Winters are pretty cold here in Canada so windows are kept shut and clotheslines hang empty for months, but there are a few tricks us Northerners have that help us enjoy fresh, fragrant bedding year round (with no nasty chemicals or expensive laundry products).
One of the things I miss most in winter is flinging open the bedroom window, stripping the bedding back and letting nature freshen up my bed linens naturally with sun and fresh air. But this list offers options that are just as easy and will provide a fragrance filled sleep year-round.
Herbal Lavender Dryer Bags
Try these easy to make dryer bags filled with lavender buds, they provide a natural moth repellent, sleep aid and a natural antibacterial.
- You’ll find the instructions posted here on Tipnut: How To Make Lavender Dryer Bags 
Perfect for lavender scented bedding, these are very easy to make and Bonus! you can skip the commercial dryer sheets when combined with a vinegar rinse (1/4 to 1/2 cup per load).
Easy Trick Using Essential Oils
- Directions: Fill a small spray bottle with water then add several drops of essential oil (lavender, mint, whatever you like). Shake then spray a clean white washcloth with the water/EO solution until lightly damp, toss in the dryer with the wet laundry. Scent will transfer to the bedding, lovely!
Lavender Buds Vinegar Rinse
Use this recipe for making a lavender vinegar suitable to use as a laundry rinse and fabric softener (as listed here on Tipnut: Lavender Vinegar Recipes ):
- Handful of Lavender Flowers and 1 Pint White Vinegar
- Directions: Combine lavender and vinegar, seal and let sit for 6 weeks before using. Strain. Use about 1/4 cup in the rinse cycle, increase up to 1 cup per load if stronger scent is desired.
Scented Vinegar Rinse (Essential Oils)
Use this recipe (as listed here on Tipnut: Frugral Fabric Softener Recipes & Dryer Sheet Tips ):
- Using 1/4 cup vinegar in your laundry’s rinse cycle keeps clothes soft. You can set aside a vinegar jug just for laundry and add about 2 dozen drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar if you’d like (or as much EO as you feel necessary).
Scented Laundry Booster
- Fill a plastic container with baking soda then add a few drops of essential oil to preference (start with about 2 drops per cup). Stir well with a wooden stick or spoon (not one used for cooking). Seal the container and set aside for two weeks.
- After two weeks use it as a laundry booster (1/2 cup per load in the wash or rinse cycle–your choice). Do not add any commercial fabric softener.
Homemade Scented Fabric Softener
The fragrance is light once bedding has dried and you can increase the amount of essential oils if it isn’t strong enough for you. Choose your favorite scents and add 1/2 to 1 cup of this mixture at the start of the rinse cycle:
- 1 cup baking soda, 1 1/4 cups warm water, 8 cups white vinegar, Essential Oils of your choice.
Tips & Tricks
Mattress & Linen Freshener
- Using your blender, grind until fine 1/2 cup of dried herbs (try mint, lavender, lemon balm, etc.).
- Mix ground herbs with 1/2 cup baking soda.
- Sprinkle mixture lightly over mattress pad or cover then top with clean fitted sheet.
- Spread mixture more heavily on top half of bed where upper body rests to enjoy a consistent fragrance.
Here’s another recipe you can try…
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp ground orange zest (dried)
10 drops of your favorite essential oil
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender then pour into a large shaker. Sprinkle on bed linens as needed.
Scented Starch For Linens
You can substitute the lavender EO in this recipe for any fragrance you like. Recipe Source: Storybook Woods :
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Add 6 drops of lavender essential oil. Place in a spray bottle. Shake before using.
Fresh pressed linens, nicely starched, and lavender scent wafting in the air. Nice!
Homemade Linen Sprays
Combine vodka (which is also a disinfectant), distilled water and fragrant oils to make these lovely linen sprays. Here are three easy to mix recipes from Hallmark Magazine (no longer available online):
Pour 2 TBS 100 proof vodka into a 16 or 32-ounce spray bottle then add the following:
- Jasmine Bergamot: 1 teaspoon jasmine oil and 1/2 teaspoon bergamot oil
- Lavender Sandalwood: 1 teaspoon lavender oil and 1/2 teaspoon sandalwood oil
- Vanilla Ginger: 1 teaspoon vanilla oil and 2 drops ginger oil
Directions: Top the vodka and oils with distilled water, cap and shake to mix. Spray linens as needed, shaking bottle lightly before each use.
Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray
2 cups distilled water
6 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops chamomile EO
2 drops orange EO
2 drops ylang ylang
- Directions: Shake before using, spray on pillows and allow to dry before resting your head. Recipe sent in by Deidre (thank you).
Herbal Sleep Pouches
- Insert the herbal pouch inside your pillowcase at night to help relax and fall asleep easier. To help the herbs last longer, store the pouch in a ziploc bag during the day and place in a drawer out of light, take out and insert in your pillowcase each night. Squeezing the pouch a bit before use will help too.
- Details to make these herbal pouches can be found here on Tipnut: Homemade Herbal Sleep Pouches  (you’ll find it at the bottom of the page). These are also called “Dream Pillows”.
Linen Closet Sachets
- Directions: Mix 50/50 dried lavender and lemon balm and fill cotton fabric or cheesecloth sachets. Tuck sachets into clean folded linens. These will scent the linens while being stored and can be used repeatedly. Lavender and lemon balm together is a very calming and relaxing mix, perfect for bed linens.
Sleep Easy Suggestions
When scenting your bed linens, it’s tempting to overdo it since you’re likely choosing your favorite fragrances. However, a light application is preferable since headaches and stuffiness may occur if fragrances are too strong (you’ll be sleeping on the linens for hours at a time). Strong smells may also keep you awake rather than ease you into a peaceful sleep.
What To Use
Choose scents that are pleasing to you and help you relax rather than those that perk you up. Your sleep will be more peaceful and less restless. This is especially helpful for those suffering from insomnia or who have regular trouble falling asleep. Some suggestions:
- Lemon Balm
- Rose Petals
Peaceful Sleep Mixes
Lavender is commonly recommended as a home remedy for sleep since it’s thought to be effective in inducing a calm and peaceful rest. It’s also suggested as an excellent repellent for dust mites (see bottom of page), so it’s a great choice for linens. Most of the mixes I have collected include lavender…
- Lavender, Lemon Balm
- Lavender, Rose Petals
- Lavender, Rose Petals, Thyme, Rosemary
- Lavender, Rose Petals, Jasmine
- Lavender, Peppermint
- Lavender, Lilac
- Rose Petals, Lemon Balm, Chamomile
When using dried herbs and flowers to fill sachets and sleep pillows or scent bedding, choose those that are pesticide free for best results. Here are several sachet patterns and tutorials  to get you started.
If you have perpetual stuffiness or the sniffles when you wake up each morning–it may be a slight allergy or reaction to the dust mites living in your pillows and mattress.
Here is a collection of home remedies and tips to try combating these mighty creatures…
- Make lavender sachets to place underneath mattresses as well as tuck inside pillows
- Try using buckwheat pillows  (instructions at bottom of page), apparently dust mites don’t live in them.
- If your bed linens can take it, Hot Water Removes Allergens Best (140°F/60°C or higher) 
- Launder pillows too if they can be washed without damage (even down pillows)
- On hot sunny days, lay out or line hang pillows and heavy quilts outside to soak in the sun.
- Regularly pull back the bedding to allow mattresses to air out.
- Regularly vacuum the mattress as thoroughly and deeply as you can.
Dust mites thrive in the environment provided by beds, kitchens and homes in general, where the sun’s rays do not reach them. Mites remain in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding, since they can climb lower down through the fabric to avoid sun, vacuum cleaners, and other hazards, and climb higher up to the surface if necessary to get another skin cell to feed on, when humidity is high. Even in dry climates, dust mites survive and reproduce easily in bedding (especially in pillows) because of the humidity generated by the human body during several hours of breathing and perspiring.
Nasty little critters. But the thing to note is they don’t actually crawl all over you and feast on your body while you’re sleeping. They just live very close to you (and off your sloughed skin cells). It’s their feces and cast skins that pile up and make us sick. (First published June 27, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization)