by essential oils.

Have you tried it? What are your thoughts?