Lavender and other garden herbs can be used to add fresh fragrance to laundry without the use of chemicals.
Looking for an alternative for dryer sheets? If not, perhaps you should. Although they imbue a pleasant scent to laundry, they may not be all they’re cracked up to be. That fresh scent is often achieved through a cocktail of chemicals that may come as a surprise. Benzyl acetate, limonene, A-terpineol, chloroform and other toxic chemicals are commonly used in these products and are linked to health issues, including respiratory problems, cancer and damage to the nervous system. Fortunately, for those looking to avoid potentially dangerous chemicals when it’s time to do the laundry, a safe, fragrant and natural alternative to dryer sheets can be found in your own backyard.
Lavender (genus Lavandula) is a purple flowering herb that is part of the mint family. Native to the Mediterranean, this fragrant plant is commonly grown in herb gardens for culinary use, but the spectacular scent gives it a long history for use in aromatherapy and is associated with cleanliness. Its name is derived from the Latin lavare (“to wash”). The Romans added it to bathwater and used it as a perfume and in Medieval Europe it served as a deodorant. If you are growing lavender or other scented herbs in your yard or kitchen garden, the delightful smells from the garden can be used to naturally add fresh fragrance to laundry for a fraction of the cost of dryer sheets without chemical additives.
Using lavender and other dried garden herbs to scent laundry is easy to do. Here’s how to get started.
- 4”-5” muslin sachets, cotton pouches or sealable tea bags
- ½ to 1 cup dried fragrant herbs (lavender buds, chamomile, mint, rosemary or rose petals)
Sachets can be sewn by hand or are inexpensive to purchase. Whatever you use, make sure the fabric is sturdy and drawstrings can be tightly secured. Homemade sachets may be sewn shut. Heat-seal tea bags can be reliably sealed, but are not reusable and may wear out before the herbs have lost their scent.
Dried lavender is the most popular choice for dryer sachets, but other dried herbs may be added to offer a variety of great fragrances to fresh laundry.
Simply fill sachets with lavender or a blend of dried herbs and close with drawstring or heat seal with an iron (if using heat-seal tea bags). Seal securely to make sure the sachet does not come open while tumbling in the hot dryer.
Use dried herb sachets in place of dryer sheets when drying laundry. The heat of the dryer will release the essential oils, adding a fresh, light, garden-fresh fragrance to clothes or towels. In most cases, these natural sachets will last for 6 to 8 loads before losing their scent. Gently squeeze sachets before re-using to refresh until the scent has faded.
Dryer sachets can be prepared as needed, but made in advance, they can be tucked into drawers or closets to take advantage of the fragrance until laundry day. Spent sachets can be opened and sprinkled on carpets before vacuuming as a natural room deodorizer.
Originally: DIY Lavender Dryer Sachets