How to wash sheets

We spend about a third of our lives asleep. It’s important that our bedding is clean and comfortable. Dust mites, dead skin cells, and oil from our skin and hair can soil sheets more quickly than many realize.

If you’re new to housekeeping, you may be unsure of how often to wash your bedding. Or perhaps you’ve just invested in your first set of luxury sheets and want to ensure they look and feel their best for as long as possible.

Either way, we have all the details on the best practices for washing bed sheets.

1. Always separate out your sheets from other fabrics. Overloading your washing machine can keep them from getting fully clean. And washing bedding with towels or other rougher fabrics in the same wash cycle can cause the fibers to degrade and the fabric to wear out more quickly.

2. Choose a gentle laundry detergent. Harsh chemicals and additives can harm the fibers as well.

3. Machine wash your sheets in on the gentle cycle. When using a top-loading washing machine, be sure not to wrap sheets around the agitator as this can strain or even tear them.

4. Tumble dry on low heat, then remove your sheets promptly to prevent the worst wrinkles. Skip the dryer sheet to prolong the life of your sheets. Be careful to never over-dry your linens.

5. If you prefer crisp, ironed sheets, iron them on the hot/warm heat setting, while slightly damp. Use the iron on the reverse side of the fabric for best results.

How to Wash White Sheets

It’s common to think that the best way to keep your white sheets bright and white is to wash them with bleach.

But strong chemicals like bleach are actually harmful to the fibers in your sheets.

We recommend avoiding whiteners and fabric softeners in your wash. These chemicals are also hard on sheets and can damage the fibers, leading to a shorter life span.

Instead, we recommend washing white sheets (as with all sheets) in a gentle detergent like our linen care options from Le Blanc.

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?

For most of us, washing sheets once a week is sufficient to keep them clean and get rid of any dust mites. However, there are reasons that you may need to launder your luxury sheets more often. Factors that could mean you need to wash your sheets more often include:

Anything other than sleep — If all you do in bed is sleep, your sheets will likely stay fairly clean. But eating in bed, allowing pets to sleep with you, or *ahem* other bedtime activities can cause your sheets to become soiled more quickly.

Night sweats — If you often wake up soaked in sweat, all that moisture is soaking into your sheets. You’ll need to clean them more often to keep bacteria from breeding in the fibers.

No bath before bed — If you go to bed freshly bathed, you’ve washed away the surface dirt we all accumulate throughout the day. If not, that dirt and natural body oil can rub off on your sheets, so you’ll need to wash them more frequently.

Sleeping in the nude — Because more contact with skin means more dead skin cells, skin oils, and perspiration will make their way into your sheets, those who prefer to forego pajamas should wash sheets more often.

Illness — If you’ve been sick, you’ll want to wash your sheets daily or every other day at least.

Also, if you suffer from acne, you might want to change your pillowcases nightly or every other night. If you don’t have time to wash them so often, consider purchasing extras and then washing them all at the end of the week.

What Temperature to Wash Sheets?

While many will counsel you to always wash sheets and towels on hot to kill germs, it actually can cause shrinkage in natural fibers like linen or cotton.

Even when washing on cold, all natural fibers will shrink slightly. This may be most noticeable in your fitted sheets. For this reason, some prefer to stretch fitted sheets out on the bed while they are still slightly damp.

We find the best temperature to wash sheets for optimal longevity is to wash in cold water with a cold rinse cycle. However, if the sleeper has been ill, you can launder your sheets on the warm wash cycle to help kill of any germs that may be lingering.