If you use wool dryer balls and miss the fragrance that dryer sheets provide, essential oils offer a convenient way to lightly perfume your loads of laundry with the scent of your choice. Available in blends and single-ingredient varieties, the best essential oils for dryer balls add naturally sourced fragrance with just a few drops, and some may provide aromatherapeutic benefits — ideal if you want to add a calming scent to your bed sheets or some energizing fragrance to your daily wardrobe.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Essential Oils For Dryer Balls
Since essential oils are made from plant extracts like flowers, roots, bark, and leaves, you’ll have many scent options that run the gamut from floral to woodsy to citrusy. Some even mimic the scent of linens drying on a clothesline with fresh, airy notes.
Many essential oils also have aromatherapeutic properties, so you may want to consider options that complement the load in your dryer to enjoy these benefits. For example, you may want to use lavender oil when drying bed sheets, as the gentle floral scent is thought to help you unwind and rest deeply, making it one of the best essential oils for sleep. For daytime, a more invigorating scent like lemon or sweet orange may help energize you and boost your mood, whether you’re heading to the office or planning to work out. If you’re not sure that you’ll like a specific scent, an aromatherapy oil set is a practical way to test out a couple of different fragrances before you commit to buying a full bottle — and it’ll also give you the opportunity to switch things up as often as you like.
Essential Oils Versus Fragrance Oils
As you’re shopping, you’re likely to come across both essential oils and fragrance oils — and there’s a difference. Essential oils are sourced solely from plants, while fragrance oils generally use a combination of plants and synthetic ingredients. Essential oils, while typically more expensive, are more likely to have aromatherapeutic benefits and a long shelf life. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are typically less expensive and can mimic a variety of scents like “fresh cotton” and “baby powder” — but they can go bad more quickly and won’t offer aromatherapeutic benefits. That being said, both kinds can be used to scent your wool dryer balls — but if your intention is to use naturally derived ingredients, essential oils should be your pick.
Organic Labels: What Do They Mean?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not directly regulate essential oils since they’re not agricultural products but are instead classified as both cosmetics and drugs. For that reason, you might be confused when you come across labels that read, “USDA Organic.” However, cosmetics can be considered organic when the plant ingredients are grown to standards that meet the USDA’s requirements, which include guidelines that prohibit most synthetic pesticides and weed-control methods (among other things). If you’re set on using an organic option, a USDA label can help ensure that the ingredients are, in fact, organic.
Note that since essential oils are not a regulated substance, it can be hard to decipher quality — and even with pure ingredients, essential oils have the potential to irritate skin, especially if you have a history of atopic dermatitis or allergic reactions. Whether you’ve had skin sensitivity in the past or not, it’s a good idea to perform a skin patch test to see if you react to a particular oil before you use it with your dryer balls (and this should be done with each new oil you try). To do this, Healthline recommends diluting a drop or two of the essential oil with a neutral carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil, and applying it to the inner part of your elbow. Place a bandage over the spot, and check for any reactions such as redness, itching, or inflammation. If you haven’t had a reaction within 24 hours, the oil can be assumed safe to use.
To delight your nose the next time you’re doing a load of laundry, try giving it a spin with some of the best essential oils for dryer balls.
Shop The Best Essential Oils For Dryer Balls
In a hurry? These are the best essential oils for dryer balls:
- A Set Of 3 Essential Oil Blends Designed With Laundry In Mind: Woolzies Laundry Collection
- A Relaxing Lavender Oil That Comes In A Generously Sized Bottle: PURA D’OR Lavender Essential Oil
- A Refreshing, Citrusy Bergamot Oil That Lifts The Mood: Healing Solutions Bergamot Essential Oil
- A Sampler Pack Of 6 Popular Essential Oils: Lagunamoon Essential Oil Set
- A Fresh Cotton Fragrance Oil That’s Clean & Classic: Good Essential Fresh Cotton Fragrance Oil Blend
- A Calming Essential Oil Blend That’s Perfect For Bedding: Cliganic Sweet Sleep Essential Oil Blend
- A Deodorizing Oil Blend That Knocks Out Smells: Plant Therapy Deodorizing Essential Oil Blend
- A Cheerful, Energizing Blend With Citrus Notes: NOW Cheer Up Buttercup! Essential Oil Blend
- A Pine Needle Oil That’s Woodsy & Brisk: Gya Labs Pine Needle Essential Oil
- A Fragrance Oil That Smells Just Like Baby Powder: Barnhouse Baby Fresh Fragrance Oil
1. This Set Of 3 Essential Oil Blends Designed With Laundry Mind
- 4.5-star overall rating after 4,000+ reviews
This laundry-inspired collection of essential oils is specifically designed to be used with wool dryer balls and comes with three blends. “Still Breeze” features relaxing notes of lavender and jasmine (ideal for bedding), “Citrus Clean” uses orange and lemongrass for a clean, zesty aroma, and “Petal Fresh” is a combination of rose and smoky sandalwood for a warm, floral scent. Reviewers reported the fragrances are “subtle” and not “overpowering.”
A reviewer wrote: “Great addition to my Woolzies dryer balls. All three scents are wonderful, fragrant yet subtle. Just a few drops does the trick for a full load of clothes.”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.33 Fl. Oz. | Organic? No
2. This Relaxing Lavender Oil That Comes In A Generously Sized Bottle
- 4.5-star overall rating after 1,600+ reviews
Lavender’s subtle, floral scent is known to have calming properties, working to help reduce stress and promote relaxation — making it a great all-purpose pick for dryer balls. This USDA-organic lavender essential oil uses ingredients sourced in the U.S. and comes in a large bottle that rings up at a wallet-friendly price. The brand also has a wide selection of other oils like cedarwood, lemongrass, and sweet orange.
A reviewer wrote: “So far best lavender oil I have purchased. Can't wait to try other scents.”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 4 Fl. Oz. | Organic? Yes
3. A Refreshing, Citrusy Bergamot Oil That Lifts The Mood
- 4.5-star overall rating after 38,000+ reviews
Bergamot, a type of orange, has a sweet, uplifting citrus scent that may help reduce feelings of stress. When used with dryer balls, this organic bergamot essential oil lends a refreshing, stimulating note to laundry. It’s USDA organic, and the brand also offers a wide variety of other oil options.
According to a reviewer: “Absolutely love this bergamot essential oil. Not only does it smell fabulous...the light citrusy scent is calming and uplifting all at once....but it's also certified organic, and the price is fantastic!”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.33 Fl. Oz. | Organic? Yes
4. A Sampler Pack Of 6 Essential Oils In Popular Scents
- 4.4-star overall rating after 123,000+ reviews
This multipack of essential oils includes small bottles of lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange, and lemongrass. The variety lets you use different fragrances for aromatherapeutic purposes; for example, you can try orange to boost your mood, lavender to help reduce stress, and lemongrass to invigorate your senses. The oils are USDA organic, and they can be used alone or combined to create custom scent blends.
A reviewer wrote: “I use these on my wool dryer balls. The clothes always have a wonderful, subtle scent when they come out of the dryer. This product also is a great value.”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.33 Fl. Oz. | Organic? Yes
5. A Fresh Cotton Fragrance Oil That’s Clean & Classic
- 4.4-star overall rating after 550+ reviews
Fans of this cotton fragrance oil blend from Good Essential describe it as “clean” and “warm and comfy” — much like burying your nose in a freshly dried pile of laundry. It can be used to give a subtle fragrance to everyday laundry loads and would also be a natural choice for infusing towels and sheets with a fresh, inviting scent. Keep in mind that this pick is a fragrance oil — not an essential oil — so it’s formulated with synthetic ingredients and won’t provide aromatherapy benefits.
A reviewer wrote: “I love the scent. This is what I was looking for. I will scent my dryer wool balls to freshen towels and linens. I will buy again.”
Essential or fragrance oil? Fragrance | Available sizes: 0.33 Fl. Oz., 1 Fl. Oz. | Organic? No
6. A Calming Essential Oil Blend That’s Perfect For Bedding
- 4.6-star overall rating after 56,000+ reviews
To help encourage a good night’s sleep, this calming essential oil blend combines vetiver, lavender, frankincense, clary sage, ylang ylang, marjoram, and spearmint. The USDA-organic aromatherapeutic blend may help you relax and unwind, making it a good choice for sheets and duvet covers. As for the fragrance itself, it’s described as woodsy, sweet, and floral. Cliganic is a highly rated brand that also offers a range of other blends as well as single-ingredient oils.
According to a reviewer: “Great scent, long lasting, much deeper sleep!!!
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.33 Fl. Oz., 1 Fl Oz., 2 Fl. Oz., 4 Fl. Oz. | Organic? Yes
7. A Deodorizing Oil That Knocks Out Smells
- 4.6-star overall rating after 250+ reviews
If you have clothing or towels that smell less than fresh, try adding a few drops of this naturally deodorizing essential oil blend to your dryer balls. Palmarosa, lemon, patchouli, coriander seed, grapefruit, cypress, bergamot, and tea tree naturally neutralize smells to give your laundry a “crisp, bright scent that’s slightly herbaceous and fruity,” according to a reviewer. Use this for socks, activewear, or any item that’s taken on an unwanted odor.
According to a reviewer: “I love the fragrance. I dab it on wool dryer balls when drying clothes. The scent is subtle and pleasant. My daughter in law asked what I do to the towels and sheets when they visited recently. She loved the aroma. Not flowery - just clean”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.34 Fl. Oz., 1 Fl Oz., 3.3 Fl. Oz. | Organic? No
8. A Cheerful, Energizing Blend With Citrus Notes
- 4.6-star overall rating after 4,300+ reviews
As the name suggests, this energizing essential oil blend of bergamot, orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime essential oils combine to create a zesty fragrance for improving spirits. Fans describe the scent as “cheerful” and say it’s a “mood lifter” — and the cute ‘60s-inspired design only adds to the fun. The brand also has other blends that run the gamut from floral to warm and spicy.
According to a reviewer: “I used this oil on wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets (one of my little contributions to less waste on this planet :))... a little drop every 2-3 loads is all it takes. My laundry comes out smelling wonderful. I love this product and will continue using. It's a good price, wonderful quality, and helping the environment? Definitely a win-win!”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 1 Fl Oz. | Organic? No
9. A Pine Needle Oil That’s Woodsy & Brisk
- 4.4-star overall rating after 137,000+ reviews
If you favor fresh, woodsy scents over floral or fruity ones, you might like this pine needle essential oil, which can be added to dryer balls for a wintry, cabin-worthy aroma. The invigorating fragrance will remind you of a brisk morning, but note that due to its intense scent, it should be used conservatively. Gya also offers other blends and single oils like sandalwood and lemon verbena.
A reviewer wrote: “Love this oil!!! Great smell that isn't too over powering. [...] Smells like a pine forest to me and I live in Oregon!”
Essential or fragrance oil? Essential | Available sizes: 0.17 Fl. Oz., 0.34 Fl Oz., 1 Fl. Oz. | Organic? No
10. A Fragrance Oil That Smells Just Like Baby Powder
- 4.6-star overall rating after 1,700+ reviews
Whether you’re washing kids’ clothing or just want your laundry to smell like something nostalgic, this highly rated fragrance oil is a great pick that mimics the scent of baby powder. It’s also a nice option for bedding or towels if you’re looking for an aroma that’s soothing and comforting.
A reviewer wrote: “This scent was the perfect lightweight addition to my dryer routine and makes my clothes smell incredible. I'd describe it as Downy meets a hint of baby powder. I add 5 drops to my dryer ball, toss it in while drying, and out comes the freshest smelling laundry. The smell also lasts such a long time and I love snuggling up with my sheets and linens after I use it.”
Essential or fragrance oil? Fragrance | Available sizes: 1 Fl Oz. | Organic? No