Housekeeping Cleaning

how to (actually) wash your sheets

it’s super important to clean your bedroom sheets properly.

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Photography by PINTEREST

Yes, there is an art to washing your bed sheets properly. It involves just a little extra time and care, but it will make sure that all the allergens on your bedding are successfully washed away, and that your sheets last much longer (like 3-5 years longer!).

First and foremost, it’s important to note that you should be washing your sheets every week — two weeks at the latest. Why? Because sweat, dead skin cells, grimy body oils, and dust mites accumulate in your sheets night after night. The longer you wait to wash your sheets, the longer you’re sleeping in a cesspool of germs (yuck).

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

When loading your washer, don’t attempt to shove all your sheets into one load, as tempting as that may be. Putting fewer sheets into the washer allows the fabric to circulate and get cleaned properly.

Additionally, when loading your washer, make sure not to wrap your sheets around the center agitator. This can cause your sheets to wrinkle or tear accidentally.

It is recommended that you wash your sheets separately from other items in order to prevent them from getting tangled together.

Photography by Emily Beetleshack for The Beetle Shack

Choosing a cycle setting depends on two things: The type of fabric, and the amount of soil.

  1. Cotton sheets are normally able to be washed on any cycle, but it is important to check the set’s care label before washing — just in case. Good quality silk sheets, on the other hand, should always be machine washed on the gentle cycle in cold water — make sure to use a silk-friendly detergent!
  2. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to wash your sheets on a heavy-duty cycle all the time. In fact, you should only ever use this cycle if your sheets have serious stains or a large amount of soil. For light soil, use the normal cycle — this will help preserve the strength of the fiber in your sheets. Overwashing has the potential of wearing your sheets down faster, which is why it is important to choose the right cycle for your bedding.
Green and Taupe Bedroom
Photography by WILLIAMS-SONOMA

Hot water kills germs, but it might not be the best for the fabric your sheets are made out of. White and other light-colored cotton sheets are able to be washed in any water temperature, but darker colored sheets should only be washed in cooler waters to avoid fading. Remember, extremly hot water can weaken the fibers in your sheets, to make them last longer, a nice warm wash should be just fine. If you’re unsure what water temperature is safest for your sheets, you can always check the care tag to make sure.

Gray Bedroom

Before washing your sheets, make sure you have pre-treated any stains. Also make sure to dilute your detergent before putting your sheets in the washer in order to avoid discoloring them accidentally.


Now that your sheets have been through the wash, they’re ready to be dried. It is recommended that you tumble dry your sheets on the lowest heat for the shortest time possible — you can always check the care tag to make sure you are using the correct heat for your fabric.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when drying their sheets is leaving them in the dryer for too long. This drying faux pas can cause sheets to wrinkle and shrink. Some experts suggest removing your sheets from the dryer before they are fully dry in order to avoid wrinkling (of course, you cannot store these sheets until fully dry, so a drying rack may be needed). Using a low heat setting on your dryer can also help prevent your sheets from shrinking.

It is also important to note that sheets may dry quicker than thick, heavy towels, but take longer than thin fabric clothes. Because of this, sheets should be dryer separately from all other linens, clothes, and textiles for optimum drying.