how to clean guest pillows, mattresses and linens

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As we prepare to leave summer behind us and look forward to fall holidays, it is the perfect time to deep clean and deodorize the guest room’s mattresses, pillows, towels and linens.  Here in Palm Springs, we don’t get many summer visitors.  You can probably guess why, but as the weather cools to perfect, paradisiacal temperatures for the rest of the year, they arrive in droves.  I took the opportunity of this past weekend to clean all things fabric in the guest room – with the help of one multi-tasking all natural cleaner, 20 Mule Team® Borax.

Borax is one of those multi-purpose cleaners that everyone needs to keep around.  Its uses are many, a long list that never ends.  You can use it in just about every room in the house for something!  In the guest room alone, I used it to clean, deodorize, whiten and brighten several things.  First,

the mattress

Everyone knows a houseguest requires clean sheets, but you might be overlooking the mattresses.  Dust, allergens, sweat… all kinds of things can collect on your mattress and it should be cleaned a couple of times a year – even if you have a mattress cover.  I like to start off by vacuuming the mattress with a powerful suction.  Then I spot clean.  Sweat spots, spilled drinks or *cringe* the nighttime accident can all be cleaned the same way:

whiten and deodorize a mattress

  • dampen soiled are with water
  • sprinkle Borax overtop
  • rub Borax into mattress I circular motions
  • allow to dry for 1 hour+
  • vacuum off the Borax


Pillows are another item that can be overlooked.  Like a mattress, pillows collect all kinds of yucky stuff and allergens and need a spin through the washing machine every so often.  Pillows can develop gross yellow rings, which just comes from sweating during the night.  Luckily, you can whiten and brighten your pillows while you clean them.

whiten and brighten pillows

  • place two pillows in the washing machine on either side to balance
  • turn on the hot water
  • throw in one laundry pod (or liquid equivalent)
  • add 1/2 cup of Borax into the hot water
  • add 1/2 cup of bleach to water or into bleach compartment
  • allow to soak for 30 min
  • run for a full cycle + extra rinse
  • dry synthetic pillows in the dryer with dryer balls (the balls help fluff up the pillows)

linens and towels

When cleaning the guest sheets and towels, I always want extra fire power.  My guests are super clean, of course, but we play hard – we swim, we sweat, we hike, we sweat.  The bedsheets need tender loving care, especially during the summer and especially with kids.

brightening and cleaning linens 

  • start filling the washing machine drum with hot water
  • add one detergent pod (or liquid equivalent)
  • add 1/4 cup of Borax to the water
  • stuff in the sheets or towels
  • add 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • allow linens to soak for 30 min
  • run normal cycle with extra rinse
  • line dry or dry in dryer – your preference

Where do you use your Borax?  In the laundry room?  The kitchen?  The bathroom?  Probably all of the above, right?  Check out this Borax page for more ideas, hacks, tips and uses for Borax around the home!  Here are the official uses for Borax.  Borax can be found in just about every one of your favorite retailers.  I purchased mine at Walmart in the laundry aisle with other laundry boosters and additives.

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