keeping pillows fresh aromatherapy vs baking soda vs detergent
keeping pillows fresh aromatherapy vs baking soda vs detergent

Are you tired of waking up to musty-smelling pillows? Say goodbye to unpleasant odors and hello to fresh, inviting sleep with our guide on keeping pillows fresh. In this article, we will explore three popular methods: aromatherapy, baking soda, and detergent. Discover the benefits and drawbacks of each method, and find the solution that suits your preferences and needs. Prepare to drift off into dreamland on freshly scented pillows!


What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing practice that utilizes natural plant extracts, known as essential oils, to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These aromatics are derived from various parts of plants, such as the flowers, leaves, stems, or roots, and capture the essence and therapeutic properties of the plant. When used appropriately, essential oils can provide numerous benefits, including relaxation, stress relief, improved sleep, and an overall sense of well-being.

Benefits of Aromatherapy for Pillows

Aromatherapy can be a wonderful way to freshen and enhance your pillows. By infusing your pillow with the scent of essential oils, you not only create a pleasant and comforting aroma, but you also harness the potential therapeutic benefits of the oils. Some popular essential oils used for pillow aromatherapy include lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and peppermint.

The use of essential oils on pillows can promote relaxation and help improve sleep quality. Lavender, for example, is known for its calming properties and can help reduce anxiety and promote a more restful sleep. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils, on the other hand, can provide a refreshing and invigorating scent that can help clear sinuses and relieve congestion during the night.

Popular Essential Oils for Aromatherapy

When it comes to choosing essential oils for pillow aromatherapy, there is a wide range of options available. Each oil has its own unique scent and therapeutic benefits, allowing you to select the one that best suits your preferences and needs. Here are a few popular essential oils commonly used for aromatherapy:

  1. Lavender: Known for its calming and soothing properties, lavender essential oil is a popular choice for promoting relaxation and better sleep.

  2. Chamomile: With its gentle and comforting scent, chamomile essential oil can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it an excellent option for a peaceful sleep environment.

  3. Eucalyptus: This invigorating oil has a refreshing and minty scent that can help clear the respiratory system and promote a sense of vitality and energy.

  4. Peppermint: Known for its cooling and refreshing properties, peppermint essential oil can provide relief from headaches and sinus congestion, allowing for a more comfortable sleep.

How to Freshen Pillows with Aromatherapy

Freshening your pillows with aromatherapy is a simple and enjoyable process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to infuse your pillows with the soothing scents of essential oils:

  1. Choose your essential oil: Select an essential oil or blend of oils that resonates with your desired scent and benefits.

  2. Dilute the essential oil: To avoid skin irritation or overpowering scents, dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil. Mix a few drops of the essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil.

  3. Apply the oil mixture: Using a spray bottle or dropper, apply a few drops of the diluted oil mixture to the corners or center of your pillow. Be mindful not to saturate the pillow to prevent stains or discomfort.

  4. Allow the oil to dry: Leave the pillow undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the oil to absorb and dry naturally.

  5. Enjoy the benefits: Once the oil has dried, your pillows are ready to use. The gentle and comforting scent of the essential oils will provide a calming and rejuvenating experience every time you lay your head down.

Baking Soda

Why Use Baking Soda?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile and affordable household ingredient that offers numerous benefits when it comes to freshening pillows. It is a natural deodorizer and has the ability to absorb and neutralize unpleasant odors.

How Does Baking Soda Freshen Pillows?

Baking soda works by effectively absorbing and eliminating odors from your pillows. The fine particles of baking soda penetrate the fabric and draw out the trapped smells, leaving your pillows smelling fresh and clean. Additionally, baking soda can help remove moisture and oils that can accumulate in pillows over time.

Preparing Pillows for Baking Soda Treatment

Before treating your pillows with baking soda, it is important to prepare them properly. Here are a few steps to ensure the best results:

  1. Check the care label: Review the care instructions and make sure your pillows are suitable for the baking soda treatment. Some pillows may have specific cleaning guidelines or materials that are not compatible with baking soda.

  2. Remove pillowcases and protectors: Take off any pillowcases or protective covers and wash them separately according to their specific care instructions.

  3. Vacuum the pillows: Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any loose debris, dust, or pet hair from the surface of the pillows. This step will help enhance the effectiveness of the baking soda treatment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Freshen Pillows with Baking Soda

Now that your pillows are prepared, it’s time to freshen them up with baking soda. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the pillows: Liberally sprinkle baking soda over both sides of the pillows, ensuring an even coverage. Gently press the baking soda into the fabric to help it penetrate deep into the fibers.

  2. Let the baking soda sit: Allow the baking soda to sit on the pillows for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight. This timeframe gives the baking soda enough time to absorb the odors effectively.

  3. Vacuum the baking soda: After the desired time has passed, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to thoroughly vacuum the pillows. This will remove the baking soda residue and any trapped odors.

  4. Sun or air-dry the pillows: If the weather permits, place the pillows outside in direct sunlight to allow them to air out and eliminate any remaining odors. Alternatively, you can also hang them indoors in a well-ventilated area.

Cleaning and Removing Baking Soda Residue

Although baking soda is generally easy to remove, it’s important to ensure that no residue remains in the pillows after the treatment. To clean and remove any lingering baking soda, follow these steps:

  1. Check for residue: Inspect the pillows for any visible baking soda residue. If you notice any, gently brush or shake off the excess powder.

  2. Spot clean if necessary: If there are any stubborn residue spots, dampen a clean cloth with water and gently blot the affected areas to remove the residue. Be cautious not to saturate the pillow, as excessive moisture can lead to mold or mildew growth.

  3. Air-dry the pillows: After spot cleaning, allow the pillows to air-dry completely before use. Placing them in a well-ventilated area or using a fan can speed up the drying process.


Using Detergent for Freshening Pillows

Detergent is a commonly used cleaning agent that can effectively freshen pillows by removing dirt, oils, and odor-causing substances. It is particularly useful for pillows that require more thorough cleaning or have stains and spills that cannot be easily removed by other methods.

Types of Detergent Suitable for Pillows

When selecting a detergent for freshening your pillows, it’s important to choose one that is gentle yet effective. Look for detergents that are labeled “mild,” “gentle,” or “for sensitive skin.” These formulations are typically free from harsh chemicals and fragrances that can cause skin irritation or leave an unpleasant residue on the pillows.

Guidelines for Washing Pillows with Detergent

Cleaning your pillows with detergent requires a bit more effort than the previous methods, but it is an excellent option for a deep clean. Follow these guidelines to ensure a successful washing process:

  1. Review the care label: Check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to determine if your pillows can be machine-washed. Some pillows may have specific guidelines or require hand washing.

  2. Remove pillowcases and protectors: Take off any pillowcases or protective covers and launder them separately according to their specific care instructions.

  3. Load the pillows into the washing machine: Depending on the size of your washing machine, you may need to wash two pillows at a time to allow for proper agitation and water circulation. If your machine has an agitator in the center, place the pillows around it.

  4. Use a mild detergent: Add a gentle detergent to the washing machine according to the product’s instructions. Avoid using excessive amounts of detergent, as this can lead to residue buildup.

  5. Select appropriate settings: Set the washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle, using cold or warm water. Avoid hot water, as it can cause damage to the pillows.

  6. Rinse thoroughly: Once the cycle is complete, run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the detergent is fully removed from the pillows. Residue left in the pillows can cause skin irritation or discomfort during sleep.

Drying Pillows After Washing

Properly drying the pillows is crucial to prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors. Follow these steps to ensure your pillows are thoroughly dried:

  1. Squeeze out excess water: Gently press the pillows to remove any excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing them, as this can distort the shape or damage the fibers.

  2. Use a low-heat setting: Place the pillows in a dryer and select a low-heat or air-dry setting. High heat can cause the pillows to lose their shape or become damaged.

  3. Add dryer balls or clean tennis balls: To help fluff and redistribute the filling, toss a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer with the pillows. This will prevent clumping and ensure even drying.

  4. Check for dryness: Periodically check the pillows for dryness during the drying process. If they still feel damp after the initial cycle, continue drying them for additional time until they are completely dry.

Tips for Maintaining Freshness with Detergent

To prolong the freshness of your pillows after using detergent, consider implementing these tips:

  1. Regular washing routine: Make it a habit to clean your pillows at least twice a year, or as needed, to prevent the buildup of dirt, oils, and odors.

  2. Pillow protectors: Invest in high-quality pillow protectors that can safeguard your pillows from dust, allergens, and stains. This additional layer will help extend the time between washings.

  3. Spot clean as necessary: Address any spills, stains, or soiling on your pillows as soon as possible to prevent them from penetrating deeper into the fabric. Use a mild detergent or stain remover to treat the affected areas, following the product instructions.

  4. Proper storage: When not in use, store your pillows in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture accumulation and the growth of mold or mildew.

Comparing the Methods

Effectiveness in Removing Odors

When it comes to removing odors, all three methods – aromatherapy, baking soda, and detergent – can be effective. Aromatherapy relies on the pleasant scents of essential oils to mask and eliminate odors. Baking soda, on the other hand, absorbs and neutralizes odors, leaving pillows fresh and odor-free. Detergent helps cleanse the pillows by removing dirt, oils, and odor-causing substances. Depending on the type and intensity of the odor, different methods may be more suitable than others.

Longevity of Freshness

In terms of longevity, baking soda tends to provide the longest-lasting freshness. Its odor-absorbing properties continue to work even after the initial application, ensuring that your pillows stay fresh for an extended period. Aromatherapy, while offering a delightful scent, may require more frequent reapplication to maintain the desired fragrance. Detergent provides a deep clean but may not have the same long-lasting freshness as baking soda.

Allergen Control

All three methods – aromatherapy, baking soda, and detergent – can contribute to allergen control to some extent. Aromatherapy with essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint can help relieve congestion and soothe respiratory issues. Baking soda can absorb allergens, dust mites, and pet dander, reducing potential allergic reactions. Detergent removes dirt, oils, and allergens trapped in the pillows’ fabric. However, individuals with specific allergies or sensitivities to certain essential oils, baking soda, or detergents should exercise caution and choose the method that best suits their needs.

Cost and Accessibility

In terms of cost and accessibility, all three methods offer affordable options. Essential oils for aromatherapy can vary in price depending on the brand and quality, but they are generally accessible at health food stores, online retailers, and even some local grocery stores. Baking soda is readily available at supermarkets and convenience stores, and its low price makes it an economical choice. Detergent is a common household item found in most homes, allowing for easy accessibility without any additional cost.

Environmental Considerations

When it comes to environmental considerations, aromatherapy with essential oils is generally regarded as the most eco-friendly option. Essential oils are natural, plant-based products that don’t contribute to chemical pollution or harm the environment. Baking soda, being a natural mineral, is also considered environmentally friendly. Detergent, while effective, can contain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment. Choosing detergents labeled as eco-friendly or biodegradable can help minimize the impact.

Factors to Consider

Pillow Materials

When choosing a method to freshen your pillows, consider the materials used in their construction. Some materials may be more delicate or require specific care instructions, which can impact the effectiveness and suitability of certain methods. For example, foam or memory foam pillows may not be compatible with some detergents or excessive moisture, while down or feather pillows may benefit from baking soda to maintain their loftiness.

Allergies or Sensitivities

Pay attention to any allergies or sensitivities you or your family members may have. Some essential oils, detergents, or baking soda may cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, or allergic reactions in certain individuals. Always perform a patch test or consult a healthcare professional if you are unsure about potential sensitivities.

Desired Scent or Lack Thereof

Consider your preferences for scents or lack thereof. Aromatherapy offers a range of delightful scents that can create a soothing and personalized sleep environment. Baking soda provides a neutral and fresh odor-free result, ideal for individuals who prefer no added scent. Detergent can leave a subtle, clean fragrance on the pillows, which can be appealing for those who enjoy a subtle scent.

Ease and Convenience

Evaluate the ease and convenience of each method. Aromatherapy requires periodically reapplying essential oils, while baking soda and detergent involve specific treatments that may require additional time and effort. Choose the method that aligns with your lifestyle and schedule.


Consider your budget when selecting a method. Aromatherapy may require periodic purchase of essential oils, baking soda is a low-cost option, and detergent is a common household item. Evaluate your financial constraints and choose accordingly.

Safety Precautions

Essential Oil Allergies

Although essential oils offer numerous benefits, they can cause allergic reactions or skin sensitivities in some individuals. Before using essential oils on your pillows, perform a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure you do not have any adverse reactions. If irritation occurs, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Proper Dilution and Usage

When using essential oils for aromatherapy, always dilute them with a carrier oil before applying them to pillows. Undiluted essential oils can cause skin irritation or discomfort. Follow recommended dilution guidelines and usage instructions provided by the essential oil manufacturer.

Baking Soda Application

When applying baking soda to your pillows, ensure that the powder is evenly distributed and pressed lightly into the fabric. Avoid using excessive amounts of baking soda, as this can be difficult to remove and may cause discomfort during sleep. As with any powder, be cautious not to inhale baking soda excessively.

Detergent Selection and Residue Removal

Select a gentle detergent formulated for sensitive skin to avoid potential skin irritation or discomfort. Ensure that all detergent residue is thoroughly removed during the washing process to prevent residue buildup on the pillows. Residue left in the pillows can cause skin irritation or discomfort during sleep.


When it comes to keeping your pillows fresh and clean, there are several methods to choose from. Aromatherapy, baking soda, and detergent each offer unique benefits and considerations. Aromatherapy provides delightful scents and potential therapeutic effects, while baking soda effectively absorbs and neutralizes odors. Detergent offers a deep clean but requires more effort. When making your decision, consider factors such as effectiveness, longevity, allergen control, cost, accessibility, and environmental impact. Additionally, factors such as pillow materials, allergies or sensitivities, desired scent, ease and convenience, and budget should also be taken into account. Always prioritize safety by following proper dilution and usage guidelines for essential oils, and ensure thorough removal of residue for baking soda and detergent. By choosing the method that best matches your needs, you can enjoy fresh, clean, and inviting pillows for a restful night’s sleep.

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Amanda Bryant
Hello! My name is Amanda Bryant, and I am thrilled to be your go-to Chiropractic and sleep expert here at With years of experience and a passion for helping individuals achieve a restful night's sleep, I am dedicated to providing you with insightful tips and techniques to promote optimal sleep health. As a respected chiropractor, I have earned the trust and credibility within the industry. I hold numerous prizes and awards, recognizing my expertise in the field. With a deep understanding of the crucial relationship between quality sleep and overall well-being, my goal is to empower you with knowledge that can transform your sleep habits and enhance your life. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of assisting countless individuals in their journey towards improved sleep. Through my dedication and commitment, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that a good night's rest can have on one's physical and mental health.