Fresh Summery Scented Bedding Year Round: {Tip Sheet}

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).

Beat Those Stale Winter Blues With These Tips

Beat Those Stale Winter Blues With These Tips

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.

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…

Pixie Dust

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

Source: Hallmark Magazine

Source: Hallmark Magazine

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:

  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lilac
  • Rose Petals
  • Peppermint

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.

Dust Mites

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)

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What Readers Are Saying: 16 Comments
  1. Larry says:

    Here is some information on dust mites that you might find useful.

    Dust mites feed on organic matter such as shed human skin. In nature, they are killed by micro-predators and by exposure to direct sun rays. Dust mites in bedding derive moisture from human breathing, perspiration, and saliva.

    The dust mite’s partially digested food, and fecal matter, is one of the most significant sources of allergens contributing to allergic asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis.

    Mite Management Tips:

    *Steam cleaners may be effective at reducing enzyme allergens since the heat of the steam breaks down the compound. The application of frequent vacuuming as a dust control measure may aggravate allergic asthmatic conditions because conventional vacuum cleaners blow some dust through the cleaner’s bag into the air. Vacuuming helps remove the residue, as does washing, however, vacuuming does not generally kill mites because they cling to the surface. Dust collection by conventional vacuums results in a significant increase in air borne concentrations. Cleaners that send dust into a “liquid medium” such as water (rather than a dust bag) best accomplish vacuuming.

    * Enclose mattresses, box springs, and pillows in zippered allergen- and dust-proof covers.

    * Wash bedding materials, including pillowcases, sheets, blankets, and mattress pads every other week in hot water (130 °F).

    * Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings such as tapestries or pennants.

    * Purchase stuffed toys that are machine washable.

    * Avoid using curtains, drapes, or blinds on windows. Use plastic shades instead.

    * Remove carpeting from the bedroom of the allergic person and replace it with tile or wooden floors.

    * Replace upholstered furniture with wooden or plastic furniture.

    * Vacuum often with a vacuum cleaner provided with a high efficiency purifying air (HEPA) filtration system. Throw away vacuum bags after use because dust mites can leave the bag.

    Installing HEPA filters on air conditioner or heater vents is not practical or necessary, and may actually increase mite problems. Remember, dust mites cannot survive on the dust in the ducts, and the small holes of the filters will force air out of vents at a higher velocity, stirring up more dust than without filters.

    Complete elimination of dust mites is unlikely. Reducing populations is the only likely way to reduce allergens in the air. Chemical control is not necessary, nor will it have a lasting effect on dust mite populations. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will have a greater impact.

  2. Christal says:

    In those cold months, but the sun is shining and the wind is breezing, take your sheets from the linen closet and put them out on the line for an hour or so before you change your sheets =)

  3. Lisette says:

    If you want to be really frugal, put the paper wrappers from bath soaps in between your folded sheets… your sheets will smell of Ivory, Irish Spring or whatever you’re using.

  4. Judy says:

    I would like to try making my own fabric softener, BUT please tell me one thinkg…does your laundry smell like vinegar? 🙂

    • Kay says:

      No they do not smell like vinegar. They smell fresh. Added bonus the vinegar keeps hard water buildup out of your washing machine.

      • Crystal says:

        Also, it is better for a front load washing machine. It is the over use of soap and build up of fabric softner that causes that awful smell. My machine started to smell despite the monthly cleaning recommended in my manual. After trying all of those special products to remove the smell (which did not work)I found a site that recommended using dish washing detergent and salt. Once I removed the smell I threw out the softner and began using vinegar. I have not had the smell return and it has been a year. I have forgotten to actually clean my washer because it doesn’t smell…it has been a few months since I did it last. Also, cut your detergent back as well…my large bottle of Tide has lasted over 8 months (yes I did say 8 months) for my family of five. That site recommended using 1/2 to 1/3 of what is recommended on the bottle of detergent…my clothes are clean, even the sweaty gym clothes.

  5. Carrie says:

    Was wondering whether baking soda on the Homemade fabric softener mixture will fade my colored clothes?

    Excellent tips — I keep coming back to Tipnut! All of a sudden I see a lot of “homemade laundry soap” posts on all over the net but I always remember that I saw it here on Tipnut first!

  6. Sheila says:

    This is the most informative sight that I’ve come cross in a while. GREAT tips, planning on getting started today.

  7. Kathy says:

    I have a mattress pad that heats my bed like an electric blanket only you are lying on it easing your muscles and joints.

    Machine washing is not practical on a regular basis. I just don’t know how to protect this pad with wires and avoid dust mites.

    Can you advise me?

  8. Kate says:

    I did not know about vinegar keeping the hardwater buildup in the washing machine at bay! Excellent! I’m going to mix up a batch to try tomorrow! Thanks for an incredibly wonderful website!! KUDOS to you!

  9. Jan says:

    I’d be a little afraid the the oil might stain something. Any chance of that happening?

  10. Shannon says:

    I think a couple things would be helpful for people to know.

    1. If you use too much vinegar your laundry may come out smelling like pickles. stick to about 1/4 – 1/3 cup.

    2. If you want to scent your laundry with essential oils do not add it in with your rinse. Do not add it to your dryer while you are drying with heat. It’s wa waste of your essential oils unless you’re just using them for the anti bacterial properties.

    Instead use the washcloth method (you could also use a stray sock (no mate) and old rag ect… Dry your clothes almost all the way then turn off the heat in the dryer and add the cloth treated with your essential oil. If you do this you will be able to smell it. Oh one more thing don’t use citrus oils they just don’t come through I guess they are too light. I like treating mine with rosemary and peppermint together. I imagine lavender would go nice with either of those also.

  11. Carol says:

    I always use about a cup of vinegar in the rinse when I wash clothes. I agree with Crystal. There is absolutely no vinegar smell on clothes and there is no need to use a fabric softener. I do have a question about the essential oil. I have tried using essential oil for scent in both the washer and dryer. If vinegar takes away bad odor, does it not also take away the scent of the oil?? Also the heat in the dryer would destroy the essential oil scent. I suppose I could use more but essential oils are quite expensive to use a large amount.

  12. estelle says:

    As I live in sunny South Africa, all I do is buy extra bars of soap, like lavender, vanilla etc. I remove the paper and then place in in my linnen cubboards, clothes, underware draws, etc and believe me it always smell fresh (depends on the size of the cubboard) cut the bar of soap and place on different racks in your cubbard. Also prevent any kind of insects etc to enter the cubbards.

  13. Laura says:

    Would love to know how long the linen and pillow sprays keep for?

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