You spend a lot of time in bed, so it makes sense to invest in quality, comfortable sheets. (Check out the sheets our Hunker editors swear by.) And just like your mattress, those high thread count sheets need special care. General guidelines include keeping two to three sets of sheets for each bed so you can rotate between them and always washing new sheets before putting them on. To take care of your bedding investment, read on for the do's and don'ts of washing your bed sheets.
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Wash bed sheets once a week.
A good rule of thumb is to wash all of your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week. That's the minimum, so change them more often if you prefer. After the bed is stripped is a good time to address any mattress stains.
Tackle bed sheet stains before putting them in the washing machine. For blood stains, rinse the fabric well with cold water. If that doesn't work, rub a small amount of detergent into the stain. Rinse thoroughly before washing.
Don’t overload the washer.
For the most thorough washing, don't cram in too many sheets. Sheets need room to move around in the washer to get fully cleaned and rinsed. Overcrowding can also lead to sheets wrapping around the center agitator (if you have one), which can cause tearing.
Wash sheets and pillowcases by themselves.
Avoid combining bed sheets with other laundry, especially towels. Washing sheets on their own helps protect the fabric so they last longer. If you need to add other items, stick to similar colors and lightweight fabrics.
Use a fragrance-free detergent.
Your skin comes into contact with your sheets night after night, so a gentle detergent matters. Avoid ingredients that could cause irritation, like fragrance, and only use the recommended amount of detergent. More soap isn't better; it just makes it more likely that your sheets won't get completely rinsed.
Skip the heavy duty cycle.
You don't need a heavy duty cycle to clean your bed sheets. In fact, it can just cause more tangling and wrinkling. Stick with the normal cycle or use the cycle specifically for washing sheets if your machine has one.
Use hot water.
Check the label on your sheets and use the hottest temperature suggested. Hot water helps kill germs and remove dust mites and allergens that might be stuck on the fabric.
Use natural fabric softeners.
Skip commercial softeners and use distilled white vinegar or wool dryer balls instead. Add a 1/2 - 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle to remove any detergent residue. Wool dryer balls will also help keep sheets from feeling stiff.
Shake out sheets before drying.
It's tempting, but don't toss a big tangle of sheets into the dryer. It will take longer for them to dry, and everything will end up much more wrinkled. Instead, take them out of the washer, shake out the massive sheet knot, and then put them into the dryer.
While you want to wash sheets in hot water, it's best to avoid super hot temps when drying. Use a lower heat setting and tumble dry for the shortest time possible to avoid wrinkling, shrinking, and weakening the fibers.
If you have a clothesline, hang your sheets to dry outside every once in a while. Time in the sun naturally disinfects and bleaches to help brighten whites.
Iron bed sheets.
This is optional! The heat from the iron helps kill any remaining germs and dust mites, which can be helpful if you're battling allergies.
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