One of the best ways to get healthier and more alert is getting more sleep. We begin and end each day in our beds. Isn’t it time you made your bed one of the cleanest and most comfortable spots in your home? An essential part of creating a soothing sleep environment is knowing the proper way to wash your sheets and pillows because when it comes to sleeping on fresh, clean bed linens, there’s no substitute. Here are some tips for properly washing and storing your sheets and pillows.
When it comes to washing your bed sheets, how often you do it is a matter of personal preference but a good rule of thumb is once a week. To remove dirt and dust from sheets use warm water instead of hot which can shrink the fibers in your sheets. If you have printed or colored pillowcases, it’s a good idea to wash them inside out to protect the color or prints. Be sure to check the labels on sheets and pillowcases with delicate features like trim or embroidery for care instructions before washing. In some cases, it’s better to wash them by hand in warm water and, provided it’s a nice spring or summer day without high counts of allergens in the air, hang them on a clothes line outside to dry.
Even if you don’t eat in bed, you may find yourself facing tough stains from cosmetics or face lotions that cause discoloration on your sheets and pillowcases. In fact, many skin products have been known to bleach sheets because they contain oxidizing agents. If you’ve encountered stains like these before, consider choosing white linens or purchasing an extra set of pillowcases next time you buy sheets. Chlorine bleach is too harsh for most bed sheets so using oxygenated bleach on whites and light colored sheets is the best way to deal with tough stains.
There’s a reason why mom irons the bed sheets. It’s the most surefire way to make them feel like new again. But let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the time or inclination. So to keep your sheets in peak condition you’ll want to tumble them dry according to label instructions. Removing them before they’re completely dry will minimize wrinkles. Air them out on the clothes line outside to finish the process for the best smelling sheets in town. And to avoid mildew growth be sure your sheets are completely dry before folding them and storing them in your linen closet or drawer. Line surfaces in your close or drawer with acid-free tissue paper to keep your sheet fabrics from yellowing and avoid storing them in plastic containers which can trap moisture and aid in mildew growth. Replace your sheets when you see fraying hems, faded patterns or stains.
The best way to protect your pillows is using pillow protectors, the zippered covers that go under pillow cases. This cover shields your pillows from hair and body oils while keeping allergens at bay. Pillows should be washed twice a year. Down and synthetic pillows are machine washable but be sure to check the care label first. It’s best to use mild liquid detergent instead of powder and run a pair of pillows in each cycle to prevent your washing machine from getting off balance. To ensure your pillows are fully rinsed, run them through the rinse cycle twice and a second time without detergent. Use the low-heat setting when you dry your pillows. Make sure your pillows are completely dry before putting them back on the bed. Clumps of feathers that are still damp may mold. Throwing a few unused tennis balls in clean white socks into the dryer is a good way to re-fluff pillows.