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7 Effortless Ways to Freshen Linens Without Chemicals

Updated: Feb. 23, 2023

The best ways to freshen linens, chemical-free.

smell Fresh LinensVGstockstudio/shutterstock
Whether you're doing a fresh load of laundry or pulling seasonal items from storage, everyone wants to experience that clean scent. Too often, however, getting that clean scent takes a whole lot of unwanted chemicals. Luckily, we've gathered up 7 chemical-free ways to keep your linens smelling laundry fresh—even in storage!

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1. Baking Soda

Baking Sodafocal point/shutterstock

Baking soda has been a trusty household staple for decades—and for good reason. Not only does baking soda regulate the PH levels of water, it also brightens and deodorizes, making it the perfect cleaning agent for clothing, bedding and towels. To make this trick work for you, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash basin while it’s filling and add the laundry last. Soak for 30 minutes before starting the wash cycle for best results.

If you have a front-load or high-efficiency washing machine, simply sprinkle the baking soda into the empty tub before adding clothes and use the soak feature prior to washing.

2. Rinse With Vinegar

vinegarfocal point/shutterstock

Believe it or not, white vinegar is great for softening clothes. However, this trick requires the right timing unless you want your laundry to smell pickled, that is! As an alternative to highly chemical fabric softener, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your machine during the rinse cycle, and line dry, if possible. The result is soft, clean laundry without any offending smells.

3. DIY Dryer Sheets

diy cotton dryer sheetsTyler Boyes/shutterstock

If you lack the ability or space to dry your laundry on the line, you can make your own handy dryer sheets that are reusable, eco-friendly and chemical-free. All you need is a cotton cloth (or cut a piece from an old t-shirt), a little water and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. To make the sheet, wet the cloth and wring out before adding five drops of essential oils, like lavender or orange, all over the cloth. Toss the cloth in the dryer during the last 10 minutes of the drying cycle for best results.

4. Wrap Your Soap

wrap soapDjem/shutterstock

As a subtle alternative to a floral sachet, consider wrapping your favorite soap in fabric before placing it with your linens for storage. The scent will permeate the fabric but will protect your items from oils. Simply choose a strong-smelling soap, wrap in a scrap of fabric like a present, and sew the ends shut with a needle and thread. Repeat as the scent fades.

5. Linen Spray

Linen Spray BottleL.F/shutterstock

Linen spray is an effortless and multifunctional way to keep your linens fresh, whether you spray your laundry before hanging, your towels before storing, or your bed before crawling in for the night, this versatile spray will ensure an invigorating scent. The only downside is the cost of conventional spray. Luckily, you can make your own with nothing but some simple ingredients and a few minutes of your time. To make your own customized spray follow this simple recipe:

  • 1-1/2 cups distilled water
  • 3 ounces vodka or witch hazel
  • 30 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • A spray bottle

Combine the ingredients together and shake to mix, transfer to a spray bottle with a fine mist sprayer, or mix directly in the bottle. Don’t forget to label the bottle to keep everyone safe!

6. Increase Your Dry Time

laundry lineJurga Jot/shutterstock

Storing even slightly damp linens is a sure-fire way to have a musty smelling closet or drawer. To avoid this nasty side effect, ensure your laundry is good and dry before storing. Consider a quick five-minute cycle in the dryer after line-drying, especially on a humid day to expel any moisture from your linens and make them easier to store.

7. Practice FIFO

smell Fresh LinensVGstockstudio/shutterstock

A staple in distribution, F.I.F.O, (or first in, first out), is a great way to ensure that none of your bedding or towels sit stagnant for too long, allowing them to gather dust or odor. When putting your laundry away, simply rotate your storage and place the freshly laundered items at the bottom of the stack, allowing the older items to be used first. This way, your storage space is sure to get a regular infusion of fresh scent every time you do laundry!

Now that you’ve mastered some easy ways to chemical-free freshness, why don’t you check out our handy tips for laundry room organization and how to store your bedding?