How to Custom Fragrance Your Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent can impart a scent to your clothes, but the fragrances in commercial products are often cloying and overwhelming.
Turn plain detergent into a scent source for your laundry.Turn plain detergent into a scent source for your laundry.
With essential oils and a fragrance-free detergent, you can create a scent that matches your personal style, and control the intensity of the smell.

Step 1

Add essential oils, one drop at a time, to a shot glass until you have a mixture you like. Make a note of the proportions of each fragrance you use.

Step 2

Mix the oils, in the same ration, to make 1/4 to 1/2 oz. of the blend.

Step 3

Add the oils to a gallon of fragrance-free laundry detergent, and mix them thoroughly.

Things You Will Need

  • Essential oils
  • Shot glass or small glass container
  • Fragrance-free detergent


  • A blend of three parts lemon oil to one part vanilla oil produces a clean scent, while the same ratio of lavender oil to vanilla produces a soothing scent. Those who prefer a bolder scent might like pine with a drop or two of vanilla, or a two-to-one blend of orange oil and clove oil. Those who like floral fragrances may enjoy a blend of three parts rose oil, two parts Egyptian musk, and one part each vanilla and bergamot, or three parts lilac, two parts vanilla, and one part lemon verbena.
  • Soap-making fragrances are less expensive than essential oils, though it may take more to scent the detergent as strongly as you like.


  • Test a small bit of the oil blend on your skin before you use it in the laundry. Add a drop or two of carrier oil like sweet almond or olive oil, and then dab it on the inside of your elbow. Wait 24 hours to see if you have any kind of skin reaction before you proceed with scenting the detergent.

About the Author

Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.