Yes, we hate doing laundry. But the prospect of being seen outside in a crusty old shirt or a decrepit pair of pants usually lights enough of a fire under our butts to head down to the laundry room.
Washing sheets, however, is a different story. Even the most hardened laundry warriors can admit the blood-draining, soul-sucking, mind-numbing boredom that comes from washing soiled beddings.
But we’re here to tell you that learning how to wash sheets can be a piece of cake. A no-sugar-added, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan carrot cake, sure, but cake nonetheless. (No offense to those of you who are into those sorts of cakes!)
Kids might gag at the idea but any adult knows that sometimes, you just have to take the small victories where you can get them. And getting your sheets clean without wanting to curl up in a ball and cry is a pretty big win if you ask us!
Whether you’re just trying to learn how to wash bed sheets for the first time or a grizzled old veteran who wants to know how to wash satin sheets without ruining them, this guide has all the bases of how to wash your sheets covered!
1. Strip the Bed and Sort the Sheets
Let’s start with something easy so we can all feel good about ourselves. We’ll need every bit of self-esteem we can get for what’s to come!
Take out all of the sheets from the bed. Your sheets can handle quite the beating so, if you have any ill will towards them, now is the time for payback.
Now that everything’s out in the open, it’s time to sort.
Separate your sheets into two piles: one for lights and one for darks. How to wash white sheets is a whole other can of worms from how to wash purple sheets, for instance. You don’t want your fancy-colored sheets turning into a flea market reject!
2. Look at the Care Labels
If you’re going to go to the trouble of washing your sheets, you might as well do it right.
Your sheets’ care labels will tell you everything you need to know about how to wash sheets without ruining them.
If the care label is missing or unreadable, play it safe and treat the sheets as if they’re delicate.
3. Pre-Treat Stubborn Stains
Stains are your worst enemy. Why not weaken them before they can do any real damage?
Treat them with a pre-stain remover before you put them in the wash. This breaks down the stain so it comes off more easily.
4. Load Your Sheets Separately
When putting your sheets into the washing machine, make sure not to overcrowd them.
We understand the temptation of just jamming everything in there so you can get it over with, but your sheets need room to move around so the water and detergent can get in there and do their thing.
It can take a bit of trial and error to figure out how many sheets you can fit in your washing machine without risking any lint buildup or pilling. Go slow at first and increase the number of sheets you wash together as you get a feel for it.
5. Add Your Detergent
Shake some mild detergent into the washing machine. If you’re using a liquid detergent, make sure to add it directly to the water so it can start dissolving right away. If you’re using powder, wait until the water is added before dumping it in so it has time to dissolve.
You can add some bleach to the load if you’re washing white sheets that need a bit of a boost. A half-cup per load should suffice to keep them as white as the day they were born.
6. Selecting the Best Wash Cycle
What is the best wash cycle for your sheets?
Well, it depends on what they’re made of. The matter of how to wash linen sheets, for example, differs just a bit from how to wash cotton sheets, while being worlds apart from how to wash silk sheets or how to wash bamboo sheets.
Here’s a short cheat sheet (sorry) for the best temperatures and wash cycles for some of the most common fabric types.
Note that these are only guidelines—care labels always take precedence!
- Linen – Cold or warm water, using the “Sheets” or “Normal” wash cycle.
- Cotton – Warm or hot water, using the “Sheets” or “Normal” wash cycle.
- Silk or Satin – Cold water, using the “Delicate” or “Gentle” wash cycle.
- Bamboo – Cold water, using the “Delicate” or “Gentle” wash cycle.
7. Dry Your Sheets
You should be able to tumble dry most of your sheets on low heat unless the care label says otherwise. A few wool dryer balls tossed in will help to fluff them up and reduce static cling.
For sheets with delicate or natural fibers like silk or bamboo, it’s best to do it the old-fashioned way and air dry them.
Hang them on a clothesline or drying rack in a sunny spot if you can, but your dryer’s “Air Dry” setting will do in a pinch.
8. Store Your Sheets
You did it!
Once your sheets are dry, show them who’s boss by folding them neatly and placing them in a linen closet or dresser drawer.
If you want to keep them looking their best, store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
You might also consider using pillowcases or fabric bags to keep your sheets from getting dusty in storage.
Or Maybe Just Leave the Sheets to Professionals?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a laundry pacifist—especially when it comes to your sheets!
We at hampr have made it our mission to make crisp, clean sheets available to everyone, without all the fuss. We offer flat-rate prices with zero hidden fees, as well as free pickups and next-day deliveries straight to your door.