How to Care for Flannel Sheets
Extend the Life of Your Sheets:
The first time you wash your flannel sheets, wash them with one-half cup white vinegar. This will help keep pills (balled-up fibers) from forming on your sheets. It will also set the color in the fabric to help resist fading.
Avoid Fabric Softener
Fabric softener leaves chemicals behind that stiffen fabric fibers and reduce flannel’s softness over time. The buildup from the softener also increases the appearance of pills. Instead, put a few clean tennis balls in the dryer with your sheets. The movement of the balls in the dryer reduces the clumping of fabric fibers.
Switch Between Sets
Keep two or three sets of sheets on hand and rotate them to extend the life of all the sets. With three sets of sheets, you can keep one set on your bed, one in the laundry, and one tucked away in your linen closet. Rotating your sheet sets will help you not wear out any one set too quickly.
Wash with Warm Water
Washing sheets in hot water can shrink the fabric fibers and reduce softness. Some manufacturers even recommend cold water. Using warm or cold water will also help minimize fading.
Air-Dry when Possible
When you let flannel fabric dry at room temperature or on a line, you reduce the chances of pills forming. Drying your sheets at a high heat will wear out your sheets faster.
Spot Treat Stains
Deal with stains promptly and pretreat stains without scrubbing. Scrubbing sets stains rather than removing them and can wear holes in the fabric that are difficult to repair. Pour water on a stain and then blot it with a clean cloth to remove any discoloring.
Avoid Heavy Lotions
Consider applying lotions in the morning instead of at night right before bed. Oils in lotions that you put on before bed can increase the occurrence of pills on your sheets.