How to Wash Bed Sheets

The feeling of clean and soft bed sheets is one of life’s greatest joys that people spend time, energy, and resources to experience.

After purchasing new bed sheets, you may ponder their care; maintaining the coziness they offer is crucial for long-lasting enjoyment.

How you wash, dry, iron, and store your bed sheets will determine how long you enjoy these pleasures.

Step 1: Sort the Bed Sheets

When you want to wash your bed sheets, you should sort them properly to prevent accidental damage.

Read the Care Label

Bed Sheet Care Label

Care labels have mandatory warnings attached to clothes from the manufacturer about the correct wash process to avoid damaging them. These warnings tell you how to wash, dry, and iron your clothes.

The bed sheets’ care label will let you know if they are machine-washable, hand-wash, or dry clean only. The water temperature, wash cycle, and drying temperature suitable for the individual bed sheet will also be available on the care label.

Reading the care label and following the instructions is the first step in a proper wash process.

It will guide you in sorting your bed sheets into different loads.

Divide the Bed Sheets into Separate Loads

Determine how you should wash the bed sheets, in a washing machine, by hand, or by sending them to the dry cleaners.

Another point of separation is color. You don’t need the care label to inform you about separating your white clothes from your colored ones. Mixing different colors in the wash will cause your gorgeous sheets to discolor and get unwanted stains.

Ensure you place closely related colors in the same laundry load to avoid this problem.

Bed sheets come in different fabric types: cotton, linen, silk, polyester, bamboo, etc. These fabric types have individual wash procedures regarding spin speeds, water temperatures, and laundry additives.

Separate the bed sheets to avoid the damage that will occur when you use the wrong wash procedure for fabrics.

Loading the Bed Sheets into the Washer

The first warning you should note is not overloading the washer. Washers have weight capacities that control their functionalities. Putting more weight than the washer can hold will prevent it from functioning; the bed sheets will not wash well because the washer will not be able to spin.

As a rule of thumb, if your hand can’t move about the washer after loading, it’s too full, and you should remove some of the sheets.

Don’t put other clothes in the same load as bed sheets, particularly sturdier clothing like towels, blankets, and sweaters; the sheets will not wash well. Wash your bed sheets alone for better results.

Step 2: Wash the Bed Sheets

Wash Bed Sheets

There are many considerations to note before you wash the sheets.

Laundry Additives

The cleaning industry has many laundry additives with various functions, but you should know how to use some of these products when washing your bed sheets.


Select a suitable laundry detergent based on your skin’s sensitivities and the bed sheet’s fabric. Cotton sheets will handle heavy-duty detergents, while delicate sheets require mild detergents.

Liquid detergent is better for washing bed sheets because it will not leave residue, unlike powdered detergent.

Do not overdose on your preferred detergent in the wash cycle. Too much detergent will cause additional problems, leaving behind residue that can irritate the skin and fade the sheet’s color.

Fabric Softener

It might be tempting to use a fabric softener during the wash but always avoid it. Fabric softener contains chemicals that can reduce the absorbency of the sheets and weaken their fabric. In other words, fabric softener will do the opposite of your intentions.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is the product that will maintain the bed sheet’s softness without damaging it or leaving behind residue. However, you should not add vinegar with the detergent; it can weaken it.

Pour ½ a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.

Choose the Correct Water Temperature

Hot water will remove stains and debris better than cold water but can also damage or shrink some bed sheet fabrics.

You can wash polyester bed sheets with warm water and cotton bed sheets with hot water, but delicate bed sheets will only be able to manage cold water.

The confusion that water temperature causes is why you must read the care label and follow its instructions.

Treat the Stains on the Bed Sheets

The agitation in the washer puts too much stress on the bed sheets, which reduces their life span. Since leaving the sheets dirty is out of the question, you should apply another precautionary method.

Before you put the bed sheets in the washer, check for stains. Pre-treating stains will reduce the work of the washer, reducing the strain on the bed sheets.


  • Examine the entire length of the bed sheets for any hidden stains.
  • Pour a suitable stain remover on any stains you find.
  • Sprinkle with water to dampen the stains and gently scrub with a soft brush.
  • Rinse the stained area with cold water and repeat the process if there are still stains.
  • After treating the stains, proceed to the washing.

You might have to pre-soak the bed sheets for some stains. Oil-based stains are tougher to remove, especially when they are dry.

Soak the bed sheets in a bowl of cold water, stain remover, and then scrub and rinse.

Washing New Bed Sheets

Your new bed sheets might have chemicals on them from the manufacturer. Some are water repellant, fabric softener, etc., and can irritate the skin.

It is advisable to wash the bed sheets before you use them to prevent health issues. However, you should not use detergent because it might set the chemicals further.

Pour one cup of baking soda in place of the detergent and wash the bed sheets. Afterward, pour one cup of white vinegar into the rinse cycle.

Wash your bed sheets as usual on subsequent washings.

Machine Washing the Bed Sheets

Machine Wash Bed Sheets
  • Sort the bed sheets into separate loads.
  • Treat the stains.
  • Place the bed sheets into the washer. You can put similarly-colored shirts together with the bed sheets.
  • Pour in a suitable laundry detergent.
  • Select the correct wash cycle and water temperature as directed on the care label.
  • Start the wash cycle.
  • Pour a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  • When the wash cycle ends, remove the bed sheets immediately and dry them.

Hand Washing the Bed Sheets

Hand washing is a suitable alternative if you do not want to place your bed sheets in the washer or don’t have access to one.


  • Sort the bed sheets into separate loads.
  • Treat the stains.
  • Fill a sizable bowl, bucket, or bathtub with the correct water temperature.
  • Pour in a suitable liquid laundry detergent.
  • Swish the water so that it forms soap suds.
  • Submerge the bed sheets in soapy water and let them soak for ten minutes.
  • After ten minutes, gently wash the bed sheets.
  • Rinse the bed sheets till there are no soap suds.
  • Dry the bed sheets.

Step 3: Dry the Bed Sheets

Dry the bed sheets immediately after washing to avoid shrinkage, color bleeding, and mold formation.

Air-Drying the Bed Sheets

You can air-dry on a drying rack inside or on a clothesline outside.

If you’re using a drying rack inside, ensure it is a well-ventilated room, preferably with a humidifier. Keep the drying rack as close to the window as possible to receive fresh air.

The color of your bed sheet will determine how you dry it outside. Hang white bed sheets under direct sunlight for the added bleaching abilities the sun offers. However, find a shaded area for colored clothes because of the added bleaching abilities of the sun.

Tumble Drying the Bed Sheets

Refer to the care label for the heat setting you should select when placing your bed sheets in a dryer.

Like the wash cycle, some fabrics fare better with high heat and vice versa for others.

Place wool dryer balls inside the dryer to reduce drying time, fluff the bed sheets while drying, and reduce static.

Bed Sheet Care Tips

  • Follow the instructions on the care label to know how to iron the sheets, but it will be better to iron them immediately after drying when they are still damp.
  • Fold the bed sheets and place them with their accompanying pillowcase in the drawers.
  • ●       Wash your bed sheets at least once a week to preserve them and maintain your health.

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