Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!
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I have this weird duality about me. I like shopping but I’m cheap. It is my father and mother both in me at the same time I suppose. So I don’t normally just shop, I bargain hunt.

And I do this absolutely ridiculous thing when I’m shopping where I won’t buy a thing I need because I don’t want to spend the money. And then I wind up going back out for it where I buy more stuff than I would have if I just got it when I needed it. It’s absolutely crazy of me and I get it, but even my last trip to the grocery store I was all, oh, hey now that chocolate cake mix is almost $5. I’m not doing that today.

So I go the next day and while I’m there decide I need new pencils and, ooh, is that a furry pillow? It is!

And for a while I was buying scent crystals for my laundry because they really, REALLY smell good. But after a while I realized that this smell good was really adding up since I change my sheets and wash my towels so frequently. So I quit doing it. Every once in a while I’d take the bottle off of the shelf and look at it and then I’d wind up putting it back. Maybe next time I’ll spend that $6 but not today, I’d think.

In one of these moments I noticed that the brand that I always got, because I think it was the most reasonably priced, was made from sodium chloride. Now I’m not scientist but I knew it sounded familiar. And it absolutely should…

so·di·um chlo·ride

noun – a colorless crystalline compound occurring naturally in seawater and halite; common salt.

Yep, that’s freaking SALT they are selling us. And no fancy salt… COMMON salt! The nerve!

So I’ve started making my own. It’s so, so cheap and it smells exactly as I want it to. And I can mix the scents up every few days. I can even make a special nighttime formula to help me sleep at night with sleepy-time scented sheets. And you can, too. And it might just blow your mind how easy this is…

For this project you will need:

Not a reader? Check out the video tutorial!

*edit* Quick number crunch per comment below:

I can purchase 8 pounds of epsom salt on my normal Walmart run for about $5.50. If you’re going to use essential oils anyway the cost of a set of for around $20 is a great buy at only $3.33 per ounce bottle and easily found on Amazon. You use 20-30 drops of oil and an ounce of oils has over 500 drops inside of it. If we consider using 30 drops per pound of salt, that still is $.90 per pound. The cheapest scent booster I can buy at Walmart is about $3.50 with tax for 18 ounces, or $3.11 per pound. That’s significant enough of savings for me :)

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

Grab your favorite essential oil or fragrance oil. I’m using freesia for this go. It’s floral and sweet and lovely.

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

Fill a jar or container about 3/4 full of epsom salts. Add a good 10-20 drops of essential oil.

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

And mix that business up. You, too, can be oh so professional by using a pair of scissors to mix your bidness up.

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

And that’s freaking it my friends. Isn’t that crazy?

I went ahead and dropped a little bit of gardenia to my salts to give the scent a fuller smell but it totally isn’t necessary. I also purchase insomnia blends of essential oils and they can make your sheets smell like the sweetest dream you ever had. That may be overselling it a bit but I believe in the power of the insomnia oil!

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

If you leave this stuff set on the shelf for a few weeks the scent will just keep getting stronger. Or so it seems to me. To use simply sprinkle some into the washing machine and refill your jar as soon as you’ve used it all up.

If I forget a load of laundry in the washer for a few days and it mildews line crazy I’ll dump a good cup of this in with the was and I very, very rarely have to wash them more than that single time! Hurrah for all lazy laundresses!

Make your own fragrance booster for better smelling laundry. Why buy expensive scent crystals when they can be made at home with only 2 ingredients? Save big bucks, too!

*** A few quick updates for things I didn’t address in the original post:

I use about 1/4 cup for a normal load of wash and I toss it right on top of the clothes. I have an older HE top loader. I don’t ever put it in the fabric softener dispenser. If a load has mildewed or is just really smelly I might use up to a full cup and somewhere in between the 1/4-full if it’s just a little bit stinky.  I just eyeball it every time.

I’ve not had any problems with my machine though I cannot guarantee that it doesn’t cause problems. I had it serviced and was told that the only problem I had with it was electrical and that it was in fine shape otherwise. It’s a good several years old and I’ve been doing this for maybe 2 years now.

If you like this post you’ll love seeing how to make your own carpet deodorizer using 2 ingredients because it’s pretty much the same thing :) 

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  1. Linda Haden says:

    Sounds great. Linda

  2. diana parsons says:

    I love using the beads in the wash, but they have really gone up in price.I have everything I need to make the scent for the wash, I am going to market tomorrow. Thank .you for the info.

  3. Loretta A Johnson says:

    I love this. THANK YOU for sharing. I’m going to try your carpet powder too.

  4. I am super excited because I won’t pay for that and I LOVE it…. Thank you so much!!

  5. Thank you!!! I love scientists!! I use this a lot!! We have a small home, less than 1000 sf and any odor/small wafts thru for a while. I’m with you on the thrifty! You’re awesome and I’m following you all over the place now!! Have a big day!!

  6. Doesn’t the essence oil leave an oily spot or spots on ur clothes???

    1. It never has for me. If you’re concerned you can use less essential oils.

  7. Phyllis Jean Field says:

    Thanks! Great idea to keep wash smelling good.

  8. Essential Veda says:

    Oh, I love this, and need to read it again! you have the basics laid out so clearly! Great job,

  9. Hi Alison!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this tip!! I’m all about the fresh smelling laundry but get so frustrated paying the price for the beads.
    Your a genius for coming up with this! I was wondering if we could use the Lavender Epsom Salts? For even more relaxing scent for the sheets?!!

    1. Yes! Getting the already scented works well. You might find the scent is too soft, but you could add some lavender essential oil to them to make it stronger if necessary. I simply adore lavender scented linens! :)

  10. Alison Rieve says:

    I tried this on our pillows along with a few drops of EO on my dryer sheets and love it. My Honey and I like different scents so money wise this is perfect. Plus there are 2 bonuses. first, no funky chemicals that i have to worry about when my grand babies come to Granny’s house. Second, I also found a homemade fabric freshener spray recipe so if I want to refresh my curtains or couches I can knowing it is cheaper than store bought and the scents match.

  11. Tara J. Brady says:

    Sorry I, for the life of me, can NOT find where you said how much it costs or did you only say whst it saves you? Was that the $3.11? Thanks so much for this! I have the stuff to make this already so I’m excited! I am newly reducing chemicals also. Thanks again!

    1. I’m sorry! I talk in circles sometimes :) On the high end it costs me $0.90 a pound but using stronger/less/cheaper essential oils can really keep costs super low. Google Bulk Apothecary… you can find scents in BIG bottles for cheap. I’m currently obsessed with their designer knockoff “Poppy by Coach, our version of”. 2 ounces is a LOT of oil and it costs around $7 and lasts FOREVER because that’s just under 1200 drops, give or take.

  12. Question for you. You mention the store bought was sodium chloride – common salt. But you used epsom salt instead (Magnesium sulfate). Epsom doesn’t contain any sodium chloride, so I am just curious why you chose that.

    I bought a bunch of epsom salt today to try it, but am just curious!

    1. Ha! In truth it is because I’m not of a scientific mind and didn’t know the difference :) My error has since been explained to me so I really should update this post. Thanks and good luck making your own! :)

  13. Is Epson Salts not salt?????? I can’t put that into my septic……

    1. Why not? My septic was fine. Unless you do a ton of laundry and use a ton of the fragrance booster at a go I don’t see how it could be that much more harmful that using epsom salts in a bath. And no, it isn’t actually salt.

  14. I just Saw a post that suggested uśing Morton’s Ice Cream Salt.

    1. I don’t know… Ice cream salt seems more expensive and I’m all about keeping it cheap. Let us know if you give it a go, though!

  15. Mickie Sue says:

    Hey just wanted to say that I add about 1 cup baking soda along with mine for extra whitening power in the wash too.

    The Epsom salts also helps to make the water softer so be sure to use less washing detergent for best results:-)

  16. Could you use just scented Epsom salts?

    1. I have been told by others that they have tried it and have heard both great and so-so results. I guess it depends on how strong the scent is in whether or not it will transfer to your clothing and stay there. Let me know if you give it a go and if it works for you!

    2. I know the Dr Teal’s scented epsom salts have quite a strong & lingering scent. They are about double the cost of the big jug of epsom salts. I add about 1 cup of the Dr Teals Eucalyptus Spearmit to about 4 pounds of epsom salts. Sorry I have never measured the exact amount of the scented epsom salts. The scent actually lasts quite a long time. I have been using epsom salts for a few years now & have not had any problems with colour fading/stripping or dingy whites.
      I have tried other brands of scented epsom salts & found that many don’t have as nice a scent as Dr Teal’s. The scent also seems to last longer, as a result I do splurge & pay the extra for Dr Teal’s.

    3. Thanks for some great info, Jackie! Good to know and I just might check out Dr. Teal’s!

  17. Why would course salt be required? Regular salt can be purchased in bulk-making the scent booster even less expensive.

    1. I don’t guess it is required. I was trying to make it as similar to the commercial scent booster as I can. I figured it is large pieces for a reason. Perhaps they dissolve less quickly and are more effective at a lingering scent, but that is just a guess.

  18. Hi really love your laundry fragrance idea but can you tell me do you add washing powder at the same time?

  19. Thanks so much! Awesome how if you really wanna save money, the things you can make at home for a fraction of what you buy in the store! I just started making my own laundry soap and fabric sheets and also use oils! Love this idea because I also refuse to pay 6 $ for scent booster…now I can make it! Thank you!

  20. Johhnas Deneau says:

    I live in Michigan and we have a store called Mejier, it sells essential oils for 5.99 they do claim to be 100% pure but if you are just putting it in salts and using it to freshen things up what does it matter. The Epsom salts are the same price, so that should actually cut the cost for those living close to a Mejier!!! Hope it helps. Definitely can’t wait to try it.

  21. Sodium chloride which is used in commercial products would be more similar to coarse salt or rock salt rather than Epsom salts. Epsom salts are actually magnesium sulfate, which can wear down fabric and cause a graying look to some soft dark cottons. I use coarse salt instead and it actually aids in softening my clothes.

    1. Thanks so much for the tip. I’ll give that a go! Rob has a bunch of rock salt for painting so I can always borrow some. I appreciate you taking the time to share your advice!!! :)

    2. Cheridal Nicholson says:

      OK you threw a curve ball in that last statement: “Rob has a bunch of rock salt for painting”. What does rock salt have to do with painting? Just curious! And I love your idea of the homemade laundry fragrance! I do like you do with sheets, but I think mine might be just a bit of lazy as it’s easier to not have to fold them and try to squeeze them into my linen closet. So I just reuse the fresh ones like you do!

    3. He uses the salt to clean oil that he uses to paint. He puts oil, water, salt and sand in mason jars and shakes them up a few times a day for weeks. Then he takes a turkey baster and takes the clean oil that has separated to the top and does it all over again :) He needs the cleanest, purest walnut oil possible so this gets out all of the impurities. I have a ton of weird looking jars with layered stuff in them on top of my fridge because he loses a little bit of the oil with each go and he uses quite a bit when painting :)

  22. Here’s another use for your laundry fragrance booster: it’s fabulous for a relaxing, muscle soothing spa bath too! I use vinegar as a softener, and add a bit of essential oil to it for the nice smell. I will give yours a try though, I have some already mixed up in the bathroom!

  23. Patricia blakey says:

    Wow! What a great idea! I too, won’t buy the expensive add ins to laundry for 6.00$ a bottle! I can’t wait to try this new tip in my laundry. I already have essential oils, and have epsome salt on hand for aches and pains for my hubby in an occasional bath. Thank you for a great money saving tip!

  24. Hi, this is a great idea! My question is I have a front loading washing machine. Would I put it in the detergent section or the fabric softener section of the drawer?

    1. To be honest I’m not sure. I just toss mine right in with the clothes or linens or whatever but mine is front load :/

    2. lavenderlaundry says:

      i have been in the hunt for a sent buster and refuse to spend such a lump sum on such a small package!
      so i tried this with Epsom salt with the lavender sent already in (i am a lavender junkie! i want to smell like it, my clothes and my house) but i did not get a long standing scent. is that the same? am i just destined to not smell like lavender?! haha

    3. Unfortunately the smell doesn’t stick around as well as the commercial scents. If I wash a bunch of sheets and put them in the cabinet they will lose the scent that I gave them with my oils. I’ve gotten to where I just wash the same set of sheets over and over so they stay smelling good for the few days I keep them on the bed! If you have tons of clothes and a lot wind up going some time between wash and wear the smell might very well be not very noticeable. You might being a bit more heavy handed with the oil. I have found that is making my towels smell nice a bit longer, but they’re also all jammed together in the cabinet which might help, too! :) Best of luck on your quest to smell like lavender!

    4. Billie Feathers says:

      You just place it directly in the drum on top of the clothes.

  25. What a great idea!
    And by the way, vinegar is awesome to add to your laundry too. It removes any residue or soap buildup, gets rid of mildewy smell and works better than the fabric softener:)

  26. KAREN MATHEWS says:

    What size jar are you using – quart, half gallon? Ten to twenty drops of oil to 24 ounces of salt, 48 ounces? Please clarify. I cannot determine the size of the jar in your picture.


    1. Hi! I actually use about a pound. It’s terribly inexact but works out every time :)

  27. You haven’t had any problems with the essential oils making an oil stain on the clothes?

    1. No. There’s so little in the salts that I’ve never had a problem.

    2. If the essential oils are pure and undiluted they are not oily at all, they have more of a watery consistency. In fact to test to see if your essential oils are pure you can do a white paper test. Drop a drop of oil on a piece of white paper wait 6-8 hrs. If you see an oily residue it’s been diluted with carrier oil if there is no oily residue your oil is pure.

  28. Do you have a recipe for the insomnia blend? If not, where do you buy it from? Thanks!

    1. I actually purchase mine at craft fairs as it seems there’s always somebody selling their blends. :) There are a few already made on Amazon here: I wouldn’t pay $31 an ounce though. That’s freaking nuts. There are some that are reasonably priced, too!

  29. Sorry for this question but I have an HE washer would I put it directly into the drum or into the fabric softener slot?

  30. my question is how much do you put in?
    love the idea and would like to make this

    1. I use about 1/4 cup in a normal wash and I just eyeball it. For really mildewed loads I have forgotten in the washer I might use upwards of a cup and somewhere in between if it’s just a little bit stinky! :)

  31. HI, I’m a newbie at this so pardon my ignorance….how and when do you add your salt mixture to your laundry???

    I just want to make sure I do it correctly!! ;O

    1. Shake about a quarter cup into the wash before you start the load. If you let clothes mildew or they are just super stinky you can go up to a cup. Over that doesn’t seem to make much more difference :)

  32. Katherine says:

    I’ve recently started doing this myself! It also softens your clothes without the filmy chemicals in commercial fabric softeners and is environmentally friendly. It’s the DIY trifecta.

    I’m a little absorbed in making my own, safe, household items for less right now. Essential oils are such a smart investment for that and I totally hope you join me down this rabbit hole!

  33. Is there a reason you used Epsom salt instead of table salt? Do you know if all that sulfur and magnesium will make a difference or not? Magnesium Sulfate and sodium chloride are two totally different compounds but if it doesn’t affect your clothes, then I believe Epsom salt is indeed less expensive. Good DIY! Thanks!

    1. You have got a mind for science that I lack it seems :) I don’t know if it makes a difference but I can tell you that I have had no problems with it and it always works fabulously! I actually washed a load that had been in the washer a few stinky days and I do really love this stuff :)

  34. Is it salt (sodium chloride) that you talked about or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) that you specify in the recipe? They are two different chemicals and I’m not sure which one you meant to use in laundry. Epsom salt is not common table salt.

    1. I didn’t realize the difference to be honest but I do use Epsom salts with great success. It is a happy accident I suppose. Thanks for the comment!

    2. If you are concerned about using epsom salt, you could try using Kosher Salt. The crystals in kosher salt are large like Epsom salts, but it is plain old table salt. However, Kosher salt will cost more than the epsom salts :-)

    3. Selina Ellis says:

      You are amazing! I love DIYas well as crafting. I make my own hand sanitizer as well as my own rollon and spray scents. Some of the washing crystal scents are either too strong or I can’t find the one I like. Thank you so much for this DIY. I can’t wait to try this!

  35. catherine says:

    OMG you are brilliant….and WHAT a fabulous hostess gift too. Practically free. …and that is my favorite price. But girlfriend can we talk about those red hands? Do you trim your nails with a jig saw? Do the reindeer chew on those poor fingertips? I am calling an intervention here and I know you are cheap (me too)….but maybe a travel size of vaseline intensive care and gloves at night…or home made lotion in the fragrance of your choice…but your hands make me hurt seeing them. That HAS to be painful. How can we help you???

    1. You are so cracking me up! Unfortunately I can’t seem to break the habit of chewing on my nails but I was looking at my hands going “red?” I actually had stained hands from alcohol inks earlier that day and didn’t even think about it! Gnawed, mangled nails, yes but not normally quite so red or dried out :)

      I will take your advice and be sure to slather on some good stuff before I go to sleep tonight though!

  36. Thanks for the laundry tip with essential oil and Epsom salts. Can’t wait to try. Do u use a specific detergent that smells good and lasts?. I’ve tried dryer sheets but clothes come out non scented.

    1. To be honest I can’t find anything that lasts as long as I would like. I think my favorite is Gain, though :)

    2. I use woolen dryer balls, which you can make yourself (see pinterest for details), or I bought mine through doTerra where I buy my essential oils. You simply add a few drops of your essential oils to the woolen balls, pop them in he dryer and not only do the clothes come out smelling and feeling beautiful, but the whole house smells amazing throughout he drying cycle.

  37. jrachelle says:

    Love the idea of helping ourselves to do something for less cost than store but I’ve got to ask is this really less? I don’t know how much the salt or the essential oil cost but I can’t imagine it will be less than $6.99. Plus one must consider the time it takes to purchase the ingredients and making it time. Truly not being picky, but these things have to be considered when going the DIY route. These factors may not be significant in this instance, but for many projects they can’t be ignored. Figuring out cost per load is not difficult. With that said, I plan to giving your DIY a try. I totally love the scent boosters and the cost of what I use knocked me over. I didn’t know there was an alternative. Thanks for posting. I’m sharing on Pinterest to help spread the word of your blog.

    1. So I totally had to bust out a calculator but here are the numbers (which I’ll add to the post above) I can purchase 8 pounds of epsom salt on my normal Walmart run for about $5.50. If you’re going to use essential oils anyway the cost of a set of for around $20 is a great buy at only $3.33 per ounce bottle and easily found on Amazon. You use 20-30 drops of oil and an ounce of oils has over 500 drops inside of it. If we consider using 30 drops per pound of salt, that still is $.90 per pound. The cheapest scent booster I can buy at Walmart is about $3.50 with tax for 18 ounces, or $3.11 per pound. That’s significant enough of savings for me :)

  38. Haha! You sound like me Allison! I’m a hard core number cruncher when it comes to shopping. Even when I go grocery shopping, and I see those ever tempting bargain tags where they take a certain percentage off the retail price, I ALWAYS do the math to make sure that the money that I’m supposedly saving is really worth it. I never rush into anything unless the numbers are there to support it. And if I think I’m getting totally ripped off, I put it back. I guess that’s the price I pay for being a total math and numbers geek, but in the long run, being as such, I’ve saved a lot of money! And I have a nice app on my iPod that tells me just that! :)

    Will say more here later!
    Stay awesome!

    1. That’s awesome. My dad told me one day about how if you bought the regular package it was this much but if you bought the bigger package it was a big deal with signs and whatnot urging you to take the deal, but when he did the math, the larger package with the “sale” pricing was more expensive. Considerably so, actually. I’m constantly checking for the real price of things instead of the perceived value. I’m not a math geek, but I was raised by one :)

    2. Yep, that’s how my dad was too. In fact, that’s probably where I got my urge to always check for the better price. He would always tell me to look at the price and then look to see how much you were getting for your money.
      I did this not too long ago. And since we’re on the subject of laundry, I’ll use this example. I used to get these huge jugs of laundry detergent where it says that you get like 116 loads out of one jug for $6.99.
      And I’m thinking “that’s great!”, as I do a lot of washing. However, I later discovered that for a little more, I could get three smaller jugs with 50 loads per jug for a total of 150 loads! And I think that I only paid an extra 2 or 3 bucks for all three. That was the better deal because this happened weeks ago and I’d be almost out of detergent by now if I had gotten the 116 load detergent. And here, I’m still on my 1st of the little jugs! So I have more for my money and I’m actually saving money because I haven’t had to buy ant more detergent in a while. :)

      So pretty awesome indeed. :)

      Aww, sorry to here about your scent crystals dilemma. I’m no scientist either, but yeah; all you had there was plain old NaCl, sodium chloride, the stuff that we use in food and on our sidewalks in the winter. That’s just wrong. But great idea to make your own. :)

    3. Kathleen Brown says:

      Great to use when you run a bath too!!!