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We asked about your favorite holiday gifts. The comment section blew us away.

Receiving a gift given from the heart is something that sticks with you forever.

It's not because of how elaborate or expensive or well-wrapped it is. The best gifts are the ones with the most thought and care poured into them — sometimes from our dearest loved ones, other times from complete strangers. They can heal our souls, help us when we're in a rut, or simply put a smile on our face when we need it most.

Photo via iStock.


We asked you — our readers — about the best holiday gifts you've ever received. Your answers did not disappoint.

Here are 15 of the best gifts Upworthy readers said they've ever received:

Responses have been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

1. Household items to mark the next chapter in life

"My family helped me move into an apartment one November after leaving an abusive relationship. They bought my furniture, paid my deposit and helped me move the things I was able to take from my old place. I wasn't expecting much for Christmas because of all the money they had spent on getting me set in my apartment. When we opened gifts, every member of my family had gotten me something that I needed or wanted. A good set of knives, a vacuum and cleaning supplies, and from my mother — who had spent the most on getting me into my apartment — a laptop. It wasn't the money they spent, it was that they went out of their way to be able to afford to give large presents to me a month after furnishing my home for me." Angela Burlingame

Angela and her mom. Photo via Angela Burlingame, used with permission.

2. An old guitar with a new story

"My brother died from suicide in 2006. I had inherited one of his guitars, but the neck had been broken and he had re-glued it.My wife took it to a repair shop to have it fixed for me without me knowing as a Christmas gift. She said she had never been so nervous taking it, but knew it would mean a lot to me, and it did." — Lynlee Lybrook

Photo via Lynlee Lybrook, used with permission.

3. A gift that waited months to be found

"My husband, who loved Christmas and the joy of giving, passed away in April 2010 while waiting for a liver transplant. When I looked for the Christmas wrapping paper in December, there was a package all wrapped in red shiny paper with my name on it in his handwriting. It read, 'please don't open 'til Christmas.' It was so him." — Noreen Leahy

Noreen with her husband (L) and the lovely gift she found from him (R). Photos from Noreen Leahy, used with permission.

4. 100 outfits, made with love

"There were five kids in my family, and we didn't have a lot of money. A couple of weeks before xmas, I thought I heard my mom sewing on her machine. I asked her one morning what she was working on, but she said I must have imagined it. On Christmas morning, when we ran into the living room, there was a Barbie doll for me and my two sisters. Laid out all around them were 100 outfits that my mom had made. I didn't put the two together until I was a little older. It is my favorite holiday memory." — Virginia Rankin

5.  A teddy bear to adore

"When I was in third grade and my sister was in fourth, she made me a teddy bear. I would hear her and our mom whispering and the sound of the sewing machine for weeks, wondering what they were up to. I am the youngest of 11, and my mom was a working single mother. We had many hard times. Christmas morning I received the bear. It was a little malformed but I loved it! Fast forward 27 years and now my daughter has the bear."
Kimberlee Smith

In the picture on the left, Kimberlee Smith (right) with her sister. Photos via Kimberlee Smith, used with permission.

6. Hair dressing supplies with history

"My grandmother was a hairdresser for years. She passed away three years ago. Last Christmas, after everyone had finished opening gifts, my aunt had one last gift. I was shocked to learn it was for me. She presented me with a small suitcase-looking square box. I knew instantly what it was.I used items from it when my grandmother was too lame to leave her house. I would come to do her hair. I started to cry, and so did my aunt. I was given the case of all of my grandmother's hairdressing supplies. Most items were from the '60-'70s. That was the best gift I have ever received. I miss my Grammie, but I can open this box and remember her!" — Amanda Faunce

7. A blanket to stay warm, inside and out

"My friend Hannah made me a rainbow blanket for my sofa days. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome amongst other things and spend a lot of time on the couch feeling crappy. My blanket keeps me warm and reminds me that my friend cares, even if we don't see each other very often." — Jess Dell

Photo via Jess Dell, used with permission.

8. Toys from "unkie" and his friends

"A couple of years ago, my husband was out of work, and I was staying at home with our daughter. We had no toys for her under the tree, and barely had enough to even get the tree and some lights for it. A friend of ours, my daughter's 'unckie,' secretly contacted people to get gifts for her so she'd have something under the tree. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone's ever done." Crystal Tracy

9. A gift best given by a sister

"My sister gave me and my siblings each a book for Christmas last year. Completely unexpectedly, it was a beautifully bound selection of our deceased father's [paper] marbling. She had taken [the sheets] for safe keeping after our mother had passed and we had cleared out her house. That was our first Christmas as five adult/teen orphans. We were far from home, but to be able to spend it together with such a special physical reminder of our parents ... well, there were a few tears shed when that gift was opened." — Amelia Keenan Monaghan

Amelia and her sisters (left). The gifts from her sister (right). Photo via Amelia Kennan Monaghan, used with permission.

10. The best kind of re-gifts

"My best gifts were the Christmas after I split from my ex. I had very little money and had been left with massive bills. My kids made me gifts and wrapped up some of their belongings they thought I would like, so I would have things to open for Christmas (they were 12, 7, and 5). I love them with all my heart, and will never forget that." — Kim L. Stirling

11. The gift of brotherly love

"Last Christmas, my son was one and half years old. I bought a wooden toy kitchen that took FOREVER to put together. I wanted it together with a bow on it for Christmas morning. My little brother came over to help. We spent hours getting it together and it was not done. It got to be 2 a.m. and I was exhausted. Turned out, half of the pieces were backward and we had to start over. I couldn't stay up anymore, so I went to bed, upset not to have that magical moment of my son walking down the stairs to find it. Little did I know, my little brother stayed up all morning to finish it ... not for my son, but for me to have that moment. By far the most memorable gift I've ever received." — Jennifer Rebecca

Photo via Jennifer Rebecca, used with permission.

12. A bracelet worth a thousand words

"I adopted my youngest son as a single parent. He had cognitive disabilities from birth and an addictive personality, which made his teen years even more challenging. After so many difficult years of setbacks and struggles, he made a bracelet for me, with the word 'HERO' in big letters. Obviously, it is priceless to me." — Lynda Pratscher

13. A truly one-of-a-kind book

"My husband and son found me THE most incredible and one-of-a-kind gift. One of my favorite authors passed in 2014. His name was Farley Mowat and he was an incredible Canadian author. My husband contacted his estate and was able to purchase a book for me from his personal collection. This gorgeous 1st edition book (one of my favorite childhood stories, originally given to my sister and I by our grandmother) actually sat on Farley's desk in his home for 60 years (it's a bit bleached from the sun) and is signed by the author. My husband snuck off to Port Hope, Ontario, to visit Mowat's home and his favorite bookstore to find me this treasure and I shall be eternally grateful for such a thoughtful gift. I treasure it and will read it aloud to my son and new daughter when they are old enough."Kristen Meyer-Creamer

Photo via Kristen Meyer-Creamer, used with permission.

14. Miles and miles in the sky

"I don't know if this fits the bill, but I'll share anyway. The last three years my friends have treated me by paying for airline tickets so I could come and spend holidays with them. I'm retired and disabled and having a hard time making ends meet, and we all live in different places now. This year it was Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, same as last year, and 2014 brought me to Florida for Christmas. The most amazing part is that these are not my family but relatives of my friend, Mary, who had college Spanish with my roommate Sue in 1972. We have stayed friends since then, with marriages and deaths and births in between. They have become my family and have brought me into theirs and I so value them for it. Thanks for letting me share that." — Pat Martin

15. Cherries that never miss a Christmas

"My mom always gave me a wrapped box of chocolate covered cherries every Christmas. The first Christmas without her, my daughter wrapped a box of the same candy and put 'from Mom' on the tag. Of course there were many tears but I felt her presence, which was the best present ever. It's been 12 years and my daughter never forgets my candy. I can't open it until everyone leaves." —Mary Lou Keith

This holiday season, let's remember that it truly is the thought that counts.

From hours and hours painstakingly creating a perfectly imperfect homemade present, to going the extra mile for a sibling when it really counts, you showed us that the love behind a great gift can stay with us forever. That's what keeps the holidays so merry and bright.

We also asked you about the best gift you ever gave (spoiler alert: your answers were equally beautiful). You can read that article here.

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

Joy

Photographer doesn't force young girls to smile in photos and the results are powerful

“Allow girls to show up, take up space and not smile if they don’t want to.”

two girls in shirts posing for photo

The expectation to put on an air of happy, fun, pleasant nonconfrontation through baring teeth, otherwise known as smiling, is something many, if not most, women know very well. What’s more, this pressure is often introduced to women at a very early age.

And obviously, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with naturally being a happy, smiling person, issues arise when kids are taught that being themselves, just as they are, isn’t acceptable.

That’s why people are so impressed with North Carolina-based photographer Brooke Light’s (@bdlighted on TikTok) hands-off approach when it comes to taking pictures of young girls.

Her philosophy is simple, but oh so poignant: Allow girls to show up, take up space, and perhaps most importantly, not smile if they don’t want to.


Light posted a video showing some of her recent portraits, and truly, the work speaks for itself. Each of the girls’ distinct, unique personalities shine in these black-and-white images. Plus the lighting is moody and artsy and cool as hell. So much better than a forced, cheesy, smiling pic.

Take a look:

@bdlighted never underestimate the power of a photoshoot for your kids confidence #moodymini #kidsphotographer #childrensphotography #portraitphotographer #confidenceboost #kidsconfidence #familyphotoshootideas #familyphotoshoots #studiophotography #blackandwhitephoto #girlpower #girlempowerment #donttellmetosmile #momsofgirls #girlmom #greenscreen ♬ Little Girl Gone - CHINCHILLA

Comments began flooding in commending Light for how she authentically portrayed the girls as individuals, rather than producing cookie-cutter images of them.

“I love how they are not trying to be anything ‘extra’ just their own raw and savage selves,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I can feel their power through my phone.”

Light redirected the praise toward her clients, saying, “They are even more amazing in person! Like that vibe you feel is ALL THEM. I’m just there capturing it.”

For many women who had their own memories of being told to smile for photos, seeing the images had a profound effect.

“CHILLS! This healed something in me. Thank you.” one person commented.

“The Sears family photo trauma was REAL” wrote another.

And for the record, Light doesn’t make boys smile either. Here’s the proof in her follow-up video:

@bdlighted these mom's got me blushing in my DMs 🫣📸 I've never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. it's meant more than you can ever know. #boymom #boymoms #moodymini #familyphotoshoots #familyphotoshootideas #portraitphotographer#studiophotography#kidsphotographer#kidsconfidence #childrensphotography #greenscreen ♬ Area Codes - Kali

In the post, Light shared how touched she was by the overwhelmingly positive response.

“I’ve never had my creativity or my photography validated so much in my life. Thank you for the outpouring of love on these photos this week. It’s meant more than you can ever know,” she wrote.

Imagine that…celebrating others for their authentic selves, then being celebrated yourself. Now that’s something worth smiling for.


This article originally appeared on 6.2.23

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Have you heard the new toilet paper hack?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people took toilet paper—especially its availability—for granted. Everyone who experienced those hectic days probably has a new appreciation when they roll down the aisle of their local supermarket and see fully stocked shelves of TP.

A new trend shows that people aren’t only appreciating their toilet paper but finding new ways to use it that go beyond its traditional use: keeping toilet paper in their refrigerators. The most common reason is that it is an effective and affordable way to keep them smelling fresh and clean. It seems that TP’s absorbent qualities go far beyond the bathroom.

The new practice has been popularized on TikTok, where most new life hack trends seem to be springing up these days.


In late September, TikTok user @Ezenwanyibackup shared a toilet-paper-in-the-fridge hack, and it received over 1400 views. The hack involves creating a paste out of baking soda and applying it to the top of the roll. "Now, just stick it in your fridge," the TikTokker said. "This simple hack is going to neutralize all the smell and moisture that messes up your fridge, keeping your food fresh and tasty for way longer."

@ezenwanyibackup

Just put a roll of toilet paper in your fridge, and you won't have that problem anymore! #ezenwanyibackup #foryoupage #homemaderemedies #healthy #homemaderecipes #foryou #diy #naturalrecipes #recipe #fypシ゚viral @ezenwanyibackup @ezenwanyibackup @ezenwanyibackup @This Recipe @Queen ezenwanyi1

Smartfoxlifehacks has also helped promote the new trend in kitchen cleanliness with his video, where he shares how he keeps toilet paper in his fridge. He recommends that people change their rolls every 3 to 4 weeks. He claims the "trick" comes from the hotel industry because the toilet paper “absorbs odors."

@smartfoxlifehacks

This is a secret Trick from Hotels… 😱🦊 #lifehack #tipsandtricks #cleaningtricks #cleaninghacks

Another TikTokker, @Drewfrom63rd1, has a unique use for the toilet paper in his fridge. He chills it and then uses it as an ice pack to keep his food cold. “You can use this as an ice pack,” he says, putting a roll out of his fridge. “It does really work. It lasts about 8 hours.”

@drewfrom63rd1

Replying to @wgez

House Digest explains why toilet paper is so effective at keeping your fridge smelling fresh.

“For obvious reasons, toilet paper is designed to be extremely absorbent,” Brooke Younger writes at House Digest. “However, it doesn't just absorb liquids on contact; it can also pull them from the surrounding air. If you've ever touched your bathroom's toilet paper roll after a steamy shower, you might notice that it feels a bit damp. Placing a clean toilet paper roll in your fridge will absorb some of the internal humidity and, with it, those stinky particles.”

The site adds that toilet paper can also help keep dark, damp parts of your house, such as a closet or basement, stay fresh, too.

The toilet paper hack is effective, and it’s also a great way to save money. The average roll of TP costs about $1, which is much cheaper than a refrigerator deodorizer that can set you back about $10.

Now, for the sake of all the people who love this hack, let’s hope that word spreads so that no one gets any side-eye for having stacks of TP in their fridge. But we should also hope it doesn’t become so popular that people start hoarding toilet paper again. That wasn’t fun the first time.


This article originally appeared on 11.20.23

Kampus Production/Canva

How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.


This article originally appeared on 2.08.24