We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s essential that we’re as comfortable as possible in bed. That means fluffy blankets, soft pillows, a suitable mattress – and, of course, clean bed sheets! And keeping your bed linens clean means washing them properly.
Each type of linen requires different washing methods, but washing sheets generally starts with pre-treating stains. Check the label for the cycle, water temperature, and detergent you should use. Ideally, use cool or warm water, so you don’t harm the fibres. Tumble dry the sheets or air dry them outside under the direct sun. Then fold your sheets and store them in your closet or box.
Don’t compromise your sleep quality by lying down on dirty sheets! Here’s your guide on how to wash bed sheets, so your high-quality sheets stay soft and smooth.
How Often Should I Wash Sheets?
Body oils, skin cells, and dust mites build up on your sheets over time, turning your sheets dirty. To maintain clean sheets, you should change and wash your sheets at least once every two weeks, if not once a week.
Note that if you or someone else is sick, you should wash sheets twice weekly – or every day if they have something like the flu!
Washing Sheets by Type
Different types of sheets have different washing instructions. Check the care label to see what heat setting and cycle to use. If you’re unsure of how to wash bed sheets properly, you can always ask your professional cleaner to pop in a load for you!
Before you wash the sheets, make sure to pre-treat stains. If you need instructions for getting stains out of sheets, check the next section.
Remove sheets from your bed and set them aside. You can use this time to clean your mattress as well – also crucial for good sleep!
1. How to wash cotton sheets
These are the most common type of sheets and require simple care. Use a gentle wash cycle with cool or warm water – hot water isn’t necessary unless someone is sick. Remove sheets from the washer once the cycle is over and shake before drying sheets to minimise wrinkling.
To brighten your white cotton bed sheets, add a quarter-cup of lemon juice to the wash.
2. How to wash linen sheets
Linen is one of the most durable fabrics, so you can use a hotter setting versus most sheets. Linen sheets also become softer with more washings.
Use mild laundry detergent, and avoid bleach. Don’t keep linen in the dryer for too long since it dries quickly.
3. How to wash bamboo sheets
Bamboo is a natural fibre, so you need to use a mild detergent or one specially designed for natural cloth. Do not use bleach or harsh chemicals since you could damage the fibres.
Use a gentle cycle to minimise colour fading. It’s better to air dry your bamboo sheets, although you can use the lowest drying setting on your dryer.
4. How to wash silk sheets
Like most luxury sheets made of delicate fabric, silk sheets need special laundry care. For the first several washes, you’ll likely need to do it by hand to ensure you don’t weaken the fabric fibres. Don’t wring them to dry, either – blot them with a towel.
If you’re using a washer, choose the most gentle cycle available. Use mild detergent and air dry silk sheets out of direct sunlight.
Getting Stains Out of Bed Sheets
Accidents happen, and stains are something of an inevitability with bed sheets. To remove specific stains, use the following tips:
BLOOD: Start by dabbing off any clots or clumps. Avoid using hot water. Instead, dip a sponge in cold water and blot the stain. After that, dip a clean cloth or sponge in hydrogen peroxide and dab the remaining blood. Rinse the affected area and repeat if necessary.
SWEAT: Apply some white vinegar with a sponge, then rinse. Place it in the laundry using the hottest setting that’s still fabric-safe. For white sheets, mix a 1:1:1 solution of bicarb soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water and apply the paste to the stain. Let it sit for an hour, then wash on low heat.
MAKEUP: Mix dish soap with water and use a cloth or old toothbrush to scrub the cleaning solution into the stain. Repeat until the stain is removed.
DRINKS: Mix a litre of water with half a teaspoon of liquid detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak the stain for 15 minutes in the mixture. Rinse, then repeat if necessary. Wash on a medium or low setting.
Proper Care for Bed Linens
Of course, it’s not enough just to wash your sheets regularly and rotate through your sets. You need to take proper care of your sheets to ensure their longevity. Follow these tips to maximise your bed sheets’ lifespan.
1. Don’t overload the washer
Your washing machine has a limited capacity, and loading it too full will not only mean your sheets won’t be fully washed, but it could also risk damaging your washer.
It might take a few more loads than you like, but washing a set or two at a time will be better in the long run.
2. Store sheets properly
You can store your sheets sorted by size or room to make organising your linens easier.
Keep sheets folded properly inside your linen closet or storage boxes. This will also help save you time when changing sheets since you already know where to look!
3. Change sheets often
Rotate your bed sheets at least once every two weeks, if not once a week.
You may feel tempted to wash them less frequently to prevent them from “wearing out” as fast, but sleeping on unclean sheets is a big no-no!
4. Treat stains immediately
The faster you treat a stain, the easier it is to remove. Avoid using hot water as you could “cook” the stain.
5. Wash sheets separately
Don’t wash white sheets with coloured ones to prevent bleeding and staining.
And don’t wash sheets with towels and other bedding or linen. You may end up overloading your washer or affecting the fabric fibres.
6. Try line drying
You’ll get softer, smoother sheets if you line dry!
Direct sunlight will also kill any lingering bacteria and odours, leaving you with silky sheets to sleep on at night.
7. Avoid unnecessary additions
Don’t use a dryer sheet and fabric softener, which can affect the natural fibres of your linens.
White vinegar works better for softening fabrics, so that your bed sheets don’t feel stiff.