Who doesn’t want their laundry to smell amazing and know that it isn’t due to a cocktail of chemical-filled fragrances packaged in plastic bottles or a laundry powder you can smell from across town? One of the questions we get asked a lot at Biocasa is about the provinence of essential oils and how to use them with laundry. It is super easy to use essential oils in both your dryer and washer - and with them, have huge flexibility in your scent of the day, while always knowing you have zero frangrance risk.
The word “essential” indicates that the oil contains the “essence” of the plant on the label - the natural chemicals that provide its unique aroma or flavour. Essential oils are extracted from different parts of the plant such as grasses, leaves, flowers, needles, twigs, peels of fruit, seeds, bark, branches, and roots. To be classified as true essential oils, they must be isolated through distillation or cold pressing. Essential oils are NEVER extracted using solvents and this, as you can imagine, is a long and laboured process that makes them more expensive.
Although synthetic artificially created fragrances are available at a much lower cost, they will not offer the therapeutic benefits that true essential oils offer. Only natural botanical essential oils contain compounds that will cause various neurochemicals to be released in the brain, the concept which Aromatherapy is based on. Contrary to synthetic oils which are reproduced in laboratories, natural essential oils don’t always smell exactly the same and this is because their chemical composition is influenced by many factors as the weather, temperature, rainfall and geographic location the plant is subject to and how they are stored.
Essential oils usually come in dark glass bottles because they are photo sensitive and exposure to sunlight would make them evaporate or breakdown faster.
Depending on the oil, it's worth knowing that essential oils are considered flammable liquids (their flashpoint can vary between 37 and 102 Celsius). Because of their flammable properties and the fact that dryer machines can run on pretty hot settings, you should never add essential oils directly in your dryer.
Put a couple of drops of your preferred essential oil to wool dryer balls, which will be added to your load. They will make sure to spread the aroma and also help you reduce drying time and wrinkles. (Why do we prefer wool dryer balls to dryer sheets for this? First of all, they are reusable for thousands of cycles, reducing your waste, but also they don’t release chemical compounds which coat your clothes to prevent static, which could cause asthma and other serious health issues.)
The fab thing about oils is that you can combine different scents dependent upon your mood, the weather and your clothes. Here are a few of my favs:
When Using Essential Oils Lighter, colourless oils are usually safer to use to avoid the chance of staining your clothes. Even though the oils will be mixed with water in your laundry wash, the heavier resinous oils such as patchouli, cedar and pine, or with darker colours, such as vetiver and tangerine are riskier.
The purpose of aromatherapy is to elicit some reaction in the body. Since we are all unique, not all oils will benefit everyone in the same manner. Essential oils are very strong, and many can be skin irritants if not used correctly so make sure to handle them with care when adding them to your laundry. With few exceptions, you should NEVER apply essential oils directly to your skin. To check for sensitivity or allergic reaction we suggest you perform a patch test using a properly diluted essential oil.