Sparkle & Smile

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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

How to clean pillows and bedding


Don’t you just love the feeling of clean sheets?  Crawling into a nice clean bed after a long day can be so relaxing.  When I was little, my mother ALWAYS washed our bedding on Mondays and Monday night was so much fun. I used to crawl into to bed and tell my mom the sheets felt “sugary”.  I’m not sure where “sugary” came from but I do remember they felt wonderful.  Don’t you wish you could have that wonderful feeling every night?  I remember reading somewhere that Oprah has clean sheets put on her bed every morning. Oh if only….

Instead of talking about the “how oftens” of cleaning our bedding, let’s focus on the “hows”.  There are two different types of cleaning for bedding: the standard weekly washing and the seasonal cleaning done every two to three months.



Our poor pillows take a real beating – literally.  We punch them during the night and shake them out the next morning. And we don’t want to even talk about the drool and dust mites inside of them.  Down pillows are wonderful to sleep on but not if you have allergies, because they also hold onto dust mites and the mite dander. That’s not a good scenario when you are allergic and spending eight hours with your head on that pillow.  A simple solution is to place your pillows in the dryer for 10-15 minutes on very high heat. The heat will kill the dust mites and shake out the dander.

Wash your pillows once a quarter to remove dust, dander and dust mites. If you have gruesome stains that have accumulated on your pillows, try this DIY recipe for removing stains and cleaning your pillows so they are lovely and fresh. Sugary, even.

Miracle Laundry Whitening Formula (for a top loading washing machine)

¼ cup powdered automatic dish washing detergent

¼ powdered oxygen bleach or liquid chlorine bleach

¼ borax

¼ liquid or powder laundry soap


Dissolve the powdered ingredients in 1/3 cup boiling water (boil in a microwave safe container until it reaches a full boil). Mix in the liquid ingredients and add the entire mixture to the water in the washing machine before placing the pillows in the water. Make sure the entire mixture is evenly distributed in the water. Wash at the hottest water setting and the highest spin cycle. Remove and place the pillows in the dryer with four dryer balls to make them dry faster and come out of the dryer nice and fluffy.



Most experts (including myself) recommend washing your sheets on a weekly basis. If you have two sets of sheets, you can take off the dirty sheets, replace them with the clean ones and wash the dirty sheets at your convenience. If you deal with dust allergies, wash the sheets in the hottest water possible and dry them in the dryer on a hot setting. The hot water and the hot air will kill the dust mites and remove their “dirt”.  Hanging sheets outside is not an option if you are dealing with allergies because dust and pollen will aggravate allergies. Instead, get that “fresh” smell by using a DIY linen spray.

DIY Linen Spray

2 cups witch hazel

12 drops of an essential oil in your favorite fragrance

Mix the two ingredients in a 16-ounce spray bottle. Set the spray nozzle to a light mist. Mist the linen spray over your sheets and pillows and let dry. The oil will make your sheets smell like they were dried outside.



Put comforters in the dryer on a weekly basis to refresh and remove any dust that’s accumulated on them. Since they are fabric they attract and hold onto dust just like carpeting.  Use the dryer’s cool setting to fluff it and remove the dust. Dealing with dust allergies?  Set the dryer on the hottest setting and leave the comforter in the dryer for 10 – 15 minutes. The heat will kill the dust mites and the tumbling action will remove the dust mite allergens.

Once a season, wash your comforter (if it’s washable) or have a local dry cleaner launder it, preferably without chemicals. Most dry cleaners are very accommodating and realize that people don’t want the harsh chemicals used on their items unnecessarily.

For DIY cleaning, use a gentle soap that will rinse totally out of the comforter and the batting. Fill the washing machine with water and place the soap in the water for even distribution. Never put the soap directly on the comforter.  Place the comforter carefully in the washing machine and make sure everything is balanced. After it’s gone through the wash and spin cycle, place it in the dryer with six dryer balls to help it dry quicker. If it’s a warm hang it outside, then bring it in and finish drying it in the dryer to remove any dust or pollen.

If you liked this post you may also like:

How to clean window blinds and shutters

How to clean curtains and window treatments


Leslie has more green cleaning tips. Check out her site.

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