How to wash your bed sheets for the freshest results (2023)

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As sad as it sounds, there's nothing more I look forward to than my self-care nights. If my schedule allows it, it happens every Thursday (if not, then every other), and it involves a full lineup of skincare, a bubble bath, and getting into fresh sheets before reading my book or watching a bit of trash on TV. Honestly, there's no other feeling I find as satisfying as slipping my freshly shaven legs into my silky bedding. IYKYK.

But knowing how to wash my bed sheets properly has definitely made all the difference in my routine. Washing, drying, and storing bedding correctly can help keep the fabric in good condition and more importantly, clean. If you're just throwing your bedding in the machine at the same temperature and leaving it to dry, you could be missing out on some seriously soft sheets.

To make sure you're looking after yourself and your bedding in the best way possible, I've spoken to some experts for their step-by-step guide on how to wash bed sheets — because hygiene, obvi.

Oh, and ICYWW, this is exactly how often you should be washing your sheets.

(Video) How to get crisp, bright white bedding!

How to wash bed sheets

Good to know

How to wash your bed sheets for the freshest results (1)

(Image credit: Brooklinen)

As a general top tip: we'd always suggest reading the care label first and checking the washing symbols on your sheets for the best results. Common bedding materials like cotton or linens have general washing guidance, but sheets made from fabrics such as silk, wool, or certain synthetics may require special treatment.

Here's what you'll need

1. Treat any stains

Strip your bed, and as you do so, check for stains. It's the perfect time to find fake tan marks, coffee spills, or any other accidental stains. If possible, it's best to deal with fresh stains right away, but if it's too late, old stains can be treated by dampening the fabric and adding stain remover with a bit of diluted detergent.

FYI: If you do need to remove blood stains, we've sourced the most effective method from experts, too.

2. Wash the sheets in your washing machine

Follow the temperature instructions on your sheets, but aim to wash at 100 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs. Despite the common idea that the hotter the wash the better, Parima Ijaz, founder of Pure Parima and Tony Klespis, a certified sleep science coach at Mattress Clarity, recommend washing your sheets in cold or warm water. Washing your sheets in water will "preserve the color and delicate fabric" says Ijaz. For the best results, "use cold water, mild detergent, and a gentle cycle" adds Klespis. It's also important to not overload your washing machine as it could damage both the machine and your linens, preventing effective cleaning. The washer tub should not be more than three-quarters full.

While this is a general way of washing your bedding, different materials will need extra treatments, so make sure to pay attention to whether you're washing cotton, linen, bamboo, or silk for example.

  • Silk bedding: Washing silk will need delicate handling, at a cool temperature or even hand-washed if possible. It's also a good idea to wash it inside out to protect the fibers from breaking down.
  • Bamboo bedding: It's best to wash bamboo bed sheets in cold water. They're known for a brushed soft-to-the-touch feel that can be damaged if washed with hot water.
  • Linen sheets: Since linen bedding is known to get softer with every wash, it's important to maintain the fabric's properties as much as possible. A great hack is to turn the covers inside out and separate them from other materials to avoid any harsh friction in the machine.

3. Dry your sheets

Once the wash cycle has finished, Klespis' top tip is to shake out your bedding. This will work out some wrinkles and untangle any sheets that may have knotted up. You can tumble dry your sheets in the dryer, but hanging them outside to dry on a sunny day is a quicker and more eco-friendly way (though avoid this if you have pollen allergies). Alternatively, dry your sheets on a drying rack inside and finish in a tumble dryer on a low and slow cycle to remove creases and add softness. Check the care label to find what temperature is best depending on the material your sheets are made of.

4. Optional: ironing

If you dislike ironing, then you'll be pleased to know this step is entirely optional. Yes, your sheets may look wrinkly AF, but they'll soon drop out even after one sleep. If you also fold your sheets right away, there may be minimal creasing. If you don't mind the occasional ironing session, then steaming your sheets til they're smooth will make your bed look pretty luxe. Again, it's good to check the care label for ironing advice.

(Video) Laundry Stripping Our White Comforter | AMAZING RESULTS | Clean with me 2021

Real Homes hack: You can also use a good wrinkle releaser spray on your sheets once you've made the bed. Simply spray and watch the creases fall out.

5. Store your sheets correctly

Rule number one: Never put damp sheets away as they will start to smell. Keep them in a linen organizer in a well-ventilated space, such as a linen closet if you can. Conversely, you can use clothes storage bags for long-term storage.

A clever way to store your sheets is to keep sets together, using the pillowcase as a bag. This means you'll have a set ready to grab when needed. You might want to store them file-style in a basket so that you can see the right set, top-down.

How to wash your bed sheets for the freshest results (2)$22.40

Brightroom Fabric Storage Cubes

Want easy, practical access to your sheets? With the zip front on these boxes, you can simply rotate your sheets without having to pull boxes in and out of your closet every time. The cube shape also looks really smart, whether you plan to stack or store them in a row.

(Video) How to clean (launder) your luxury bed sheets & linens.

How to wash your bed sheets for the freshest results (3)$13.84

Cuh Clothes Storage Bag

This cotton linen storage bag, with its grid pattern, is fab if you don't care about seeing your sheets when they’re tucked away. It’s also stylish enough that it won’t make your home look cluttered — great for anyone living in small apartments with very little cabinet space.

How to wash your bed sheets for the freshest results (4)$23.99

(Video) What Happens If You Never Change Your Sheets?

Minayi Sheet Organizer Labels

If you want to go one step further on the organizing front, you can tie your sheets together with these organizing labels before placing them in bags. Not only will they make your sheets look like they’ve come straight off your Instagram feed, but they’ll stop you from getting all the different sizes mixed up.


How to keep your bed clean

Having good sleep hygiene isn't just about washing your bed sheets. It sounds like a lot, but it's important to regularly wash the rest of your bedding.

Make sure you give your mattress an added barrier between sweat and dead skin cells (ew) with the best mattress protector, and yes you can wash a mattress cover, too.

Avoid eating in bed. We would say no to drinking in bed, too, but where is the joy in life if you can't wake up with a nice cup of coffee?

Regularly (about once a month) wash your duvet and find out exactly how to wash your pillows too, as this can vary by filling.

Give your bedroom good air every so often. Fling the sheets back before making your bed to expose your bed to sunlight (this helps lessen bugs and germs).

(Video) Ask Charlie - Washing & drying your bed linen so there's no need to iron!


What is the correct way to wash bed sheets? ›

Wash the sheets on a gentle cycle using cool or lukewarm water. Washing sheets in hot water is usually unnecessary unless you need to sanitize the sheets due to allergies or after an illness. Remove the sheets as soon as the cycle is over to reduce wrinkles.

How do you get super clean sheets? ›

Soak the sheets prior to the wash. Soak the sheets in the washing machine with 3 squirts of dishwashing soap, 1/4 cup (59 milliliters) of borax and 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) of white vinegar. Let the sheets soak in these ingredients for 30 minutes. Then, wash the sheets on a hot water cycle.

How do you keep sheets fresh after washing? ›

Follow these washing tips to extend the lifespan of your sheets:
  1. Follow the care instructions.
  2. Wash sheets separately from other items.
  3. Pretreat stains.
  4. Don't use fabric softener.
  5. Don't use dryer sheets.
  6. Use the delicate cycle.
  7. Use low heat, no heat, or air dry when drying.
  8. Store in a cool, dry closet when not in use.
Feb 16, 2023

Why do fresh clean sheets feel so good? ›

The unclean sheets accommodate warm bedbugs, which causes bedlam. Because their surfaces have been smoothened by the cleaning. Hence, they make more skin contact. This transfers more body heat to the clean sheet.

Do you wash sheets on hot or cold? ›

Water Temperature and Detergent - The best overall temperature to wash your sheets in is warm water. Hot water will fade colors and can be harsh on fine threads. Cold water may not clean your sheets as well as you would like. Choose your favorite detergent or a mild one that will help you care for your sheets properly.

What temperature should I wash my bed sheets? ›

Washing sheets is a balance between making sure they're actually clean and ensuring they last as long as possible. To get your bedsheets really clean, it's best to use hot water, over 130 degrees Fahrenheit to get rid of dust mites and over 140 degrees to help kill viruses and bacteria.

What do hotels wash their sheets with? ›

Bleach and Peroxide Detergent Usage

One of the most well-known secrets of the hotel industry in keeping their sheets enviably is peroxide-based detergents. Bleach is also added to the mix.

How do you wash sheets to make them crisp? ›

10 Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Cotton Sheets Feeling Crisp
  1. Wash Them Weekly. Even if we shower beforehand, our sheets get dirty when we sleep. ...
  2. Ditch the Fabric Softeners. ...
  3. Don't Overload Your Washer. ...
  4. Check Your Washing Machine Settings. ...
  5. Iron Your Sheets. ...
  6. Use Starch. ...
  7. Make Your Bed Everyday. ...
  8. Use More Sheets and Tighten Up.
Sep 28, 2022

How do hotels get sheets crisp? ›

Quality cotton with a high thread count is what makes hotel sheets so crisp. Plus, the percale weave is the most popular weave for hotels which makes the sheets extra cool and extra crisp.

Why don't my sheets smell fresh after washing? ›

Damp clothing and dirty clothing that is packed together without proper airflow are breeding grounds for nasty-smelling bacteria, mildew or mold —all of which can contribute to bad odors that linger after the wash. To combat this, make sure your dirty clothes are dry before tossing them in a basket.

Do hotels wash sheets after every use? ›

Sheets are usually changed between guests, and sometimes state law requires it, but there's no guarantee that they will be. As for bedspreads, forget it. As countless hidden-camera investigative TV programs have confirmed, they aren't washed regularly.

How often should sheets be washed? ›

How Often You Should Wash Your Sheets (And How to Get Them Really Clean) Experts recommend washing or changing sheets once a week.

Is it OK to use the same towel for a week? ›

How often to wash towels. The best way to prevent germs from growing on your bath towel is to let it dry completely between each use, and wash it frequently. The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels after three uses. If you shower every day, that means laundry almost twice a week.

How often does the average person clean their bed sheets? ›

A Bedding Brush-Off

According to our findings, the average person changes sheets roughly every 24 days, or a bit less often than once every three weeks. Interestingly, pillowcases had a slightly longer average unwashed period, clocking in at 24.6 days before being cleaned or swapped for fresh ones.

What color sheets stay the cleanest? ›

When deciding between off white and white sheets, choose off white for its calming properties and white for its easier cleanability. (You can also consider switching colors as seasons turn; white works well in the summer months, and off white in the winter months!)

How often should you change your bed? ›

But when should you replace your mattress? Under normal conditions, mattresses should be replaced every 6 to 8 years. Of course, this is a general guideline and not a one-size-fits-all solution.

How often do married couples change their sheets? ›

According to the Mattress Advisor survey, married couples change their bedclothes about every 19.9 days whereas single people wait 37 days on average. And single men change them less often than single women. Mattress Advisor also found that people usually wait four to 11 days to wash sheets after sexual activity.

Is it OK to change bed sheets once a month? ›

Is it okay to change your bed sheets once a month? While your specific sheet changing habits might vary a little bit depending on your lifestyle, your body, and your preferences, most experts agree you should change your sheets every week or every two weeks.

Can I wash towels and sheets together? ›

When washing sheets and towels together, it's important to remember that towels can cause damage to sheets due to their size and thickness. This is because thicker fabrics will cause friction between them during the wash cycle which can lead to pilling or tearing of the delicate fabric of your sheets over time.

Can you put bed sheets in the dryer? ›

Tumble dry your sheets on the low-heat setting to reduce wrinkling and prevent unnecessary wear. Using a low-heat setting also keeps your fitted sheets fitting snugly—if the dryer is too hot, it may damage the elastic. Avoid dryer sheets, as they can weaken the material and cause pilling over time.

What temperature kills bacteria in washing machine? ›

' and 'Do I need to wash my clothes on the highest temperature setting? ' Experts at Dr Beckmann advise regular washing of clothes at 60 degrees to help eliminate the spread of bacteria & viruses.

How do hotels keep their white towels so white? ›

Most hotels use peroxide-based laundry detergents to keep their sheets and towels bright. While these compounds are extremely successful at preventing white linens from greying or yellowing, they do necessitate some amount of knowledge. When used incorrectly, they might cause damage to your linens.

What do they not wash in hotel rooms? ›

Glassware, linen and the TV remote

Typically, they don't get cleaned between guests and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Use the pillows from the closet; they're more likely to be freshly washed than the ones on the bed.

How do I make my sheets smell fresh? ›

How to keep your Linen closet smelling fresh
  1. Add some scent to the closets. Laundry detergents have come a long way, and you can find them in almost any scent you can imagine. ...
  2. Scented dryer sheets. ...
  3. Soap bars. ...
  4. Essential oils. ...
  5. Scented sachets. ...
  6. Perfumed cotton balls. ...
  7. Air fresheners. ...
  8. Coffee grounds.
Sep 21, 2021

What makes sheets cool and crisp? ›

Percale is usually the best weave for cooling sheets

The two most popular weaves for cotton sheets are percale and sateen. Percale is lightweight, crisp and durable. Sateen is soft, smooth and has a lustrous sheen on the surface. it creates a crisper sheet that allows easier ventilation than sateen does.

How do you freshen up sheets quickly? ›

Use a lavender and water spray to refresh your bedding and help with a good night's sleep. Simply combine 60ml distilled water and 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oil in an empty spray bottle.

Why are hotel bed sheets so nice? ›

Hotels use commercial detergents and fabric softeners. These are “commercial use only” products. Commercial fabric softeners include certain chemicals – like phosphates – that get laundry remarkably clean and make the sheets feel so smooth and soft.

How do you make sheets and towels smell fresh? ›

Adding ½ cup of baking soda in your laundry is a great way to maintain your towels, linens, and sheets. It softens the fibers and makes it easier to remove stains. It also helps in removing musty odors from towels.

What laundry detergent smells the best? ›

The Best Smelling Laundry Detergent
  • Persil Laundry Detergent Liquid, Intense Fresh Scent.
  • Seventh Generation EasyDose Laundry Detergent Fresh Lavender Scent.
  • Tide with Downy Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap, High Efficiency (HE), April Fresh Scent.
  • Dropps Stain & Odor Laundry Detergent - Orange Blossom.
Apr 8, 2023

Do hotels change towels everyday? ›

Here's what should happen: The standard operating procedure is for towels and sheets to be changed between every guest, according to Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association ( Towels are also swapped out every day at some, but not all properties. "Some do, some don't," he says.

Is it better to bring your own sheets to a hotel? ›

Of course, most hotels, spas and Airbnb's are going to have clean sheets, but to ensure the safest experience possible, it is recommended to bring your own sheets - Nollapelli sheets and pillowcases to be exact! You'll have a little bit of home wherever you go and your skin, hair and sleep game will not slip.

How do you tell if hotel sheets have been washed? ›

But Ms Wang pointed out that guests should always look out for creases in the sheets to check if they are clean, a clear indication that they were recently laundered and folded. Another site recommends lifting up the bed spread to check for loose hair strands or debris that may have been left behind by previous guests.

How often should you change your towel? ›

Dead skin cells, bacteria, and even sweat can accumulate quickly on your towels, so using a fresh one about every three days is a simple rule of thumb—for all kinds of towels. You can of course change them more often.

Can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets? ›

You may be thinking, can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets? No—bed bugs have absolutely nothing to do with cleanliness levels. However, washing your sheets regularly gives you the opportunity to look for and remove any possible bed bug infestations.

What happens if you don t change your bed sheets for 6 months? ›

“Infrequent cleaning of sheets and pillowcases allows the fluids to seep into the pillows and mattresses, and those are much more difficult to clean than tossing sheets in the washer,” she told ATTN. Leaving your bedsheets unchanged can result in sweat and dirt seeping into your pillows and mattress.

Can I wash sheets and clothes together? ›

While you technically can wash your sheets with clothes and other garments, we recommend keeping them separate.

Can I wash bed sheets together? ›

Towels and underwear are items that get especially dirty and need to be washed separately in hot water to remove bacteria. Washing sheets and blankets together is fine — just be sure you don't overload your washer, or your bedding won't get as clean and may end up damaged.

Can I wash sheets and towels together? ›

When washing sheets and towels together, it's important to remember that towels can cause damage to sheets due to their size and thickness. This is because thicker fabrics will cause friction between them during the wash cycle which can lead to pilling or tearing of the delicate fabric of your sheets over time.

Should you wash sheets twice? ›

Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.

How do you disinfect sheets between washes? ›

To wash bleach-safe bed sheets and towels, machine wash in the hottest water recommended using a good detergent and ⅔ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach in a traditional deep-fill washer, or ⅓ cup Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach in a high efficiency clothes washer.

What clothes should not be washed together? ›

Light colored fabrics are sensitive to darker dyes and can absorb them and look faded, so it's best to keep colors and darks separate for both washing and drying. Keep light colors like pinks, lavenders, yellows, light blues and light greens separate from grays, blacks, reds, navies and other dark colors.

How often should you wash change your bed sheets? ›

Experts recommend washing or changing sheets once a week.

Should you wash kitchen towels with bath towels? ›

Towel care

Ideally, wash kitchen and bathroom towels separately — and never commingle cleaning rags with any other kind of laundry, to avoid contamination. If you do not use a fresh washcloth or bath towel every day, hang them to dry between uses to keep them from developing a musty, mildewy smell.

Is it OK to wash towels with clothes? ›

You can wash clothes with sheets and towels. But just as when you wash sheets and towels together or wash clothes with towels, pay attention to the washing labels so you don't wash the load at a hotter temperature than the lowest maximum indicated when taking all items into consideration.

How many sets of sheets can you wash at once? ›

Many people recommend only washing one set of bedsheets at a time unless you have a large washing machine with a 10 kg+ load capacity. By 'a set of bed sheets', we mean the fitted sheet that goes over the mattress, a top sheet and two pillowcases.

Why you don t need dryer sheets? ›

Dryer sheets can leave a coating of residue inside your dryer. The residue can get on your dryer's sensors and interfere with its ability to properly dry. Sheets are disposable, that means you have to keep buying them and they create waste that goes into landfills.

How long do bed sheets take to dry? ›

As a general guide, sheets can take anywhere between 40 minutes to an hour to dry in the tumble dryer.

Should towels be rinsed twice? ›

The best way to prevent germs from growing on your bath towel is to let it dry completely between each use, and wash it frequently. The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels after three uses.

What setting do you wash sheets and towels? ›

Always wash in cold or warm water using a gentle or delicate cycle to prevent wear and tear.

Should pillowcases be washed in hot water? ›

"Pillowcases need to be cleaned very thoroughly, so using hot water, a heavy-duty cycle for longer agitation, a good detergent with enzymes, and the appropriate bleach for the fabric and color will make a huge difference."


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