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So, beds. We spend about a third of our lives in ’em, and they’re what we long for when we’re tired, sick, stressed, afraid, or horny. Unfortunately, the amount of abuse they take can leave them kind of… Well. Gross. Lingering odors, spills, and worse (especially if you own pets) can turn a bed from a comfy haven into a rousing game of “Name That Smell”.
Freshening up a bed is pretty easy, really– you can bust out a can of Febreeze and go to town. Unfortunately, Febreeze doesn’t really do much for you other than cover up the odors. Really, it can end up doing more harm than good. That’s why (on top of chemically-sensitive headaches and allergic asthma) I usually go the route of making my own instead. Will Febreeze and its ilk hurt you if you’re an otherwise healthy person? Probably not. Is it probably better to avoid coming into contact with it if you don’t have to? Yeah, most likely.
It takes a couple minutes to make this stuff, but the flexibility of the recipe, the ability to make it ahead of time, and the end product’s versatility mean it’s extremely useful.
So! For (the first part) of this, you will need:
- A vacuum cleaner. This is just to clean the spent baking soda off of the bed afterward. A small hand-vac or dust buster is okay for small jobs.
- Baking soda. At least a quarter to half cup, depending on how bad your problem is and how large your bed is. You can get laboratory-grade sodium bicarbonate, but a $.99 box from your local supermarket is completely okay.
- A small mason jar. Probably also available at your supermarket, but, if not, you can get a whole mess of them here. I go through them like crazy, so I try to get them in numbers.
- A shaker-type lid. You can make on from some aluminum foil, a rubber band, and a thing to poke holes in the foil with, but if you plan on using this stuff pretty frequently and storing it it’s worth it to invest in a screw-on shaker lid or some cheesecloth.
- Essential oils and dry herbs. Here’s where the fun begins! I like Mountain Rose Herbs‘ selection of oils and dried botanicals, personally. The person or company who supplies your herbs isn’t the important part, though– their quality is. Make sure you’re using actual essential oils rather than fragrance oils.
Instructions are pretty simple. Add the baking soda to the mason jar, filling it about a third of the way. Add a few drops of your essential oils (about four drops of three different oils yielded a pleasant, but not overpowering, scent), and stir until all clumps disappear. Add two tablespoons or so each of your dry herbs, freshly ground if possible, and mix them in thoroughly. While mixing, add more baking soda until the jar is about half to three quarters of the way full.
Using Essential Oils and Herbs
Now, I’m not going to claim that all essential oils are inherently superior to synthetic chemicals— there are a number of them that are sensitizing agents, a bunch of others that should be avoided by people with high blood pressure, you get the idea– but a lot of essential oils do have properties that make them more than just a pretty scent. Try picking oils that smell pleasing to you and double as air-cleaners. If you’re a witchy type like me, this is also a good time to pick oils that help aid relaxation, meditation, astral travel, dream magick, healing, purification, renewal, or romance. Think about what your bed means to you, and go wild. Just remember to pick things that smell good in combination with each other. (Asafoetida is great for purification, but I wouldn’t want to sleep in it!)
Say you want to cleanse the air, or you’re refreshing a bed after you’re done getting over a cold or the flu. You might want to pick:
- Some combination of other anti-bacterial or anti-viral oils that don’t smell too strong for you.
If you’re looking for a more metaphysical concoction, you might want to look for ingredients that help with dream magick, like:
- Lemon verbena
If you’re looking to make your bed an attractive love-nest, you may want to pick:
It’s best if you limit yourself to a few ingredients– a combination of every oil or herb on the list can quickly turn into a nose-burningly overpowering smell.
The Freshening Part
This part’s pretty basic. Strip your bed, launder your linens, and get shaking. Sprinkle the baking soda mixture generously over the whole surface of the bed. Allow to sit for as long as possible (longer is better, since it’ll give the baking soda more time to absorb odors) while you air out your room, then thoroughly vacuum up all of the mixture. Pop some fresh linens on your bed, and you’re good to go. Finish with an all-natural linen spray, if you like– I really dig Wildroot Botanicals’ lavender hydrosol.
Beds aren’t the only thing that can benefit from a dose or two of this stuff– try it on carpeting or upholstery.
This mixture can also be used for spot-treating odor-causing spots, even vomit or pet urine. To get rid of seriously rank areas, you’ll want to:
- Blot up as much of the spot as you can. Remove any solids.
- Shake a very thick layer of the baking soda mixture over the spot.
- Mix up a cup or spray bottle of one part warm water to one part hydrogen peroxide. Add a little castile soap to the mix. Try tea tree or peppermint.
- Douse the area covered in the baking soda. You want it to dissolve some of the soda and really penetrate the spot.
- Allow it to dry completely. You’ll likely end up with a hard crust of dry baking soda on top. If you can, try to drag your mattress to an area where it can dry in sunlight and fresh air– they’re pretty boss at killing smells, too.
- Vacuum up all of the residue. If odors remain, try re-treating with fresh baking soda and more liquid. Some stains can be deceptively deep, and you want to make sure that this penetrates at least as far as the original accident did.
That’s pretty much it. Whether you use it in a purely house-cleaning or ritualistic sense, this is a highly adaptable recipe that yields very good results.