How To Clean Soft Furnishings And Bedding (Naturally)

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It is great to just pop your sheets or duvet covers into the washing machine, but what can you do when you have to deal with the huge duvet itself, pillows or mattress? Or what about the sofa or your cushions .

These items in our homes still become dirty, dusty or stained. If you have children, the amount of accidents on furnishings and mattress can increase the cleaning load.

Keeping all these items cleaned, helps with our breathing ( its amazing just how much dust floats around and of course dust mites that can cause so many allergies). This blog hopefully covers cleaning these hard to clean items with some simple ideas . I hope to find ways to clean any soft furnishings in our homes. Sofas and Mattresses, cushions and duvets and pillows and rugs.


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How long do we sit on our sofas in the day? Or fall asleep on them, as our daughter tends to do.

Who are we sharing the sofa with? Your dog or cat? We started off with our new sofa years ago now, promising that our dogs wouldn’t sit on them, keeping off the hairs and any dust from the fur.

But I have to admit as the time has gone on, and a puppy joined the household, it was harder to say no. If you are like us, a good cuddle with your pet is a relaxing thing.

Sofas are not the cheapest piece of furnishings and we usually keep them for a number of years. So keeping them dust free and clean, can make them last a lot longer.

I was actually reading a really good site for ordering products called ECCO-VERDE.COM , I came across recipes for cleaning your sofa. They have two, one for fabric, which has lemon juice, baking soda and water, and the suggestion of an essential oil ( of course patch test first) or for Leather they are suggesting white vinegar and water, both using a microfibers cloth too. This stops any fibers being left behind during cleaning.


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There are some tips on cleaning leather sofas, first with all furnishings , a good hoover into all the crevice’s, Then a clean with a damp cloth to remove any easy to clean areas. ( always check a small area before cleaning with any product )

Using a mixture of White vinegar and water or white vinegar and olive oil in a spray bottle . The website Family Handyman- also have some good tips on trying to remove scratches with Baby oil or olive oil. They also suggest using Coconut oil to buff up the sofa . Simple ideas but much better than using harsh chemicals in your home.

There are similar ideas with mixtures of oils, vinegar etc. but the most unusual one on Wikihow, is to use the inside of a banana skin ( they show a picture of a leather shoe) then buffing off. That is worth a try.

Many ideas seem to revolve around the vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil and sometimes a gentle washing up liquid like Dawn.

EWG have a couple of leather cleaning products, but they are certainly not a clean rating and have some concerns.

I am going to give the sofa a go this afternoon, if the color doesn’t come out! I will let you know. ( update, we tried it out with the fabric sofa-Fantastic!, I couldn’t believe how dirty some of the areas were.) This cleaning can be addictive! I need to have another go. The scent of the essential oils have really made the whole room feel clean and fresh.

PLUMBS.CO.UK also have some ideas on cleaning sofas more naturally , quite similar to the above, but also suggesting some washing up liquid, baking soda or white vinegar to deal with stains.

I thought their tip of using a white cloth to avoid any color transfer, a simple idea but great. How often do you grab the first thing on hand to deal with a spill? I found that using tired tea towels worked too, as you know they are not going to impart any color onto your sofa.


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We are usually sleeping in our beds for at least six hours a night, of course it is going to get stained with body sweat, liquids ( lets leave it at that!) dead skin cells. If you add those up with the amount of years we own our mattress it certainly builds up to a huge amount of hours.

Unfortunately just by changing your sheets, is not going to deep clean anything.


One of my daughters is asthmatic, after going to an asthma specialist, we were shown pictures of dust mites, which can cause allergens . They totally grossed me out. Thank goodness you can’t normally see them, you would never go to bed and sleep!

For such a tiny bug ( not seen with the human eye) they can cause such problems with breathing and allergic problems.

Homemade sprays can be made using cool boiled water and essential oils like, Tea tree and Lavender eucalyptus and clove oil

(Clove oil, this is good in your kitchen cupboard for toothache! )

Another natural product is Diatomaceous earth, this is also good for killing other insects ( eg ants) around the home and in the garden. Food grade can be used for human and animal consumption. This products has so many uses ( even cleaning silver jewelry!)

The first thing to do is to strip the bedding and hoover the mattress. Using one of the attachable heads to be able to get closer to the fabric. Hoover the sides and any under box too. If you have a fabric headboard, it is worth giving that a hoover at the same time.


You can put your pillows and comforters in the freezer for a couple of hours, we used to do this with teddy bears and toys that couldn’t be washed. Once a month it will help kill the dust mites .

Using a hot wash to launder your bedding will help kill dust mites too.

I have seen some articles suggesting a steam cleaner as well, the type you use for your clothing. This can help kill the dust mites. We were able to buy covers to encase the whole mattress and pillow if you have the same issues in your family.

Yellow stains could be from bodily liquids like sweat or urine.

Getting rid of stains as soon as they happen, will make cleaning your mattress much easier. There are some organic mattress cleaners here , that can be used to get out stains. Using a mattress protector/ Pad , helps to prevent stains as well.

A mixture of  50/50 mix (one cup each) of hydrogen peroxide and warm water plus 1/4 teaspoon mild dish liquid. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and spritz mattress surface, leave 30 mins.

( Good house keeping) Rinsing off with another spray bottle.

I found a great blog written with humor by Vanessa- called DIY Miracle Mattress Stain Remover I am sure we have all been there ,with a Childs mattress stained with urine. Accidents will happen when you have little ones. There is a homemade recipe on the link, a mixture of Baking soda, Hydrogen peroxide and a drop of Dish soap. Sounds great.


Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on

Bicarbonate of soda, can be used by simply sprinkling over the mattress, which help to  eliminate odors ( a sieve can be used to even out the powder, with a couple drops of an essential oil, if wanted. Leave for around an hour. Then before remaking the bed, hoover off the powder.

This informative Blog is by HOUSEWIFE HOW TO’s .COM 

A hoover each week does wonders for keeping on top of all the dead skin cells Yuk!

After watching the TV program as mentioned above, the guy had bed bugs too, just saying that makes me itch!

But what I hadn’t realised is that they don’t just live in the bed, but can be found throughout your home, they even found them in appliances.

The TV cleaners used a special bug bomb of chemicals to kill everything. Though the next day they also used a huge cleaning machine ,to wash the mattresses.

The color that came from the water make you realize how often you should be giving your mattress a clean!


Of Course the easiest method for duvets is to pop them into a washing machine ( machine washable) we have had to take these down to our local launderette to get a large enough washing machine and dryer.

If you are lucky enough to have some sunny weather, it can be possible to dry them on the washing line and give them a good shake afterwards. We have only managed this in mid summer.

I saw here on the Spruce that rolling up some socks ( color Fast ones) and adding them to the wash help loosen up some of the stains and keeps the filling from becoming too lumpy . I have used the plastic balls filled with beads to do the same thing. The main thing is to read the instructions on your bedding before washing. They may have a dry cleaning label ( I admit to not liking the chemicals used in this method of cleaning. The thought of sleeping and inhaling those chemicals is not a good thought)

Ideas on Home Dry Cleaning are on this blog.

The recommendation on washing duvets seems to be about once a year unless of course you drop your tea on it! I normally do ours in the summer, its great to get everything clean and fresh. If you do get stains in between washing , there are some good tips like cleaning the area with a little warm water and some gentle detergent. At least you aren’t trying to deal with the entire duvet!


I have to admit chucking our pillows in the washing machine, a few times a year. Again check the label before doing this. I have put feather ones inside too. the same ideas for the sock rolled up to keep the filling from bunching up, is a good idea. This lady gives ideas on what else to add to make them white again. It is a little yukky thinking about just what all those stains are on the pillows. It is great to see them the color they are supposed to be after cleaning.


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Getting stains out of carpets and rugs can be hard work. I really don’t like the shake a chemical powder method, we have allergies and asthma in our household, if you are like us then breathing in some of these products can really make you breathless.

I have seen the use of baking soda sprinkled over the carpet with essential oils ( again beware of using essential oils if you have animals as they can be highly dangerous to them ) At least with Bicarbonate of soda, you know that it is safe. I have seen vinegar and water recommended on some sites, but the video below has said that it doesn’t work well enough on carpets. Though using something as acidic on fine fabrics like silk , wool or natural fibers could be damaging.

Some more simple ideas for removing drinks like cola, could be as simple as warm water with some dish soap like Dawn ( Clear Color).Making sure you blot the water up with clean cloths or kitchen paper.

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For dog smells ( and if they have had an accident, baking soda left to deodorized and hoovered up later) I have to admit cleaning the are first with gentle dish soap and water, it just feels cleaner to me.