Bed Sheet Care 101
How to Wash Bed Sheets
There are three basic elements to consider when washing your bed sheets – water temperature, detergent, and agitation. Each of these varies with different bedding fabrics, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions first. Every bed sheet material is a little bit different. Use our guides on How to Wash Flannel Sheets and How to Care for Silk Sheets to learn more about these materials.
Whether by hand or in the machine, hot water is best for cleaning your bed sheets. Materials like cotton and microfiber sheets can handle higher speeds and more intense detergents in a washing machine, but heat and agitation can damage other, more delicate fabrics. If your manufacturer instructions aren’t clear, go with warm water on a delicate cycle and gentle detergent. However, always check tags on your bed sheets to avoid any damage in case hand washing is best. Bleeding and dulling can be an issue when mixing colors, so be sure to separate white and dyed bed sheets. Learn more about your sheets from our Bedding Materials guide.
How to Dry Bed Sheets
Hang-drying is the best method for most types of bed sheets, especially delicate materials like satin. It leaves your sheets fresh, wrinkle-free, and clean. If this isn’t an option at your home, a low-heat tumble dry is suitable for most materials. Just like washing, be sure to read the instructions before tossing your laundry in the dryer. Once your sheets are dry, use an iron on a low setting to kill remaining allergens and make your sheets feel crisper.
Consider Alternative Soaps for Gentler Cleaning
Cheap, chemical-filled detergents aren’t always the best for quality sheets. You can clean your bed sheets more naturally by using green alternatives like white distilled vinegar and borax. Don’t worry, that recognizable vinegar smell doesn’t stick to fabrics, but vinegar does act as a natural fabric softener and bleach. This makes it especially useful for brightening up bedding that’s become soiled or dingy.
Borax is actually a component of many commercial detergents and has been used in laundry for centuries as a color-safe, all-fabric cleaner. Use it in place of a chemical detergent for a wash cycle that’s less harsh on your sheet fabric. As always, be sure to read the care labels on your bed sheets before using any new detergent.
Proper bed sheet care doesn’t just apply to how you wash your bed sheets. Sheets can wrinkle and stain even after you place them on your bed. Learn more about How to Put Sheets on a Bed and Easy Ways to Reuse Flat Sheets to get the most out of your most vital bedding. The better you treat your bed sheets, the longer they’ll last. So always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wash and dry them carefully.