When I do laundry I have to keep my clothing separate from the other laundry in the household. My skin is very sensitive and I can’t use fabric softener. Whether it’s the liquid kind you pour in the washing machine or the sheet type you toss in the dryer, they equally break me out in an itchy, burning rash.

Now, since I’m not a scientist down at the local fabric softener factory, I had to do a bit of research to discover just what goes into fabric softener that makes it so bad for my skin. One ingredient is benzyl acetate. This chemical has been linked to cancer of the pancreas when it is absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Both of these things happen when clothing is worn that is washed in commercial fabric softener.

Benzyl alcohol is also used in the production of fabric softeners and is known to be an irritant that contributes to upper respiratory irritation. The carcinogen and neurotoxin, chloroform, is also commonly used. So, it’s not just my skin this stuff is affecting. Fabric softener has the potential to make me very ill, chronically ill and even fatally ill.

And I’m not alone in people who forego fabric softener. Some people, like myself, are sensitive while others opt out of fabric softener for environmental reasons. Apparently, they are making a very good choice. Many of the chemicals used in fabric softeners are petroleum based products that are not biodegradable. Petroleum is also not a renewable resource.

Now, however, because of a very simple recipe, I no longer have to miss out on the cuddly softness and fresh scent that the rest of my household enjoy with their fresh laundry.  I can have all the pleasure with none of the risk.

Best yet, the liquid is multi-purpose. It’s a great cleaner for stinky messes like cat hairballs that get thrown up on your favorite chair or a puppy pee-pee puddle on a new rug.


  • 2 cups coarse sea salt
  • 20 drops (more or less) of your favorite essential oil or a blend of multiple essential oils to create your custom scent of choice
  • 1/2 cup baking soda


  • Add salts to a container that has a tight fitting lid.
  • Add essential oil(s) and mix well.
  • Add baking soda. NOTE: Baking soda can be left out of the mix because it can be added directly to laundry separately. However, it saves a step to mix it with the fabric softener.
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons to laundry load right before the rinse cycle.

Create as many different scents as you please. Lavender is great for pajamas, sheets and linens as it is a fragrance that promotes relaxation. Lemon is a zesty fragrance for everyday wear. For evening and party wear you can create a more sensual fragrance. Have a floral fragrance for girl clothes and a rugged pine scent for guy clothes. When my mother visits, I make a special rose-scented mixture just for her. And she likes it extra-strong on the scent so I up the essential oils to 30-35 drops. That’s the great thing of making it yourself, you can do as you please.




Written by Gemma