How to Wash Your Bed Sheets and Keep Them Feeling Brand New


Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

Nothing beats the silky and warm feeling of a freshly washed bed sheet. It’s also good for your skin cells, as neglecting your bedsheets may cause acne breakouts.

Now, washing sheets may seem daunting, but don’t worry!

This full guide will show you to wash bed sheets properly, no matter what your sheets are made from. We’ll also cover how often to wash your bed sheets.

The Importance of Washing Bed Sheets Correctly

Knowing how to wash bed sheets can help your bedding feel comfortable, and, more importantly, keep your bedding clean. Most sheets should be changed on a regular basis, or at least washed consistently.

That’s because your sheets are host to dust mites, dirt, dead skin cells, and sweat, all of which can cause skin issues if they aren’t removed properly.

From a comfort standpoint, washing sheets improperly can result in coarse, wrinkly, and uncomfortable sheets.

Why You Should Understand Different Washing Techniques

Using the right laundry technique or cycle can keep your bed sheets in the best condition possible.

For example, a bulky wash cycle uses warm water, low spin speed, and more water settings to prevent your sheets from tangling. This kind of wash is unsuitable for more delicate fabrics.

Types of Bed Sheets and Their Unique Washing Requirements

How you wash sheets depends on their fabric type, as delicate fabrics need a gentle wash cycle. Always check the care label before you wash your sheets.

The ideal dryer setting is around low-to-medium heat, depending on the fabric’s weight. Exposure to high heat settings for too long can result in damage.

Cotton Sheets

Cotton is a common fabric material for bed sheets since it’s easy to clean and comfortable.

It can be thrown into the washing machine on a regular wash cycle. They can be cleaned with hot or warm water to destroy bacteria.

Silk Sheets

Silk and satin sheets are natural fibers that feel luxurious on your skin but can’t stand up to warm water. 

These materials also need gentle detergent to avoid damage. Silk, satin, and bamboo sheets need to be washed on a gentle cycle with cold water.

These fabrics need a no-heat setting for their drying.

NOTE: Bamboo sheets are great for those with sensitive skin and can prevent further skin irritation.

Microfiber Sheets

Microfiber sheets are made from polyester and polyamide fibers, known for being wrinkle-resistant, durable, and affordable.

However, these materials easily get dirty and need to be cleaned with warm water.

Polyester Blend Sheets

Polyester blends are fabrics made from both cotton and polyester and are machine washable.

They are best cleaned with warm or hot water on a regular cycle.

Essential Factors to Consider When Washing Bed Sheets

Whether you’re using your hands or the washing machine to wash sheets, keep the following factors in mind:

Choosing the Right Detergent

Before you start washing, it’s important to know that proper use of detergent for blankets can affect your next wash.

Sheets made from cotton or cotton polyester are best used with any laundry detergent. On the other hand, linen, silk, and bamboo sheets may need a more specialized or mild detergent.

Deciding the Appropriate Water Temperature

We recommend using hot water for deeper cleanings and sanitization for especially dirty beddings. Hotter water kills most germs and even dust mites.

Most cotton bedding can handle hot water, but it may cause wear in the long run. Always check the care label for the hottest water temperature setting that your sheets can handle.

In contrast, use cold water for more delicate fabrics like silk, linen, and bamboo sheets.

Cold water also keeps your sheets’ color from fading but is less effective in removing stains.

Correct Washing Cycle

It’s important to use the right cycle to effectively wash your sheets. Improper cleaning can cause your sheets to lose their softness.

For example, silk and more delicate fabrics need a gentle cold cycle. Even a medium setting cycle can heavily damage silk.

Remember to remove your sheets as soon as possible; shaking them before air drying helps avoid wrinkles before they’re ironed.

an image of a hand carefully removing freshly washed bed sheets from a washing machine

How to Wash Bed Sheets

Knowing how to wash bed sheets will help maintain their cleanliness and use life. These techniques can also be used to maintain cleanliness of your pillows as well, ensuring their longevity.

As a golden rule, wash sheets made from cotton, polyester, or linen with a regular rinse cycle.

You can wash more delicate fabrics such as silk, satin, or bamboo with a gentle cycle.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Bed Sheets

Here are the general steps for how to wash bed sheets:

  1. Always check the care label: The label typically has specific instructions regarding the sheets.
  2. Treat any stains beforehand: Treat any stubborn stains with a pre-wash stain remover and scrub them away.
  3. Load the sheets and detergent: Separate your sheets from other comforters and towels to avoid lint formation; evenly distribute them to avoid tangles.
  4. Choose the right wash cycle and settings: Bed sheets must be washed with the warmest water safe for the fabric.
  5. Line dry the sheets or use a dryer: You can tumble dry most sheets on low heat; add rubber or wool dryer balls to the load for even drying. Otherwise, rely on clothes line drying.
  6. Fold and store sheets: Fold and store them in stacks in a cool and dry spot.

TIP: We recommend not using a fabric softener or a dryer sheet, as they can affect the absorbency of natural fabrics.

Washing Cotton Bed Sheets

You can wash cotton sheets with warm water under a typical hot cycle in a regular washing machine. You may also use a sanitizing cycle to remove bacteria, for optimal cleaning.

Linen sheets can also withstand high temperatures and a normal cycle. The more you wash linen, the softer the material becomes.

Washing Silk Bed Sheets

Bamboo, silk, and satin sheets are more delicate than cotton and need more care.

When washing silk sheets, we recommend hand washing them with cool water and mild detergent. Silk needs special laundering to avoid damage.

Don’t dry the sheets by wringing them out. When using a washing machine, set the machine to a delicate cycle with cold water.

Hang the silk sheets on a line for air drying, but keep them away from direct sunlight.

WARNING: Avoid using bleach for linens, bamboo, and other delicate fabrics, as they can stain the clothes they are washing.

Washing Microfiber Bed Sheets

Microfibers must be washed in either hot or cold water in a gentle or delicate cycle.

Add vinegar or lemon juice to remove odors during the washing cycle.

Washing Polyester Blend Bed Sheets

Sheets made from polyester blends can be washed on a regular cycle with hot water due to the cotton within the fabric.

Valuable Tips for Maintaining the Longevity of Your Sheets after Washing

After the washing machine does its job, you must still be diligent with your freshly laundered sheets.

Use these techniques to maintain your sheets’ longevity.

Correct Drying Techniques

Don’t leave your freshly laundered loads under the direct sun when you air dry them, as direct sunlight will damage the fabric.

When machine-drying sheets, use the air-dry setting of your clothes dryer to avoid damage from high temperatures.

Remember to air dry more delicate satin and silk sheets on a clothesline or use a dryer in a no-heat or air-dry setting.

Most fabrics are best dried on the low-heat setting to avoid damage.

Ironing Bed Sheets Post Wash

Be careful with ironing your clean sheets; high heat can burn your newly-cleaned white sheets.

Check the care label before ironing your sheets for the appropriate temperature settings.

Storing Washed Bed Sheets

After you dry sheets, here’s how to store your fresh laundry:

  • Stash them with their matching pillowcases if they’re part of a set.
  • When storing sheets, stack them neatly in a cool, dry cabinet.
  • You can also store sheets in storage containers under the bed.

Mitigating Potential Problems While Washing Bed Sheets

Here are some common mistakes you may experience while washing your sheets, and how to deal with them.

Dealing with Common Issues While Washing

Positioning your sheets around the impeller or agitator to balance the load for top-load models. Some washing machines lack space, so they can only handle smaller loads.

You should also wash brand-new sheets before using them. Despite looking crisp and white, the dyeing process your bedding has gone through may have leftover residue.

We recommend running them through a rinse cycle with a cup of baking soda and vinegar. This cycle will clean and soften up your new bedsheets.

Addressing Stains on Bed Sheets

Due to body oils, sweat, and more, white sheets can appear yellowish with time.

You can easily spot-clean these stains on duvets using a gentle detergent before using stronger chemicals.

We recommend using a 1/2 cup of bleach and detergent for your next wash cycle. Add them during the final rinse cycle or the last five minutes of washing for stronger cleaning.

Remedies for Color Fading

You can use natural detergent to bring color back to your beddings!

Mix 1/4 cup of lemon juice with wash water to brighten up your faded sheets. You can also soak your bedsheets in a mixture of hot water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice overnight.

Mistakes to Avoid When Washing Bed Sheets

Whenever you ask, keep these common mistakes in mind! Not all washing machines are alike, especially regarding carrying capacity.

Take proper care in setting your machine; a heavy-duty load differs from a full load. The former is meant for heavily dirty fabrics such as work clothes and is too strong for bed sheets.

Avoid leaving your sheets in the dryer for too long, as excessive heat can cause damage and shrinkage.

Avoid drying your bed sheets with towels, as they don’t go well in the dryer, as towels are typically made from thicker and heavier fabrics.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although you are now more familiar with washing bed sheets, you may still have lingering questions about washing your bedding.

Here are some of the most common questions about washing bed sheets.

Can You Wash All Types of Sheets in the Same Way?

You cannot wash all bed sheets the same way, as different fabrics have different heat tolerances and overall durability.

A cotton sheet can withstand the rigors of a washing machine using warm or hotter water, whereas a silk sheet needs more careful hand-washing under cold water.

Both can be easily air-dried or with dryer balls.

What Could Happen if You Use the Wrong Water Temperature?

Using the wrong water temperature can have unintended consequences on your sheet.’

Shrinkage: Water that is too hot can shrink your bedding.
Buildup: Fabric softener easily breaks in too-warm water, leading to buildup.
Fading: Hotter water can cause colors to fade from fabric.

How Often Should Bed Sheets Be Washed?

We recommend that you wash your sheets at least weekly to extend the longevity of your bed linens.

Debris can accumulate on the sheets, like debris, dead skin cells, and body oils, and night sweats.

The longer this debris remains on your linen sheets, the more stress the fabric takes, leading to further damage. That’s why it’s important to wash your sheets frequently, and even more so if you sleep naked.

Is It Necessary to Iron the Sheets After Washing?

It is unnecessary if you use a clothes dryer, but it can help preserve the quality of your cotton sheets by sealing the gaps in the fabric, providing more structure. 

All the while making your bedding more soft and smooth over time. Ironing also prevents shrinkage and wrinkles from affecting your sheets.

Is It Safe to Wash Bed Sheets with Other Clothes?

We suggest washing your bed sheets separately from other clothes.

Separating them allows more warm water to circulate between them for faster cleaning. It also protects your sheets from being damaged by stray zippers and pilling.


Knowing how to wash bed sheets can keep your sheets soft and ensure you can use them for years to come. Sleeping on clean beddings is also a vital part of getting a good night’s rest.

Remember to always check your bedsheets’ care label, and use the right detergent and temperature on your washing machine to ensure they don’t get damaged.

Now you know how to wash sheets no matter what they’re made from, and you can keep your bed clean.

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