Did you know that the average person spends about a third of their life in bed? No matter who you are or what you do, that’s a little more than a quarter-century that most of us will spend cascading seamlessly across the dreamscape. From restless nights to superb slumber, our bed sheets, blankets, and other nighttime accessories are nothing short of the anchor that holds us down on the ever-shifting sea of life. That fact alone begs the question: How well are we caring for our bedding?
Simply put, if we’re willing to take the time to dress our homes in ways we’ll love then it seems equally important to keep our beloved linens in tip-top shape. Better yet, proper care may even extend the lifespan of our favorite sheets and blankets. If you find yourself wondering whether or not you’re taking prime care of your favorite linens (or if you simply aren’t sure), we’ve compiled a quick list of tips to help you keep your bedding as vibrant as a spring rose.
Let’s start with the wash.
When to Wash
You could ask ten people how often they wash their bedsheets and quickly receive a mix of embarrassed smiles along with ten unique answers. Though the subject is hotly debated among home-lovers and neat-freaks alike, we’re lucky enough to have some science to act as the almighty equalizer and informer for that concern.
According to the Institute of Home Science, the average person should wash their sheets about once a week and twice if you share the bed with a loved one. In addition to keeping your sheets as clean as can be, washing your bedding and blankets this often will hinder the build-up of irritants and allergens that include dust-mites, oils, dead skin, and general bacteria that may follow us into the bed each night.
Know Your Fabric
It should go without saying that proper bedding care always starts and ends with the type, size, and texture of the fabric in question. Rather than setting about the task haphazardly, or with looming chagrin, take the time to read the “care instructions” tag that often tickles your toes on those restless nights. For those who don’t know, this little white tag is located at the base of most linens.
In addition to a list (and often pictures) of do’s and don’ts, this informative little pal will provide you with clear instructions that can include the fabric type, wash-cycle intensity, and drying methods. All of this helps you to keep your favorite sheets and blankets looking brand new without ever having to worry about some common laundry mishaps.
Lighten the Load
Ever have too much to do, very little time, and an ongoing schedule that’s so packed you cut corners wherever you can? Don’t feel too bad. We’ve all been guilty of capitalizing on a household cheat every now and again. If you’re looking to keep your sheets spotless and avoid an uneven wash, it’s imperative to take into account the quality, thickness, and size of the bedding.
Overfilling your washing machine for the sake of time can be convenient. However, if you throw a thick blanket in with your sheets and pillowcases, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Rather than stuffing the washer to its rim, take efficacy into account and consider washing your sheets and pillowcases separately from that cozy comforter. In addition to ensuring a thorough wash, that extra load can prevent unseen oil build-up, shifted filler, and more effectively remove bacteria. Never forget, the washer needs space to properly do its thing.
Pro-Tip: You never want to fill your washer more than about ¾ of the way.
Hot Water or Cold Water?
We’ll always highly recommend following the guidelines on the “care instructions” tag. However, if by some unfortunate turn of events, you find yourself sans-tag and aren’t sure what to do, we’ve got you covered. Generally, you’ll want to wash your linens in cool or lukewarm water, around 104o.
Though it may seem anti-instinctual, remember that we’re not cooking our bedding, we’re cleaning it. Even if you find yourself with a particularly soiled set of sheets, simply utilize the extra rinse cycle, available on most washers, to get that perfect wash. Never suffer through shrinkage or material damage. A few spins on the “gentle” or “linens” setting and you should be right as rain.
Pro-Tip: During cold or flu-season, warm or hot-water cycles are recommended to kill any excess bacteria that’s found its way into your load.
To Bleach or Not to Bleach?
Yet another hotly debated topic in home-lover circles, the question of whether to ‘bleach or not to bleach’ can often be confusing. Whereas any basic laundry detergent will likely get the job done, we’ve all heard of or experienced horror stories of innocent linens destroyed by those unseemly acid patches. The question here is, what to do?
A good rule of thumb is to invest in a detergent that contains color-safe bleach or something similar if you just want to get the job done. However, if you find yourself without that special concoction, and a need to bleach, it’s always best to dilute the solution with a fair amount of lukewarm water. About a tablespoon of bleach in a cupful of water should give you all the cleanly satisfaction you’re looking for. Just remember not to add the mixture directly to the fabrics. You’ve been warned.
Pro-Tip: If you’re nervous about adding bleach, you can always pre-treat stains with a specialized solution of detergent and warm water. Pre-treating solutions are also widely available in most retail locations.
Turn Up the Heat
As stated above, it’s always a good idea to refer to the “care instructions” tag when attending to your bedding. Generally speaking, drying your sheets is fairly simple and straightforward--essentially the wash cycle in reverse.
Always avoid overstuffing your dryer, to ensure that your bedding is evenly dried and don’t forget the fabric softener (if you haven’t added any to the wash cycle). If at the end of your dry-cycle, you find yourself with some remaining wet-patches, don’t fret. Simply continue drying the load in ten-minute increments until satisfied.
Pro-Tip: Do all you can to avoid over-drying. Too long in the spinning inferno and you’ll find yourself with a proliferation of wrinkles that are harder to remove than any stain.
Fold, Baby. Fold!
For the best results, and a crisp presentation, promptly fold your linens when they’re fresh out of the dryer. In addition to helping you avoid those eye-sore wrinkles and messy distortions, a quick fold makes storage and organization a million times easier than simply stuffing your linens in the closet or tossing them in the “clean” bin.
If you find yourself with cooled sheets that are riddled with wrinkles, relax. All you’ve got to do for that sleek and admirable “fresh out of the package” look is simply restart the dry cycle and let your linens spin for another 5-10 minutes. Just like that, we’re back in the game with well-cleaned sheets that look brand new.
We hope you’ve found this list of bedding care tips useful. Always remember that keeping your linens crisp and clean doesn’t have to be a hassle, especially when you know what you’re doing. If you’d like some further information, please refer to the “Care Instructions” page on our site for a bulleted list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ that cover everything from bed sheets to bathmats.
As always, thank you for reading.
Until Next Time,