An Atopic Dermatitis-Friendly Laundry Scent Booster? DIY It!
Last updated: March 2023
Finding suitable products that don’t irritate sensitive, eczema-prone skin is a routine chore in my house — kind of like laundry. And, like laundry, it seems to never end. At some point, whatever atopic dermatitis-friendly product I’ve been using increases in price, goes out of stock, or suddenly becomes an irritant to someone in my family. Then, I have to find a brand new product to try.
Such was the case recently with my go-to choice for a scent booster.
Unscented laundry detergents may be the best option for those of us with sensitive skin but they don't always cut it when it comes to battling odor. Especially the kind of odors that can permeate the dirty laundry of a teen girl, a young boy, two dogs, and a man who works outside in the extreme Texas heat for 8-10 hours per day. (Trust me: That’s some extreme stink, y’all. And it does not wash out with the kind of unscented detergent our skin makes us use.)
Looking for eczema-friendly scent boosters
Since I won't let my family leave the house wearing newly washed clothes still reeking (albeit faintly) of pre-washed Texas stink, I've spent many years looking for products that work as well for our noses as our skin. Over the past decade, I’ve been able to locate exactly two scent boosters that fit the bill. Today, we no longer use either one. The first became a severe migraine trigger for me seemingly out of nowhere. The other (at $0.52 per ounce) became too expensive for me to justify buying on a regular basis. Luckily, I recently came across an inexpensive alternative that really works!
DIY-ing a scent booster
Instead of buying an expensive scent booster, I found I could make my own. This one works even better than the commercially manufactured products I used to use. And, as with most DIY products, creating this one at home means it’s less expensive and more customized to my family than anything I could buy. So if a particular scent or ingredient starts to bother me or a member of my family (whether as a migraine trigger or a newly found skin irritant), I can switch that ingredient out for something else.
DIY eczema-friendly scent booster ingredients
This scent booster requires two (seriously, TWO) ingredients:
- Coarse kosher salt
- An essential oil
DIY eczema-friendly scent booster directions
- Pour the coarse kosher salt* into an empty 16 - 32 oz glass container until the container is 1/2 full. (I use a 16 oz Mason jar but you can use an old jelly jar, an old spaghetti sauce jar, or any other clean glass jar you might have on hand as long as it has a lid.)
- Drip 8-12 drops of your choice of essential oil** onto the top of the salt.
- Stir to distribute the oil.
- Fill the rest of the jar with more coarse kosher salt.
- Drip 8-12 more drops of the essential oil on top.
- Stir again to distribute the oil.
- Cap tightly with lid and let sit overnight. (Note: You can use right away, but the scent will be much stronger and will last longer on your clothing if you let it sit for 8 hours first.)
- Use like any other scent booster as needed until gone.
Why coarse kosher salt?
*I use Morton’s coarse kosher salt because it’s cheap and easy to buy in bulk. You can use any brand of coarse kosher salt you want, but make sure it’s regular salt (not Epsom salt), coarse size (this is necessary to get the product to work the way you want), and free of added iodine.
What about Epsom salt?
Some online recipes call for Epsom salt in DIY laundry products but that is not what you want. Epsom salt is not the same chemical as regular salt. While Epsom salt is generally better in bath and beauty products, regular salt works better for laundry products, especially if you have hard water as I do. It will keep your clothes brighter and in much better condition.
Which essential oil should I use?
**You can use any essential oil you want, but please be careful if you have pets or children as some essential oils are not safe for them. Lemon or lavender oils are generally considered among the safest, but please do your own research to determine what is safe for use around your family.
I have been using this mix now for several months and am amazed by how well it works. It lasts longer than the commercially manufactured products I’ve used in the past, as I seem to need to use less in the laundry, and only costs me about $0.06 per ounce to make. It’s also septic safe and never goes out of stock! And, while the essential oil I’m currently using works well for me and my family members now, I can easily swap it out (or change the concentration I’m using) if that ever changes.
Here’s to having one product I can finally stop thinking about!
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