September 28, 2021 7 min read

The only thing more important than learning how to choose your bed sheets is learning how to care for them. After all, if you don’t know how to maintain them, they won’t last! However, proper washing, drying, and storage techniques can preserve the lifespan of your bedding. From how to dry bed sheets to whether you should wash sheets on delicate or normal, we’ll take you everything you need to know to keep your linens in tip-top shape. 

How Can Proper Care Extend the Life of Your Bedding?

Proper Care Extend the Life of Your Bedding

Washing your sheets on a regular basis can absolutely extend the life of your bedding. You spend around eight hours in your bed every single night, so naturally, your bedding sets take a beating. 

Consider this: we lose about 240,000 dead skin cells each night. That coupled with our sweat, body oils, and dirt can set into the fabric and shorten the lifespan of your sheets. 

On the other hand, washing sheets too frequently or following improper care instructions can also cause your bedding to wear out too fast. 

Using harsh chemicals can compromise your sheet sets, while heavy-duty drying cycles can cause shrinkage and pilling, especially in natural fibers. Plus, we all know that mixing light fabrics with dark colors can cause discoloration. 

So yes, following the correct cleaning process plays a significant role in preserving your bedding. Always read the cleaning requirements listed on the fabric’s tag to make the most of your sheets. 

How to Care for Your Sheets

Frequent washing not only makes for a night of healthy sleep but also a higher quality of sleep. Who doesn’t love that fresh sheet feeling? Here’s how to care for your sheets to ensure they last for years and years to come. 

How to Wash Sheets

  • Pretreat any stains. Before putting your bedding in the washing machine, check for and pretreat any stains. Grab your favorite color-safe stain remover and apply it to your bedding as per the instructions. White vinegar also has impressive stain removal Pretreat set-in stains with vinegar, then rub with a 1:1 baking soda and vinegar solution. For tough stains, soak your bedding in a bucket of water with a few tablespoons of each vinegar and detergent overnight. 
  • Sort your bedding. Sorting your bedding goes beyond separating your lightly colored pom pom throw blanket from your charcoal cotton duvet covers. Be sure to separate your lights from darks, but don’t forget also to sort similar fabrics. It’s best to wash natural fibers like cotton and linen together. 
  • Carefully load the washing machine. It’s tempting just to toss all your bedding into the wash, but slowing down can help preserve your sheets. If you bundle your sheets into a ball when you strip your bed, unravel them to ensure they get thoroughly washed. Likewise, try not to overcrowd the machine. Wash in two loads if you need. 
  • Add a mild detergent. Skip the harsh chemicals and instead use aclean laundry detergent. Choosing a natural detergent is gentler on the fabric, better for the environment, and safer for those with skin allergies. A quarter cup of liquid detergent typically gets the job done, but feel free to add more if your sheets are exceptionally dirty. Be careful not to regularly use excess amounts, as this can be rough on your linens
  • Select the proper wash cycle. It’s crucial to check the care instructions on your textile’s tag before choosing a wash cycle. Remember, the manufacturers always know their own bedding best. Generally speaking, the gentle cycle is a safe bet. Keep in mind that hot watercan help remove germs but it can be harsh over time. However, linen should always be washed in cold water. 

How to Dry Sheets

All fabrics have unique care instructions for drying, as they do with washing. Always read your tags before putting your garments in the dryer. Here’s how to dry sheets to keep them in peak condition, whether they’re dryer-safe or not.   

How to Dry Bed Sheets in Dryer

  • Prepare for drying. Immediately remove your bed sheets from the washing machine to prevent mold, mildew, and wrinkles. Shake out or unravel your linens to ensure they get fully dried, and place sheets in a dryer.
  • Choose the right dryer setting for sheets. Use the low or medium heat setting when drying your sheets. As with washing, the hotter the cycle, the more likely it is to wear out your bedding. The cooler, the better. 

How to Line Dry Sheets

  • Choose the right dryer setting for sheets. Use the low or medium heat setting when drying your sheets
  • Prepare for drying. Once your wash cycle has finished, remove your bedding from the washing machine as soon as possible. This helps to prevent wrinkles, mildew, and mold from forming in your sheets. If your garments have clumped together while in the wash, unravel or shake them out.
  • Hang up your sheets. Hanging your sheets is the gentlest method of drying them. Pin them up on an outdoor clothesline or lay them across a drying rack in your laundry room. Let them sit until thoroughly dry. 

How to Iron Sheets

How to Iron Sheets

Ironing your sheets adds an extra welcoming touch to your bedding. It’s an optional but thoughtful extra step in caring for your sheets. Keep in mind that some fabrics like linen and cotton percale are naturally wrinkle-prone, and it’s okay to embrace those creases if you don’t mind them. 

  • Read the label. It’s essential to check your garment’s care instructions tag before pulling out the iron. Applying too high heat can harm your sheets, so be careful. Once you’ve confirmed the ideal temperature for your bedding — or if they’re heat-safe at all — you can start prepping your workspace. 
  • Set up your space. Grab your ironing board, preheat your iron, and fold your sheets into a manageable size that fits on your board. Don’t forget to fill up the water reservoir on your steam iron or keep a spray bottle on hand. Applying water can help fight tough creases.
  • Make your sheets wrinkle-free. Now it’s time to get rid of those wrinkles! Sweep the iron in medium-length motions across the fabric, flipping the sheet as needed to cover the entire area. Repeat this until you’re finished.

How to Store Sheets

So, your sheets are clean, dry, and perfectly ironed. But if you aren’t making your bed with these linens, how do you store them? 

There are many ways to store your sheets, and the best method ultimately comes down to personal preference. A common technique is folding your bedding and placing it in your linen closet, keeping sheet sets together. Or, you can organize by bedroom or bed size. 

Alternatively, you can place your extra bedding in bins or lay your sheets over hangers for shelf-free closet storage. If these sheets aren’t regularly used, consider keeping them in a bag to maintain that freshly cleaned feeling. 

How to Brighten Sheets

Discoloration happens — that’s life! Unfortunately, sweat, spills, and other stains aren’t always preventable, but they can be treated. 

  • White vinegar. Soak your sheets in vinegar prior to washing bymixing one-half cup vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Let sit for an hour, then wash with a mild detergent before air drying. 
  • Lemon juice. Juice one lemon and add the liquid to your washing machine along with detergent.
  • Almost all homemade detergents use borax, and it’s for a good reason. Mix one-half cup with a gallon of water and soak your sheets overnight. Wash regularly. 
  • Since bleach can be quite harsh, it may be a last resort for some. However, it is definitely effective. Wash your bedding as usual, then add a half cup of bleach to the drum. Run another normal wash cycle, and dry as normal. It may surprise you to learn that long-term bleach use can actually yellow your bedding, so try to use it sparingly. 

How to Soften Sheets

Everyone wants softer sheets. Why wouldn’t you? Some fabrics like linen and cotton percale sheets grow softer over some time, but others need more help. Here are some easy softening methods to help you get a good night sleep. 

  • Fabric softener. Perhaps the most common way to soften up your sheets is by using a fabric softener. Simply follow the instructions on the bottle of your favorite softener, and add it to your washing machine. 
  • Dryer sheets. Another easy way to soften your sheets without changing your washing routine is by using dryer sheets. Toss one into your dryer and enjoy soft, fresh-smelling linens. Note that if you have sensitive skin, dryer sheets may not be for you. 
  • Dryer balls. If you’re looking for a reusable scent-free softening tool, try dryer balls. Often made of wool, plastic, or rubber, these balls help your linens dry more evenly, quickly, and help them grow softer. 
  • Vinegar and baking soda. If you’re thinking, “won’t that cause my laundry to bubble up?” you’d be correct. That’s why it’s best to add these two softening ingredients at different times. Skip the detergent and instead throw a cup of baking sodain your load and washing with warm water. Then, add vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Extra Tips to Care for Your Bedding

Still looking for some extra tips on how to care for your bedding properly? Here are a few:

  • Wash bedding inside out. You know those awful little clumps of fabric you can get on your garments after washing? Those are called pills. They’re broken pieces of thread that form from friction. Try washing your bedding inside out with all zippers closed. 
  • Don’t crowd the washing machine. Overloading your machine can prevent them from thoroughly getting cleaned or dried. Also, try to wash your sheets separately from other garments to prevent the fibers from getting damaged. 
  • Switch up your sheets. Alternating between a few pairs of bed sheets can help prolong each set of linens’ lifespan. Swap your sheets on every laundry day, or have a set for each season.
  • Always use a flat sheet. Using a flat sheet creates a barrier between your duvet or comforter and your body, preventing your blankets from trapping sweat, oils, and dirt. This can help maintain the longevity of your coverings. Plus, it’s easier to wash the sheet than your comforter. 

Final Thoughts

Taking proper care of your bedding helps maintain the longevity of your linens. Always refer to your garment’s maintenance tag for specific care instructions, and do your best to avoid high heat and harsh chemicals, which may compromise your sheets’ lifespan.