How to Treat Your Sheets

Sheets can be one of those things we take for granted, like electricity or doorknobs – but just try and get a good night’s sleep without them! You’ll definitely notice something’s missing without the sheets.

Considering that we are usually sandwiched between sheets, taking good care of them isn’t a bad idea! If you treat your sheets well, they will stay smooth, soft, and beautiful like when you first bought them. Here are some sheet care tips … appreciate your sheets!

  1. When washing your sheets, please don’t loop them around the agitator – this can stretch them out of shape. Instead, ball them up – as the fabric slaps against itself, it helps get the dirt out.
  2. Wash your sheets separately – they don’t like to mingle with other laundry. If they do end up in a mixed load, the long cotton fibers may interact with short bits of fuzz from towels and other items, causing the sheets to “pill.” That’s the scientific term for those annoying little balls that appear on your sheets and scratch you annoyingly at night.
  3. Even if you really aren’t in the mood, attend to stains immediately. Most stains respond well to citrus-based cleaners. For blood, which is a bit difficult to get out, try soaking your sheets in cold water before washing. For body oil, try soaking the sheets in a pre-treatment solution. Whatever you do, make sure the stain is out before you throw it in the dryer – the heat can bake the stain in, making it all but impossible to remove.
  4. When buying sheets, find ones that match your mattress. This doesn’t just mean color-coordination, but getting a sheet set large enough to fit it without straining the material. You don’t want to be stressing out every time you make the bed!
  5. Washing your sheets once a week is good, having a few different sets that you rotate is even better. If you wash a set sheet, say, once a month (using other sets the other weeks of the month) they can last a long time; a quality set treated right can live as long as 15 years. Be sure to use only non-chlorine bleach on colored sheets, and bleach white sheets only when strictly necessary as bleach weakens fibers. A natural way to brighten whites is by adding ¼ cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle, washing in warm water, then tumble drying or sun-drying to increase the effect.
  6. Resist the temptation to over-load your machines – not only will your clothes and linens not get as clean, too big of a load will strain your washer’s motor. In the dryer, an excessively large load will take forever to dry, and the clothes will come out wrinkled. It’s best to sort your clothes by weight, and to dry sheets separately from towels and clothing. This quickens and evens out the drying process.
  7. If you have new printed sheets and are wondering why they are so rough, it’s because the dye used in printing is extra thick … the sheets will soften after a few washings. If your sheets have a high thread count, they will become softer every time you wash them. Tumble dry them on a medium setting, and fold them up as soon as the dryer clicks off to prevent wrinkling.
  8. Wash and dry your sheets on medium or low settings – high heat can damage the fibers, leading eventually to breakage.
  9. Try to use mild detergents such as Wisk or Arm & Hammer dye free, waiting until it’s diluted in the water before adding the sheets – otherwise you could cause discoloring. Be careful not to add too much – if it doesn’t rinse out completely, the sheets will come out stiff. Half of the manufacturer’s recommendation is usually good enough, and you can also add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water to remove the detergent traces.
  10. Store your laundered sheets in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight, which can cause colors to fade. If you want to stay organized, you can try keeping each set in its matching pillowcase.