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 fragrant bedding year round (with no nasty chemicals or expensive products).
One of the things I miss most in winter is flinging open the window, stripping the sheets back and letting nature renew my linens naturally with sun and fresh air. But this list offers options that are just as easy and will provide a fragrance filled slumber year-round.
This page is packed to the brim with suggestions, enjoy!
Herbal Dryer Bags
Try this quick to sew project that provides a natural moth repellent, snooze aid and a natural antibacterial.
- You’ll find the instructions posted here. (scroll to bottom of page)
Perfect for scented bedding, these are very simple 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: Essential Oils
- Directions: Fill a small spray bottle with water then add several drops of EO (mint, whatever you like). Shake then spritz a clean white washcloth with the solution until lightly damp, toss in the dryer with the wet laundry. Scent will transfer to the items, lovely!
Floral Buds Rinse
This recipe for infusing a scented vinegar is suitable as a laundry aid and fabric softener (as listed on this page):
- Handful of Lavender Flowers and 1 Pint White Vinegar
- Directions: Combine ingredients, seal and let sit for 6 weeks. Strain. Toss in about 1/4 C. to the rinse cycle, increase up to 1 cup per load if stronger aroma is desired.
Vinegar Rinse (Essential Oils)
Use this recipe (as listed here):
- Tossing in 1/4 C. vinegar to the rinse cycle keeps clothes soft. You can set aside a jug just for laundry and add about 2 dozen drops of your favorite EO if you’d like (or as much EO as you feel necessary).
- Fill a plastic container with baking soda then add a few drops of EO 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 C. per load in the wash or rinse cycle–your choice). Do not add any commercial softener.
Homemade Fabric Softener
The fragrance is light once fabric has dried and you can increase the amount of EO 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 C. baking soda, 1 1/4 C. warm water, 8 C. white vinegar, Essential Oils of your choice.
Tips & Tricks
- Using your blender, grind until fine 1/2 C. of dried herbs (try mint, lemon balm, etc.).
- Combine ground herbs with 1/2 C. baking soda.
- Sprinkle 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 C. baking soda
1/2 C. 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 as needed.
You can select the EO in this recipe in any fragrance you like. Source: Storybook Woods:
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Add 6 drops of lavender EO. Place in a spray bottle. Shake well.
Freshly pressed, nicely starched, and lovely aroma wafting in the air. Nice!
Homemade Linen Sprays
Combine vodka (which is also a disinfectant), distilled water and fragrant oils to make these lovely 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 essential oils:
- Jasmine Bergamot: 1 tsp. jasmine and 1/2 tsp. bergamot
- Sandalwood: 1 tsp. lavender and 1/2 tsp. sandalwood
- Vanilla Ginger: 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 drops ginger
Directions: Top the vodka and EO with distilled water, cap and shake to combine. Spritz linens as needed, shaking bottle lightly before each use.
Sweet Dreams Spray
2 C. distilled water
6 drops lavender EO
2 drops chamomile EO
2 drops orange EO
2 drops ylang ylang
- Directions: Shake before using, spritz 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 (look towards the bottom of the page). These are also called “Dream Pillows”.
- Directions: Mix 50/50 dried lavender and lemon balm and fill cotton or cheesecloth sachets. Tuck sachets into clean folded linens. These will scent the material while being stored and can be used repeatedly. This is a very calming and relaxing mix.
Sleep Easy Suggestions
When scenting your bed linens, it’s tempting to overdo it since you’re likely choosing your favorite aromas. However, a light application is preferable since headaches and stuffiness may occur if fragrances are too strong (you’ll be laying in them for hours at a time). Strong smells may also keep you awake rather than ease you into a peaceful slumber.
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 Slumber Mixes
Lavender is commonly recommended as a home remedy for relaxation 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. It’s great in combination with * items below.
- *Lemon Balm
- *Rose Petals
- *Rose Petals, Thyme, Rosemary
- *Rose Petals, Jasmine
- Rose Petals, Lemon Balm, Chamomile
When using dried herbs and flowers to fill sachets, choose those that are pesticide free for best results.
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 sleep space.
Here is a collection of home remedies and tips to try combating these mighty creatures…
- Sew lavender sachets to place underneath mattresses as well as tuck inside pillows
- Try cushions filled with buckwheat (instructions at bottom of page), apparently the critters don’t live in them.
- If your fabrics 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 those filled with down)
- On hot sunny days, lay out or line hang items outside to soak in the sun.
- Regularly pull back the sheets 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 snoozing. 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)