How To Make Laundry Smell Good Without Fabric Softener

Doing laundry is a never-ending chore. No one wants their clothes to come out of the wash smelling worse than when they went in. However, some people prefer to avoid fabric softeners due to sensitivities to fragrances or a desire to use more natural products.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make your laundry smell fresh and clean without fabric softeners.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: To make laundry smell good without fabric softener, add half a cup of baking soda or white vinegar to the wash cycle, hang clothes outside to dry, use scented dryer sheets, or spray clothes lightly with essential oils before drying.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about making your laundry fresh and pleasant smelling without the use of conventional fabric softeners. We’ll discuss natural products to use during the wash cycle, drying tips and tricks, and scented sprays that can be applied after laundering.

Add Baking Soda or Vinegar During the Wash Cycle

When it comes to making your laundry smell good without using fabric softener, adding baking soda or vinegar during the wash cycle can work wonders. These natural alternatives not only help to remove odors but also leave your clothes feeling fresh and soft.

Let’s explore how you can use baking soda and vinegar in your laundry routine.

Use Baking Soda as a Natural Softener Alternative

Baking soda is a versatile ingredient that can be used for various cleaning purposes, including freshening up your laundry. It helps to neutralize odors and soften fabrics, making it an excellent replacement for fabric softener.

Simply add half a cup of baking soda to your washing machine during the wash cycle, along with your regular detergent. The baking soda will work to break down any lingering odors and leave your clothes smelling clean and fresh.

Use Vinegar as a Fabric Softener Substitute

Vinegar is another fantastic alternative to fabric softener. Its acidic nature helps to remove built-up residue from your clothes, making them softer and more comfortable to wear. To use vinegar as a fabric softener substitute, add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine.

The vinegar will help to remove any soap residue, leaving your clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will dissipate as your clothes dry, leaving them odor-free.

Experiment With Other Natural Products

While baking soda and vinegar are excellent options for making your laundry smell good without fabric softener, there are other natural products you can experiment with as well. Essential oils, such as lavender or lemon, can be added to your laundry to give it a pleasant scent.

Simply add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a damp washcloth and toss it in with your clothes during the dryer cycle. You can also try using wool dryer balls, which help to soften fabrics and reduce drying time.

These alternatives not only make your laundry smell great but also offer additional benefits for your clothes and the environment.

Remember, using baking soda or vinegar in your laundry routine is not only a cost-effective solution but also a more environmentally friendly choice compared to traditional fabric softeners. Give these natural alternatives a try and enjoy fresh-smelling, soft laundry without the need for fabric softener!

Dry Clothes Outside or Use Dryer Sheets

Line Dry Clothes Outdoors

One way to make laundry smell good without fabric softener is to line dry your clothes outdoors. Not only does this method give your clothes a fresh scent, but it also helps to reduce energy consumption and save money on electricity bills.

Hanging your clothes outside allows them to absorb the natural fragrance of the outdoors, giving them a pleasant smell that cannot be replicated with artificial fragrances. Additionally, sunlight has natural antibacterial properties, which can help eliminate odors and leave your clothes smelling clean and fresh.

According to a study conducted by ScienceDirect, line drying clothes outdoors can also have positive effects on your mental well-being. Spending time outdoors and engaging in activities such as hanging laundry can reduce stress levels and improve overall mood.

So not only will your clothes smell amazing, but you’ll also feel great while doing it!

Toss Dryer Sheets in the Dryer

If line drying is not an option for you, another alternative to fabric softener is using dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are small sheets made of fabric that are coated with a softening agent and a pleasant fragrance.

When tossed into the dryer with your clothes, they release a subtle scent that helps to mask any unpleasant odors.

Not only do dryer sheets make your laundry smell good, but they also help to reduce static cling and make your clothes feel softer. The softening agents in dryer sheets help to relax the fibers in your clothes, making them less prone to wrinkling and easier to iron.

They can also help to reduce drying time by improving airflow in the dryer, which saves energy and money.

It’s important to note that some dryer sheets can contain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment or cause skin irritation. If you’re concerned about the impact of dryer sheets on the planet or your health, you can opt for eco-friendly or fragrance-free alternatives.

These options are made from natural ingredients and are free from harmful chemicals, ensuring that your laundry smells good without any negative side effects.

Lightly Spritz Clothes With Essential Oils

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to fabric softeners, consider using essential oils to add a delightful scent to your laundry. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that not only smell amazing but also offer various benefits.

By lightly spritzing your clothes with essential oils, you can enjoy fresh and fragrant laundry without the need for chemical-laden fabric softeners.

Make Your Own Essential Oil Spray

Making your own essential oil spray is easy and allows you to customize the scent to your preference. Simply mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus are popular choices for laundry due to their refreshing and uplifting aromas.

Shake the bottle well before each use to ensure the oil is well-distributed.

Spray Clothes Lightly Before Folding

After your laundry is done drying, but still slightly damp, lightly spritz your clothes with the essential oil spray. This will allow the scent to penetrate the fabric and leave a pleasant aroma. Be careful not to overspray, as too much oil can leave a greasy residue on your clothing.

A gentle mist is all you need to infuse your clothes with a lovely fragrance.

Store in Sealed Containers or Bags

To ensure that your clothes retain their fresh scent, store them in sealed containers or bags after folding them. This will help to trap the aroma and prevent it from dissipating over time. You can also add a few drops of essential oil onto a cotton ball and place it in the storage container to maintain the fragrance.

Remember to choose high-quality essential oils from reputable brands to ensure their purity and safety. Essential oils are not only a natural way to make your laundry smell good, but they also offer various therapeutic benefits.

So, why not give it a try and enjoy the amazing scents that nature has to offer?

Other Tips for Fresh Smelling Laundry

Clean the Washing Machine Regularly

One important step to ensure fresh smelling laundry is to regularly clean your washing machine. Over time, detergent residues, dirt, and bacteria can build up in the machine, causing unpleasant odors to transfer onto your clothes.

To prevent this, clean your washing machine once a month by running a hot cycle with vinegar or a washing machine cleaner. This will help eliminate any odors and keep your machine working efficiently.

Wash Clothes on a Hot Setting

Washing your clothes on a hot setting can help eliminate bacteria and odors. Hot water is more effective at dissolving dirt, stains, and oils, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean. However, it’s important to read the care labels on your clothes to ensure they can be washed in hot water.

Some fabrics may shrink or get damaged when exposed to high temperatures, so always check the recommended washing instructions.

Use Oxygen Bleach When Needed

If you’re dealing with stubborn odors or stains on your clothes, using oxygen bleach can be a great solution. Oxygen bleach is a non-chlorine bleach that is safe to use on most fabrics and can help remove tough stains and odors.

Simply add the recommended amount of oxygen bleach to your laundry load and let it soak for a while before washing. This will help break down the odors and stains, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean.

Remember, these tips are not only useful for making your laundry smell good, but also for maintaining the cleanliness and longevity of your clothes. By following these tips and incorporating them into your laundry routine, you can enjoy fresh-smelling laundry without the use of fabric softener.


You don’t need fabric softeners or synthetic fragrances to have great smelling laundry. With some simple natural ingredients and effective drying and storage methods, you can keep your clothes fresh, clean, and pleasant smelling every time.

Baking soda, vinegar, dryer sheets, and essential oils are affordable and accessible options for anyone looking to make an easy switch.

Next time you do a load of laundry, give some of these fragrance-free tricks a try. Your clothes will come out soft, fluffy and lightly scented without a drop of conventional fabric softener required.

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