How to Wash Sheets and Bed Linens

Sheets, Blankets, Pillows, Pads and Quilts

Pillows on bed
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We use our beds every night - well, almost - and taking care of the bedding correctly will help you sleep better and help it last longer and look better.

How to Wash Sheets

How often you should change your sheets depends on a number of factors:

  • Does the sleeper wear pajamas? Pajamas protect the bed linens from most of the body soil.
  • Does the sleeper perspire heavily?  Heavy sweaters need more to change sheets more often.
  • Does the sleeper bathe before bedtime?  A clean body makes sheets stay clean longer.
  • Is the sleeper ill? Anyone with a virus, cold, flu or any type of illness should have sheets changed daily or every other day.
  • What does the sleeper do in bed?  Not prying...if the user eats, studies and allow pets in the bed, there will be more soil.  

Sheets become soiled from body oils and fluids as well as surface dirt on the body. Our bodies produce urine, feces, semen and other fluids that the bacteria in those fluids time to grow. This can cause problems with any cuts or openings on the body and can cause skin irritation. For sleepers with acne or skin problems, the pillow case should be cleaned frequently to prevent inflammation and transfer of bacteria.

So, for someone who bathes daily, wears pajamas and uses the bed just for sleeping, sheets should be changed weekly or bi-weekly - never longer than two weeks!

 

Almost all sheets have fabric care labels that list fiber content and how to wash them. Cotton and cotton/polyester blend sheets should be washed in hot water with a heavy-duty detergent like WiskTide or Persil to remove body oils and soil. If your sheets have a stale odor when you remove them from the linen closet, they aren't really clean.

For anyone who wakes up with a stuffy nose, it could be your sheets. Dust mites and the skin cells we shed accumulate in bed sheets. This can affect even those who don't think they have allergies. Try washing your sheets more often if you can't breathe.

While most of us like a soft feel for sheets and pillowcases, using fabric softener and dryer sheets can reduce the absorbency of natural fibers and cause fabrics to become uncomfortable to those who perspire heavily. Instead of commercial softeners, add distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle to remove any residues that leave sheets feeling stiff.

However, some need extra care.

Unless you wash and dry your sheets and put them right back on the bed, you'll need to fold them. Fitted sheets can be a challenge but there are easy ways to get them folded and stacked neatly in the linen closet. Simply fit all of the rounded corners smoothly inside each other to create a rectangle and then fold into a neat square.

There are times that sheets and linens need extra attention.

    How to Wash Bed Pillows

    A fresh pillow is a delight. While pillowcases should be washed at least weekly, many people change them almost daily even if they don't change the sheets. I use two pillow cases on my pillows, put on in different directions. The inner case acts as a protector for the pillow fabric.

    Pillows should be cleaned a couple of times per year or more often if someone is ill or has allergies. Learn how to take clean different types of pillows

    How to Wash Quilts, Blankets and Duvets

    Snuggling under a warm quilt or blanket is great for a winter night's sleep. Learning how to care for them correctly will keep them fresh and looking good for many a long winter's nap.

    Duvet covers are there to protect the fluffy feather- or fiber-filled duvet. Taking them off to launder or dry clean is simple. Putting them back on is another matter. Here are two ways to accomplish the task:

    How to Wash Foam Mattress Pads

    The new memory foam and egg crate foam mattress pads add a layer of comfort to your bed. They do need special care to clean them. Don't end up with hundreds of little foam pieces!