How to Wash Bed Sheets Properly?
Washing sheets isn’t as cut and dry as it sounds. When you wash sheets properly, they last longer, feel softer, and stay white. Choosing the right detergent and getting the temperature right can contribute to a longer bed sheet lifespan. It’s also important to remember that not all sheets need the same kind of wash treatment. Cotton needs a different kind of washing care to microfiber, as an example.
Learning how to wash sheets means knowing how to kill dust mites, the benefits of line drying, the importance of a gentle wash cycle, when to use hot water, when to use cold water, and whether or not to air dry. It also means knowing when to wash them at home and when to take them to the dry cleaners. Dead skin cells, fabric softener, body oils, liquid detergent, delicate fabric, direct sunlight, care instructions, dryer balls, and the list goes on.
Let’s begin by covering the basics related to frequency and new sheet washing care.
Should you wash new sheets?
In short, yes. While we might be fooled into thinking that most sheets begin with that fresh aroma and feel, the reality is that new sheets can feel a bit rough when they come out of their packet. Treating them to a gentle cycle before putting them to good use helps you to get a good night's sleep.
What’s more, if you add a small cup of baking soda to the wash water and then a cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle, you help to protect your sheet from color loss in the future.
Wash bed sheets frequently
Sheets should be washed once a week. End of story. While it may seem an awful lot of work to some people, basic hygiene standards come into play here. In general, we spend around eight hours sleeping in our beds every night, accumulating to a total of 55 hours a week, more or less.
During that time our sheets absorb our sweat, skin cells, other body odors, and the odd trace of perfume or cologne. They may even suffer from the pitter-patter of small children, pets, or worse... dust mites. Keep your sleeping space clean and comfortable.
How long do sheets last?
As with most things in life, the more you can do to take care of your sheets, the longer they will last. Naturally, the longevity of a sheet depends on the quality of the sheet itself. The better the quality, the longer the lifespan.
But nothing beats regular care and attention. If you wash bed linens every week, you’re careful of hot temperatures and the laundry detergent you choose, and you keep them safe from over drying, from pets and other household disturbances, quality sheets can last from anything between five to 10 years.
Five advantages to professionally cleaning your sheets
If you’d like to further increase the lifespan of your sheets, you should consider a professional dry cleaning service. There’s no doubt that dry cleaning is more expensive than washing sheets at home, but for many people, the advantages of dryer sheets outweigh the extra costs.
1. Lighten your load
One really important advantage to professionally cleaning your sheets is that it saves you time and lightens your load. Busy family homes, with lots of sheets to wash every single week, really benefit from a reliable dry cleaning service. Remember that dry cleaning doesn’t just include a machine wash and dry, but ironing and folding too.
2. Take care of delicate sheet material
The cleaning products used to wash and dry sheets professionally are, in general, a lot more natural than they used to be. They're also less abrasive than those used in a standard washing machine cycle.
If you happen to have very delicate sheets, there are even more reasons to opt for a dry cleaning service. Silk and satin sheets, for example, can really suffer in no heat setting washing machines. They lose their brightness and sometimes suffer from small fabric tears.
3. Professionals wash sheets with care and attention
When you take your sheets to the dry cleaners, you’re handing them over to a professional. Every day is laundry day. Day in, day out, these professionals do nothing but wash and dry. They're experts at the washing, drying, ironing, and folding of all kinds of items, including sheets.
4. Dry cleaning is great for dealing with stains and odors
Professional dry cleaners also have more experience when it comes to stain remover and hot water for stain removal. They are, quite simply, better equipped at dealing with sheets and care instructions than we are at home. In fact, before giving up on unwashed sheets, plagued by stains that just won’t go away, it’s always a good idea to send them to the dry cleaners to see if there’s something they can do. Never turn your back on high quality sheets without sending them to the dry cleaners first.
5. Sheets are large items to wash
Dry cleaners also have the space to be able to wash large items, like sheets, with ease. Not everyone can accommodate a normal cycle. If you live in a home with a family to manage, you might be washing the contents of your linen closet, drying sheets, and storing sheets between four to ten times every week. Either you have the space and time to wash and dry them all on the same day, or you have to wash a set every day. It’s a schedule that can get really tiring and fast.
Five tips for washing sheets in the washing machine
But if the cost of dry cleaning really isn’t an option for you, then you need to get familiar with the do’s and don'ts of washing at home. The good news is that most types of sheets, even luxury sheets, can be washed safely and effectively in a standard washing machine. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track…
1. Avoid overloading
When you wash your sheets, make sure they have plenty of room to swirl around in the water. This means, never overload your washing machine. An overloaded washing machine runs the risk of trapped sheet material and possible fabric tears. It also reduces the efficiency of the wash. When your bed sheet doesn’t flow freely through the water, stains and odors aren’t given the high impact wash they need.
2. Wash your sheets separately
Whenever you wash your sheets in the washing machine, they should always be separated from all other items. Clothes tend to get tangled in sheets during even the smoothest of cycles and those tangles can cause damage, not just to your sheets but to your clothes as well.
3. Get the wash cycle right
Most sheets come with labels that give exact instructions related to washing machine cycles. Those same labels will also indicate whether your sheets can be dried in the dryer or not as well. Even so, if you’re in doubt, the safest bet is to choose the gentlest cycle possible.
4. Pay attention to water temperature
To best preserve your sheets, we recommend washing them in cold water. While a warmer temperature may help remove some sweat stains and other odors, heat can also trap stains and smells in the bedding. The exception here is when washing silk or satin sheets, because they don’t respond well to any amount of heat.
Avoid hot washes, because they have a tendency to fade the colors of your sheets and they can also cause fabric damage to some of the more delicate fabrics, like silks and satins.
5. Choose the right type of detergent
We all know that detergent isn’t cheap and when you have to wash your sheets every week, things can get expensive. But it’s more expensive having to continuously change your sheets because they suffer from being exposed to cheap detergents. Always go for mild detergents, organic detergents, and ones that have lower percentages of bleach.
At the same time, be careful about the amount of detergent you use in your wash. It’s not necessary to pour the detergent all the way to the top of the maximum mark every time you wash your sheets. In fact, it’s fairly counterproductive in terms of bed sheet care. An excess of detergent actually causes bed sheets to wear out faster than they should. Stick to a quarter of the maximum mark and you’ll be within the optimum levels of detergent use.
How to wash luxury sheets?
So, what about luxury bed sheets? If you’ve spent a lot of money on your sheets, there’s even more reason to take care of your purchase. Not all fabrics respond in the same way, so be sure to bear the following recommendations in mind…
4 recommendations for washing satin and silk sheets
If you love to sleep between silk and satin sheets, there are four things you should remember related to laundry detergent, line drying, and fabric fibers:
Use a detergent specially formulated for use on delicate fabrics.
Always wash in cold water.
Avoid all chemicals or extra washing liquids, like softeners and stain removers.
Never dry satin or silk sheets in the dryer.
3 reasons to choose cotton sheets
If you’re a big fan of cotton bed sheets, then you’ll be pleased to know that they are really easy to take care of. For example:
Most detergents work on cotton bed sheets without causing any damage.
A cool or warm water wash is the perfect cycle for cotton, making it easier to get stains out.
Cotton sheets can be placed in the tumble dryer without any issues.
A quick tip for cotton: be sure to remove sheets from the dryer as soon as the cycle finishes. That way, you avoid wrinkles and ironing isn’t necessary. The Mellanni Organic Cotton and the Flannel Cotton Sheet Set, Lightweight 160GSM are two of the most machine-friendly cotton sheets available in the Mellanni collection.
5 things to know about how to wash linen sheets
How easy or difficult is it to air dry or tumble dry linen? What heat setting or air dry setting should you use?
Despite appearing similar to cotton, linen sheets are more delicate than cotton sheets because their fibers are weaker.
As such, special cleaning care is required. Always choose a mild detergent.
Linen sheets should be washed using a natural, gentle, preferably organic detergent.
Avoid hot temperatures. Wash in cold water.
You can use the tumble dryer, but on a low heat setting.
5 tips for washing bamboo sheets
When it comes to washing bamboo sheets, there are five tips to highlight:
We suggest washing bamboo sheets in cold water.
Separate your sheets from other items, because they’re particularly fragile and are susceptible to tears from zips, hooks, and other garment features.
Bamboo sheets do NOT like bleach at all. Avoid it at all costs.
Dry sheets on the clothesline to ensure fresh-smelling sheets.
If you are going to tumble dry bamboo, select a medium or low setting.
Best buy fabrics
If you’re the kind of person that’s smart about every purchase you make, you’ll no doubt be interested in having fresh sheets that are easy to wash, durable, and super soft to sleep on. Two alternatives that form part of the Mellanni range and that meet these specs are the Mellanni Queen Sheet Set - Hotel Luxury 1800 Bedding, a microfiber option, and the Jersey Knit 100% Cotton 4-Piece Bed Sheet Set. Jersey knit is particularly good for families who tend to wash sheets more than once a week, because they’re 100% washing machine friendly. They also come up trumps on other bed sheet fabrics on price, softness, elasticity, and breathability.
How to best dry your bed sheets?
The tumble dryer will weaken fabric fibers in silk and satin sheets, but when washing hardier fabrics that can handle a medium heat tumble dry, you can feel the difference. You get softer sheets for a more luxurious bedtime environment.
Always read the care label. Be on the lookout for dryer balls. Avoid the tumble when it’s not recommended and make full use of a gentle cycle on low heat when you know your sheets can handle it.
Say goodbye to sheet pilling
Ever heard of sheet pilling? Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, we’re confident that you will have suffered from pilling on your bed sheets at one point or another. Pilling is the term used to describe the annoying little balls of fabric that form on bedsheets over time. They make bed sheets look older and less cared for than they actually are, but there are ways to avoid them.
Stick to cold water or low temperatures.
Opt for a low setting tumble dry or stick with the line dry.
Avoid bleach and other chemical stain remover products.
Choose a mild detergent and stop using fabric softeners.
Washing tips to keep your white bed sheets white
Let’s get things nice and clear from the off. No bleach on your white sheets ever. It’s too harsh. It ruins the fabric, degrades the fibers, and leaves you with sheets that look older than they are. In fact, if you use bleach too often on your sheets, it can end up being very counterproductive, turning your white sheets a kind of yellowy white.
So, what can you introduce into your wash if you want to whiten your whites? The perfect recipe is simple and inexpensive. You need four main ingredients:
dishwashing liquid (yes! DISHwashing liquid)
The basic rule is that baking soda and white vinegar can always be added to your wash. Together, they make an effective, natural, fabric-friendly substitute for softener, helping to leave your bed sheets smooth to the touch, as well as extra white. But, if your sheets are already looking yellow, that’s when you need to add dishwashing liquid and lemon juice to the mix. Here’s the recipe for the perfect solution:
1/4 cup of baking soda mixed into the usual amount of washing machine detergent that you use.
1 cup of vinegar.
the juice of 1 lemon.
2 tbsp of DISHwashing liquid.
add all the above to a large bucket of warm water, add your sheets and leave them to soak for 30 minutes.
remove and do a regular wash and dry as you would normally do.
To summarize, learning how to wash sheets properly is only half of the story. Choosing the right kind of bed sheet fabric is also important because the type of sheet you choose will affect the type of washing care required.
If you need the most economic option, opt for microfiber and try the Mellanni Queen Sheet Set - Hotel Luxury 1800 Bedding.
If you have a large family and you wash your bed sheets a lot, then the 100% Cotton 4-Piece Jersey Knit Sheets Set is a great choice.
So, it’s time to put all these tips into practice and to give your sheets the washing experience they need to stay soft and pilling-free.