The chief aim with regard to beds and bedding should be to use, as far as possible, such material only as can be thoroughly cleansed upon necessity. Feathers, fortunately for the health of the rising generation, are not considered the prime necessity now that they once were, and if used at all, should have the utmost care taken to prevent the unwholesome consequences that follow in their wake. To render them endurable they cannot have too much air and fresh wind. A feather-bed exposed to the direct rays of the sun will be found far from sweet, for the reason that the animal matter in the feathers, the oil in the quills, is made rancid by the sun's heat; hence the unpleasant odor. Put them in a dry, shady spot, if the day be windy so much the better, and night will find them fresh and sweet. Feather-beds and pillows would be very much freshened and lightened if left out in a drenching rain every spring. Expose them to sun and wind, but especially wind, on every side until perfectly dry.
Be sure and air feather-beds and pillows as often and as regularly as possible. Pillow tickings are very apt to become unpleasantly soiled. Much of this might be avoided if pillows and bolsters were carefully protected by an extra casing of heavy cotton cloth, over which the ordinary pillow case may be drawn. Wash this second covering when necessary, and it will be found that the ticking can be preserved in cleanliness and the escape of the annoying down will be prevented at the same time. Air the pillows every day.
Fill a thirty gallon cask, or large tub, with warm water, put in it one pound of baking soda. Do not use soap, it inclines the feathers to stick together. Rip open one end, sink tick and feathers in the water until both are wet thoroughly. Then shake the feathers out of the tick in the water; when clean run them through a wringer, sew up a couple of sheets, put the feathers in, dry in the sun, turn and beat until the feathers are light. Have the ticking washed and dried, and put the feathers back. The best way to do this is to open the sheets at one end, take the open end of ticking and run the two together all-around, the feathers can then be shaken in the ticking without trouble or flying down. Rip apart and sew up the tick. Thick ticking that the feathers cannot "breathe" through, should have the smallest possible opening left in each corner. Cut off a goose quill at both ends, put one in each opening, sew fast to keep from coming out and the bed will be light and fluffy as new. Goose Feathers that are perfectly new, sometimes have a disagreeable order; this may be removed by washing the feathers as above and rinsing in water with a little ammonia in it and then in clear water, then run through wringer each time. If it is pillows only, they may be spread upon sheets to dry in some sunny spare room and filled into the ticks at leisure.
Blankets, Quilts and counterpanes are best for continual wear. Comforters are very nice to throw over the bed on the outride for extreme cold weather. Do not use them next to the sheet, as they absorb animal heat and are to heavy to renovate frequently. Blankets should be aired occasionally through the winter and shaken often. It is really much better to always protect them by sheets, as they are very heavy to wash frequently besides being somewhat spoiled by the operation.