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How to Clean and Care for Sheets & Pillows

by Reyna Thomas

Proper care for your bedding can help you sleep more comfortably while helping sheets last longer and look better. Sheets always need much more attention when it comes to cleaning compared to other bedding. We'll show you how to wash your sheets and pillows made from cotton, cotton/polyester blends, satin, or polyester/microfiber and how often you should wash them.

How Often to Wash Sheets

Sheets of any fabric will naturally become soiled from body oils and fluids containing bacteria that can cause skin irritations, so frequent cleaning is always a good idea. In addition, you'll need to keep on top of washing your bedding if your household has experienced head lice or bed bug infestations. Otherwise, several lifestyle factors and habits can influence how often you need to change and clean your sheets and pillows:

Every two weeks: You can probably get away with washing your sheets every two to three weeks if you live alone, take a bath before bed, and don't have any pets, but you should never leave unwashed sheets on your bed for more than two weeks at a time.

Weekly: If you eat in bed, have pets that sleep in your bed, or are regularly in your bedroom, you'll want to wash your sheets weekly to prevent crumbs, pet hair, and dander from accumulating. Additionally, if you sweat a lot during the night or have any medical conditions that cause you to sweat excessively, you should wash your sheets once a week.

Daily: If you have young children who are prone to accidents in bed, you'll want to launder the sheets and pillowcases more frequently. Likewise, if there are household illnesses, the sheets and pillows should be changed daily.

mother and daughter folding sheets

How to Wash Bed Sheets

As for how to wash your sheets, there are a few general tips to keep in mind:

Always take time to read the care label to determine the manufacturer's recommendations for care. Avoid packing the washer tub with too many sheets. To ensure that every item is thoroughly cleaned, the sheets require space to tumble freely and breathe. Hang sheets and pillowcases to dry or tumble dry on low heat to avoid damage. Ironing is optional, but if you choose to iron your bedding, it is ideal to set the iron to low or medium heat. Now let's get specific and go over how to wash different types of sheets and pillows:

woman hanging sheets to dry

Cotton and Cotton/Polyester Blends

For cotton and cotton/polyester blends, use warm or hot water with your normal laundry detergent. Dry your bedding for the shortest time possible. Your sheets will deteriorate if you over-dry them or use too high of heat. Instead of fabric softener, soften the sheets by adding one full cup of baking soda and one and a half cups of vinegar to the washing machine. Wash on a normal cycle and dry on low heat to minimize wrinkles.

Satin Sheets

Bed sheets made of satin or silk require specialized care, including the use of a gentle detergent formulated for delicate fabrics. Turn it inside out before washing to protect its glossy fibers, and only use cold water and a gentle cycle to avoid damage. As an additional measure against damage, you can put your satin or silk sheets in a mesh bag. Satin sheets should be hung to dry or tumbled dry on low heat and removed from the dryer while still slightly damp.

hand removing pink satin sheet from washer

Polyester/Microfiber Sheets

Because polyester and microfiber are synthetic materials, use warm or cool water so you don’t damage the fibers. Wash on a normal or sheets cycle and use a gentle laundry detergent. While drying polyester/ microfiber sheets, it's essential to avoid the use of high temperatures, just like when washing. To help preserve the integrity of the fibers, set the temperature to low, medium, or as directed on the care label for your item.

Pillows

While it is recommended that you wash your pillowcases at least once weekly, many people do so daily. On the other hand, pillows need to be washed every three to four months. Always read the warning labels on the pillows for specific advice and precautions!

For most pillows, you can combine 1/4 cup each of liquid or powder laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and washing soda. Put the mixture and your pillows in the washer and select the setting with the highest spin cycle. After that, put the pillows and three dryer balls in your dryer to dry. This will clean your pillows, remove stains, and get rid of any odors that may still be present. Be sure to fluff the pillow after drying to help it retain its shape.

woman removing pillows from bed

Pro Tip: Avoid washing memory foam pillows in the washing machine! Memory foam is extremely challenging to dry, if not impossible! Read the care instructions before washing it, or get it dry-cleaned!

By following these simple care instructions, you can keep your sheets and pillows looking great for years to come. Taking good care of your bedding essentials can keep your bedroom fresh and increase the lifespan of your bed and its accessories.

If you've been putting off washing your bed sheets and pillows because your washing machine isn't big enough, it might be time for an upgrade. And Deweese Soft Water & Appliance has a great selection of laundry appliances to help you get the job done! So stop by today, and if you have any questions, just give us a call!