Want a natural way to make your laundry smell amazing? Here’s my favorite natural laundry scent booster recipe that doubles as a laundry softener.

It comes together in under 5 minutes, costs less than specialty coffee, and is made with just 2 natural ingredients. Add a scoop to a load of laundry alongside your favorite eco-friendly detergents or my homemade laundry detergent

Laundry scent booster and laundry softener in a bowl.

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Key Takeaways

  • Simple Ingredients – The 2 key ingredients you’ll need are kosher salt, sea salt, or Epsom salt and essential oil.
  • Natural – Most commercial laundry boosters (like Mrs. Meyers) are made with artificial fragrances and toxic chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin (source). This laundry booster recipe is 100% natural.
  • Great Smell – Use your favorite essential oils to make a simple homemade recipe smell amazing.
  • DIY Fabric Softener – This recipe adds a fresh scent to laundry and softens laundry (thanks to the salt). 
  • Quick & Easy to Make– This simple DIY recipe takes less than 5 minutes. 
  • Shelf Life – Store the natural scent booster for up to 12 months. 
Salt and essential oil on the counter ready to make the scent booster.

Before You Get Started: What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups coarse salt – Sea salt, kosher, or Epsom salt are the best type of salt. The salt works as a carrier to carry the essential oil (the scent) to your laundry and also softens laundry (particularly important if you have hard water). I buy a 3lb box of coarse salt from Costco or the grocery store for about $3-4.
  • 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite essential oil (100-200 drops) – This is the most crucial ingredient for making your scent booster. Choose your favorite essential oil or combine 2-3 essential oils to create a beautiful blend. I love lavender essential oil, peppermint, sweet orange, lemon, or lemongrass for laundry.

Equipment

  • Large Bowl – For mixing the salt and essential oil(s). 
  • Large Spoon – Also used for mixing the salt and essential oil(s). A large wooden cooking spoon or fork (for whisking) works well. 
  • Large Storage Container – Something to store the laundry booster. Think about something that will allow you to easily pour the scented salt into the washing machine or a jar that will enable you to scoop the mixture from the jar. 

How to Make a Laundry Scent Booster: Recipe Steps

  • Step 1 Add Salt & Essential Oil – Pour the salt into a large bowl. Then, add the essential oil. 
  • Step 2 Combine – Using a spoon, mix the salt and essential oil with a spoon or whisk. 
  • Step 3 Spoon into a Storage Container – Spoon the mixture into a container with a lid (like a wide glass jar). For best results, I let the mixture rest for 24 hours, allowing the essential oil to infuse the salt. After 24 hours, the scent booster is ready for your laundry routine. 
  • Pro Tip for Combining the Essential Oil & Salt – If mixing the salt and oil in a bowl is difficult, pour the ingredients into a large plastic bag. Seal the bag and use your fingers (from the outside) to massage the ingredients and combine. 

How much should I use for the best smelling laundry?

  • 1/2 Cup Per Load – Add 1/2 cup of scented salt per load. Add directly to the washing machine with clothes, sheets, towels, etc. For HE machines, you may want to try 1/4 cup.
  • Adjust to Your Preference – This will vary on your water, so test different amounts to see what works best for you. 
  • Add Directly to Washer – The salt should be added to the washer at the same time as the laundry soap. Add the salt directly to the washer basin with the clothes.
Towels on the bed in a laundry basket ready to be washed.
Use 1/2 cup per load. Or 1/4 cup per load for HE machines.

Essential Oil Blends For a Clean Scent

The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to create your own scent.

Essential oils, a natural fragrance, don’t have the long-lasting scent found in most commercial scent boosters, but they offer a lovely, clean scent without the harsh chemicals and scent additives.

Here are a few of my favorite essential oil combos to create various scents. Use 1/2 teaspoon of each individual oil (about 50 drops).

  • Orange & Lemon 
  • Eucalyptus & Lemon 
  • Peppermint & Orange
  • Rosemary & Peppermint

Learn how to use essential oils and make homemade cleaners in this article. And listen to my in-depth podcast about using essential oils safely in the home.

What to Avoid Doing

  • Laundry Softener Compartment – Don’t add the salt to the laundry softener compartment of the washing machine. The salt should be added directly to the washer along with the garments. 
  • Delicates – Don’t use this booster on delicate items like silk and other garments that require special care. 
  • Fine Salt – Don’t use fine salt to make this recipe. Choose a salt with large, coarse granules for best results.

FAQs

  • How much of the softener/scent do I need the add per load? I recommend 1/2 cup of salt per load. For HE machines, you may want to try 1/4 cup.
  • Can I add baking soda? Yes, you can add baking soda to this recipe. Instead of using 4-5 cups of salt, use 3 cups of salt + 1 cup of baking soda. Baking soda neutralizes odors, so this is an excellent formulation for stinky clothes (like workout clothes, sports uniforms, etc.)
  • Is any kind of salt okay? Yes, any kind of large granule course salt.
  • Can I make a homemade scent booster without salt? Yes, you can. Use all baking soda mixed with the essential oil. However, I’ve found that using all baking soda may leave a white film on clothes. So I recommend something other than this combination for dark-colored garments. 
  • Is it safe to use salt in the washing machine? Yes, I haven’t had any issues with using salt in my washing machine. If you’re concerned, reduce the amount used.
  • Do you use this salt fabric softener/scent booster with vinegar or is it one or the other? No, choose one. Both this recipe and vinegar act as a fabric softener, so I recommend sticking to one option: either salt or vinegar.
  • Does the scented salt go in the rinse water? I add the scent booster salts with the clothes/towels before turning on the wash.
  • Do you know how it will work in a HE front loader? Yes, it will. For a front loader start off with 1/4 cup of salt per load. Add the scent booster directly to the washer, along with the clothes, before turning on the cycle.

More Natural Products For Clean Laundry

Here are my favorite homemade products to use in the laundry room.

  • Stain Remover Spray – Remove tough stains with this simple formula made with castile soap, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon essential oil. 
  • Wool Dryer Balls – Soften laundry naturally with these easy-to-make wool dryer balls—a great alternative to dryer sheets. Add a few drops of essential oils to boost the scent in the dryer. 
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent Combine castile soap, borax, washing soda, and water to make my popular liquid laundry soap. 
  • Powder Laundry Detergent – Make a powder variation of my popular liquid laundry soap using this simple recipe.
  • Laundry Softener – Use vinegar to make this simple liquid laundry detergent.  
homemade laundry softener and scent booster
5 from 5 votes

DIY Natural Laundry Scent Booster & Softener

Want a natural way to make your laundry smell amazing? My favorite homemade laundry scent booster recipe comes together in under 5 minutes and is made with just 2 natural ingredients. Add a scoop to a load of laundry alongside your favorite eco-friendly detergents or my homemade laundry detergent
Kristin Marr
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course Homemade
Cuisine Cleaning
Servings 5 cups
Cost: $6 ($1.30 per load)

Equipment

  • 1 large bowl for combining the ingredients
  • 1 large spoon or fork for combining the ingredients
  • 1 large storage container that holds 5 cups of dry goods for storing the scent booster

Ingredients

  • 5 cups coarse sea salt sea salt, kosher, or Epsom salt are the best type of salt.
  • 1-2 teaspoons favorite essential oil or blend a couple of oils together for a custom scent (100-200 drops)

Instructions

  • Pour the salt into a large bowl. Then, add the essential oil.
  • Using a spoon, mix the salt and essential oil with a spoon or whisk.
  • Spoon the mixture into a container with a lid (like a wide glass jar). For best results, I let the mixture rest for 24 hours, allowing the essential oil to infuse the salt. After 24 hours, the scent booster is ready for your laundry routine.

How to Use:

  • Add 1/2 cup of scented salt per load. Add directly to the washing machine with clothes, sheets, towels, etc. For HE machines, you may want to try 1/4 cup.

Storage:

  • Store for up to 12 months.

Notes

Essential Oil Note: Due to the cost of essential oils, I use a cheaper yet still reputable brand like NOW for laundry purposes. NOW sells some oils, like lavender, in bulk bottles. The essential oil may also be skipped, if desired.
Best Essential Oil Options: 
  • Individual Oils- I love lavender essential oil, peppermint, sweet orange, lemon, or lemongrass for laundry.
  • Make Your Own Oil Blend – I love to combine Orange & Lemon, Eucalyptus & Lemon, Peppermint & Orange, or Rosemary & Peppermint. Use 50-100 drops of each oil. 
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Learn how to make natural cleaners for your home

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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56 Comments

    1. Hey Ashley, I don’t think that would be an issue. My only concern would be the oils used to scent the epsom salt and if they might come off on the clothes, so maybe try a small test run first with one garment.

  1. 5 stars
    I love using this scent booster for workout clothes. It adds a subtle, natural fragrance. Lavender is my favorite. Let me know what you think and your favorite fragrance.

  2. Will using salt as the basis for the laundry booster not cause the inside of your washing machine components to Rust

      1. Hey Marcia, I apologize, for some reason the “to use” went missing. I’ve updated the recipe. Add 1/2-1 cup of salt to the washer per load. This will vary on your water so test out different amounts to see what works best for you. The salt may be added at the same time as the laundry soap. Add the salt directly to the washer basin with the clothes.

    1. Hey Laurie, I apologize for completely missing your comment. It’s been a while, but I wanted to come back and update with an answer: Add 1/2-1 cup of salt to the washer per load. This will vary on your water so test out different amounts to see what works best for you. The salt may be added at the same time as the laundry soap. Add the salt directly to the washer basin with the clothes.