We are becoming increasingly conscious that we need our clothes and other textiles such as bed linen to last longer, so knowing how to care for your bedding is key to achieving this. Whilst our organic cotton bed linen is designed to feel better with age, it is still important to properly care for your organic cotton sheets. I understand that when it comes to washing bed linen, people find it a right palaver. Stripping the bed, putting everything into wash, drying it and then (for most) the dreaded ironing. And then the bed needs re-making… it’s a never-ending cycle.
Given that you spend one third of your life in bed it’s worth it though. There’s absolutely nothing better than slipping into a freshly made bed on crisp and clean sheets. There’s just something about the feel of a freshly laundered and made bed. Absolute bliss! But do you take enough care of your sheets to ensure they last?
The secret to how to care for your bedding and keeping it looking great is really simple: just wash them the right way, every time.
Here’s a guide on how to care for your bedding – sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases. It will help you to keep them as fresh and crisp as the day you bought them. After all, you want them to look and feel soft and dreamy for many sleeps to come!
1. Read the care labels – they’re here to help!
- Before you do anything to your new bed linen, you must take the time to read the care labels and the information given on the packaging. Not all bed linen is made the same, so you can’t treat it all in the same way. Each piece of bed linen you buy comes with specific recommendations for cleaning and drying.
- Simply follow the directions on the label. Cotton sheets, for example, need to be washed at a lower temperature than synthetic fibres; and not all fabrics are suitable for bleaching, tumble drying and ironing. Bamboo, linen and silk sheets need special care.
- If you have taken the time to read the care labels (this only takes a minute), it will be pretty hard to go wrong.
2. Wash before first use
- Washing bed linen before you first use it is a personal choice. Some people say new bedding should be washed to remove any chemicals used in the manufacturing process. However, organic cotton by its very nature has not had any harmful chemicals used in its production; and our organic cotton bedding is also Oeko-tex certified, giving you additional assurance that no harmful chemicals have been used. If you do wash before use, you will refresh your bedding after the manufacturing, packaging and transportation process and it will enhance the feel of the fabric.
- Organic cotton sheets also get better and softer after every wash. They quite simply improve with age.
- It’s worth noting that you should not use fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which will add residues of their own to your bedding.
3. Wash your sheets regularly
- I’m not going to tell you how often you should wash your bedding. You will have your own bedding wash habits firmly instilled by now. It’s pointless me trying to preach. It’s down to personal choice (and hygiene). It might depend on who you share your bed with, what you do in bed (ahum!) and how much you sweat. Dead skin cells, body oils, crumbs if you eat in bed, pet hairs if they share with you… It’s all down to personal preference and choice.
- Washing them regularly will improve the look and feel of the bedding, as organic cotton gets better and softer with age. I only wish I improved with age in the same way!
4. Washing Tips
- Bed linen should be washed separately from towels and other clothing. Why? This will give the sheets more room to circulate in the water, which means you will have cleaner sheets. Towels are sturdy and made to take abuse. Sheets are more delicate and are made to feel soft and gentle on the skin. You wouldn’t want a heavy fabric to ruin your beautiful bedding!
- Taking care not to have anything else in the wash with them will prevent potential damage caused by zips and other fasteners (for example). It will also reduce the amount of damage (pilling) that can happen over time.
- You should also separate your linen into whites and colours, to prevent your crisp white sheets from being dimmed or accidentally dyed by coloured fabrics.
- Pre-treat any marks or stains before they go in the wash. Try to avoid using bleach on bed linen as this can damage the fabric. There are more natural ways to brighten white sheets, such as lemon juice. Simply add 1/4 or 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your cycle. Fabrics such as bamboo, linen and silk may require a specialist washing product.
- Wash your bedding with a mild detergent. Detergents can be harsh on sheets, so only mild detergents should be used. Detergents with whitening agents are fine to use on white bed linen but can cause spotting and discolouration on coloured fabrics.
- Avoid using fabric softener. Organic cotton softens naturally during washing, so there is no need for fabric softeners. Fabric softeners can clog the pores of the fabric and cause it to lose its natural sheen.
- You should keep the temperature to 40oc or lower when washing any cotton bed linen, as temperatures higher than this can harm the natural fibres. Better still, perhaps consider washing at 30oc if it’s not too dirty, as this is more environmentally friendly.
- Stick to slower spin cycles, as using faster spins can damage and shorten the lifespan of your cotton sheets.
- Remove and fold your sheets promptly – you will really see the difference. Doing this will help avoid any creases or wrinkles from setting into your bedding. And give them a good shake before drying them. It makes such a difference.
5. Drying your bedding
- Whenever possible, dry sheets on an outside clothes line but out of the direct sun. If you can’t do this, hang them on an airer inside to dry.
- Most fabric care labels tell you that tumble drying isn’t an option, and even those that say tumble drying is OK will stipulate a very low drying temperature. If you have to dry in the tumble dryer, use a low heat setting to minimise damage to the fabric’s fibres from high temperatures. As soon as the dryer finishes, remove the sheets and fold them, smoothing out any wrinkles with your hands as you do so. If wrinkles have set, dry the sheets for an additional five minutes or so with a damp towel tossed into the dryer to add moisture (or a couple of ice cubes).
6. The dreaded (or not so dreaded) ironing
- Love it or loathe it? For many it’s the latter. It can be time consuming. Some people are quite happy to slip into the natural wrinkles of their bedding. If it’s the former (I have to admit this is me), you obviously love immaculate sheets, or just enjoy watching Netflix whilst you iron.
- Organic cotton is perfectly safe to iron.
- If you like your sheets to be perfectly crisp, just iron it whilst it’s slightly damp using the cotton heat setting. This will make your life so much easier. I also do this with cotton shirts!
7. Preventing pilling
- A common bed linen ailment is the dreaded “pilling”, or bobbling, but there are steps you can take to prevent this. Try to keep anything abrasive away from your sheets. Classic offenders include decoration on nightwear, pets’ claws and even our own toenails. Life does get in the way of perfect bed linen care but being careful to minimise these causes can help protect your bedding in the longer-term.
- Rotating bed linen can also help prevent this; as can storing your bed linen correctly.
8. Storing & keeping your bed linen fresh
Have you ever put your freshly laundered bed linen away only to be greeted with a horrible, musty smell when you come to get it out again? We’ve probably all done this. This is usually down to not drying the sheets properly and not allowing enough air circulation in storage.
- Always check your sheets are completely dry before folding and storing, otherwise you might find mould and mildew making themselves at home in your lovely linens.
- You should also try to ensure that your sheets, duvet covers, and pillow cases have plenty of ventilation and aren’t packed too tightly together during storage. Air circulation is important to maintain freshness and prevent any unpleasant smells from developing.
- Keeping your sheets protected from dust whilst being stored can help prevent those unsightly bobbles appearing. Dust really doesn’t help with pilling. Store your bedding in a dust free environment. One great tip is to store your bedding inside a pillowcase to keep them dust free, and help you find them in your airing cupboard.
- Ideally, sheet sets should be completely replaced every 2 years (or 6 months to 1 year for pillowcases) to continue enjoying the sleep experience.
Now you know how to care for your bedding, you can enjoy your beautifully soft bed linen for much longer. None of the above is hard work. Promise!
Please get in touch if there’s anything we can help you with, or if you have any great tips to help care for your bedding.
Feel free to browse our organic cotton bed linen here.