One of the best feelings in life is the simple pleasure of diving into a freshly made bed with clean, sweet-smelling sheets. On the other hand, linen that has a musty smell, or is heavily fragranced with chemical softeners, can really bring down the relaxing sleep-time vibe. Here are five simple ways that you can keep your bedding smelling delightful and ready for some snooze action.
Keep a clean machine
Make sure your washing machine is up to the task of removing all the dirt, sweat and skin oils that build up on your sheets. Make it a monthly habit to wipe out the drum and lid with some vinegar and a wet rag, remove the soap drawer and give it a thorough clean, and wipe out the lint trap. It’s also a good idea to run an empty hot wash with ½ – 1 cup of vinegar: this will help to strip any residue that may have accumulated inside your washer. Keeping your machine clean will go a long way in avoiding your laundry coming out smelling funky.
Natural cleaning solutions
Scrap the chemical softeners and swap to some natural ingredients that will really freshen up your sheets. (They’ll also work for your towels!)
This pantry staple has many uses both in cooking and cleaning. Bicarb, or baking soda as it’s also known (not to be confused with baking powder!), can be used to brighten and deodorise your linen. Simply soak sheets in ½ a cup of baking soda mixed with water for half an hour before washing as usual.
It’s pretty wild how well this stinky liquid can eradicate bad smells! It is also a fantastic natural softener. Pour ¼ – ½ a cup into the softener compartment in a front loader, or add to the rinse cycle in a top loader.
DIY dryer sheets
Want that dryer smell without the artificial fragrance? Simply grab a face washer or laundry rag, dampen it with water, and add five drops of your favourite essential oil. Add it to the dryer for the last 10 minutes of the cycle. Some great, fresh scents include lavender, rose, eucalyptus, lemon and ylang ylang.
Homemade linen spray
You can use linen spray when you hang your wet washing, pull your sheets out of the linen closet, or even before you jump into bed each night. You can easily make your own mix! Grab a spray bottle and combine 1½ cups of distilled water with 3 ounces/90ml of vodka or witch hazel and up to 30 drops of essential oils.
Lavender is a lovely, soothing scent perfect for a pre-sleep touch-up, while eucalyptus is associated with sparkling freshness. Mix and match your favourite aromas and your linen spray will happily do double duty as a room spray.
Store it right
Now that you’ve washed your linen and have it smelling fabulous, it’s time to put it away. Before you put your sheets in the closet, make sure they are absolutely bone dry, as any remaining moisture will cause them to develop a musty odour. For line-dried sheets, it can be a good idea, especially in humid weather, to give them a quick turn in the dryer.
Something you may not think about is keeping your linen on a rotation schedule, so whatever goes into the cupboard first, gets used first. To put this into effect, simply make sure your freshly laundered sheets get popped under the bottom of the pile, rather than added to the top.
Your clean laundry also needs a bit of airflow to keep it fresh and prevent that thrift-store musk settling in. Leave sheets a little relaxed when you fold them, and avoid packing them tightly into the cupboard. Consider opening up the cupboard doors regularly. You can work it into your laundry routine and leave them open for a few hours while you tackle the washing, drying or folding.
Need some extra refreshment to your closet air? Try the tips below.
Simple soap solution
Grab a bar of soap, wrap it in some fabric (it doesn’t have to be anything fancy – you could repurpose an old shirt, for example), fold the fabric like you’re wrapping a gift and stitch down the ends. Pop it into the cupboard and it’ll waft around a lovely smell. When the smell starts to fade, simply swap out the bar for a new one.
Baking Soda (again)!
Bicarb can be hard at work even while it’s just sitting there. Keep an open container of the stuff in your linen closet and it will absorb moisture and smells for up to a year. Effective and budget-friendly!
Refresh your sheets
No matter how well you look after them, your sheets still need to be replaced. The lifespan of your sheets will depend on their quality and the fabric they are made from. With a good set, you can get away with replacing them every three to five years – or when you notice stains or smells you can’t get rid of. Remember to invest in quality sets and fabrics that last a lot longer.