7 laundry room essentials you absolutely need

Get that laundry clean AF

a pastel collage of laundry room essentials
(Image credit: Future)

Real talk: There's so much more to living on your own (and adulting in general) than anyone is ever prepared for. Getting used to everything you need to do to maintain a clean space can get overwhelming, and I know I'm personally guilty of letting my laundry pile up when I'm stressed.

Stocking up your new place is super exciting, but the rows and pages of laundry and cleaning supplies can be a li'l intense. Let's be honest, it's hard to know what's actually an essential, and what just looks cute or smells good (though some of our picks for you are both, you're welcome!) 

So whether you're stocking up your laundry room, cabinet, or caddy, we're breaking down the seven essential laundry items you need to have, plus some of our team's favorite items so you know that what you're putting in your machine has the editor stamp of approval.

A trio of light blue pastel dryer balls in a machine with towels

(Image credit: Blueland)

1. A mild detergent

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For those of us with a laundry shelf rather than an entire utility room, having multiple giant bottles of detergent is just not the move. To get the most out of your detergent, it's ideal to stick to a gentle formula that works for everything and anything. You can easily add a scent boost or stain remover in for bigger loads or heavy-duty cleaning and build your detergent up to what you need. But you can't strip down an intense formula to be safe for delicate materials. 

2. Oxi stain remover for both whites and colors

TBH, between Wine Wednesdays, hot girl walks, makeup spills, and lowkey messy cooking, running my laundry with just detergent doesn't always cut it. Sometimes you need an extra boost or a treatment to target those stains, and that's where my oxi stain remover duo comes in. I have one each specializing in whites and colors that have rescued a favorite outfit many times, which is why every laundry room should have the same.

3. Baking soda

Baking soda is a home cleaning hack icon, and TBH you should always have some on hand for all your cleaning and laundry needs. It's amazing for neutralizing odors in your laundry and within the washing machine itself and will have everything feeling extra clean and fresh. Arm & Hammer is our absolute favorite baking soda for cleaning here at Real Homes, but the box isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. Pick up a glass container or jar to pour your baking soda into to set the clean vibe in your laundry space.

4. Dryer balls

For dorm dwellers paying per use for laundry machines and those of us who live in apartments wanting to cut down on our drying time and noise, dryer balls are a must-have. They work by keeping your laundry from tangling and giving the air in your dryer the space to properly circulate and dry each item. Their softening and energy-conserving abilities make them an absolute essential for any laundry room.

5. A lint roller

Especially for pet parents and those of us who are constantly shedding our own hair (it's me, hi), a lint roller or remover is an absolute non-negotiable for keeping your clean clothes and cutest outfits looking top-tier. Go traditional with the sticky paper rolls, or try a sustainable version that can be washed and reused like the ones we recommend below.

6. Fragrance booster

If you love an extra boost of fragrance for your sheets, knitwear, and towels, a bottle of fresh-smelling linen spray, scent booster, or some essential oils should definitely be on your shopping list. These would all pair perfectly with our recommended detergents, and you have the freedom and flexibility to customize your very own signature scent for clean laundry.

7. A cute li'l garbage can

It's beyond important to regularly clean out the lint, hair, and dust bunnies from your washer and dryer to keep your laundry looking its best and your machines at max efficiency. Having a fun little trash can close to your machines gives you a convenient place to throw those clumps away, and it serves as an adorable reminder for yourself to check the washing machine filter and dryer's lint catcher.

Nishaa Sharma
Freelance social media editor

Hi! I’m the former social editor at Real Homes and a freelance social media expert bringing you the latest and greatest in home trends, interiors aesthetics, and celebrity finds. When I’m not scrolling or filming the best home decor for your small space, you can find me exploring the cutest villages and brunch spots, or snuggled up on the sofa with a new recipe, my husband, and our puppy, Ebble.