Linens, Pillowcases and Sheets - Laundry Tips

tips sheets colour

Last week we talked about Preparing the Guest Bedroom for the Holidays and this week we want to focus on tips for cleaning bedding, bed linens, sheets and pillowcases.

1. How often to wash linens?

  • Launder pillowcases, pillow-protectors and sheets every 1 to 2 weeks during humid or hot weather, when the bed is used nightly or when the sheets are being used by children.
  • If a bed is used only on weekends, such as a child or nanny spending a couple nights each week, wash the sheets every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • When you have a guest bed, the clean unused sheets can stay on the bed for months, but should be washed a few days prior to a guest arriving.
  • Be sure to wash pillowcases, linens and fitted sheets between guests and after the last guests leave.

2. Should linens be washed in hot, warm or cold water?

  • Check the care tags for washing instructions.
  • As a general concept: white and pastel pillowcases and sheets can be washed in hot water. Hot water can help remove allergens, microbes, spores, body oils and dander.
  • Bright and dark coloured pillowcases, sheets and bed linens should be washed in warm or cool water to keep the bold colours.
  • Mattress protectors that have a water-resistant backing may require a wash in cold water with gentle detergent to avoid breaking down and removing the water-proof coating.

3. What laundry detergents and boosters should be used to clean sheets?

  • Firstly, avoid adding and/or mixing household chemicals like ammonia, bleach, or baking soda in the laundry. These chemicals can form toxic gases, and other caustic or dangerous compounds when combined.
  • Use the appropriate gentle laundry detergents for the water temperature you need to wash your bedroom linen, sheets and pillowcases in. Overusing detergents can cause a buildup of the washing compounds on the fabric, which can lead to a dull grayish-brown tinge on whites and pastels, as well as unpleasant smells in the sheets and pillowcases. This residuce can also irritate sensitive skin.
  • Note that some laundry detergents, stain removers and laundry boosters can cause any bright colours in bedroom linens to bleed or fade. Read the directions on these laundry products before deciding to use the product on your sheets.

4. Separating linen colours or fabrics prior to washing

  • Grouping coloured items together prevents lint on dark items, or dark items bleeding into the fabrics. Patterned sheets with combined light and dark colours should be washed separately from whites, pastels or darks.
  • Avoid washing your towels with your sheets, as the towels' weight can cause more creasing and wrinkling of your sheets and pillowcases.

5. Drying your sheets, linens and pillowcases

  • Remove sheets, linens and pillowcases from the washing machine once the cycle is done to reduce the amount of wrinkling and to prevent odours from developing.Wrinkles and unpleasant smells can set into wet linens left in the washing machine overnight.
  • When tumble drying your sheets, make sure your drum is big enough for the fabric to bounce around inside. Use low heat to prevent the shrinking and breaking of fabric fibres.
  • Watch out for large sheets that twist into a cylinder during the tumble cycle. Open the dryer and shake out the sheets and restart the dryer if you notice twisting.
  • Pull the sheets out just before the fabric is bone dry to reduce breakage of the fabric fibres during overdrying.

6. How long should your sheets last and when to replace bed linens?

  • The lifespan of your bed linens, pillowcases and sheets is many years, though this varies depending on fabric quality, washing, drying and frequency of use.
  • Keep fine linens, sheets and pillowcases lasting longer by gently washing and hang drying the sheets per the manufacturers' instructions.
  • Pillowcases, sheets and bedroom linens should be replaced when the fabric gets thin, or develops pills (balls or bobbles on the fabric), the fabric loses colour, or the edges of the bed linens look shabby and frayed.
  • Luxury bedding and fine linens will last longer than low-quality, discount sheets. Higher thread count linens will last longer than low thread-count linens because the fibres are more tightly woven and less likely to break. Some sheet and pillowcase fabrics like flannels and knits are quite prone to pilling because their fuzzy, loose-fibres break easily. Additionally, brightly coloured fabrics may fade quickly when exposed to a sunny window or washed frequently.

Come into any Bedshed store to find a range of quality linens, sheets, pillowcases and bedding in beautiful designs and colours.