Nothing beats sliding between fresh, clean sheets, cocooning into a nest of sweet-smelling blankets, and drifting off to sleep. In order to keep those sheets crisp and clean, it is critical to make sure you are laundering them on a regular basis. Check out these tips for keeping your bed a comfy, cozy, hygienic place to catch some Zs.
10. How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Dealing with sheets can be a frustrating chore. First of all, depending on the size and location of your bed, it can be a struggle to get them on and off of your mattress. Your bed may be smack dab against the wall, or you may have the dubious pleasure of dealing with bunk beds. If so, it can be a real physical feat to wrestle clean sheets onto the bed. However, diving in and conquering the battle of the sheets once each week will ensure you are slumbering in hygienic bliss.
9. Why Sheets Need Frequent Laundering
You may find it challenging to drift off to sleep if you realize you are sharing your bed with dust mites, dead skin cells, body fluids, and bacteria. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your body loses 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells each day. Dead skin cells, sweat, and hair oils create an environment where dust mites and bacteria can thrive, increasing the risk of allergies and infection. Furthermore, your pet may snooze in your bed with you. If so, you are also allowing pet dander and whatever germs your pet brings in on his paws into your bed.
Your pillowcases may require extra attention since your pillow is where you lay your head each night. You may want to wash pillowcases two or three times a week, especially if you are prone to drooling, have oily hair, or sweat profusely. Martha Stewart recommends using zippered pillow protectors to safeguard your pillows against allergens, oils, and bacteria. Even if you use pillow protectors, you should plan to wash your pillows every six months. Many pillows are machine washable, allowing you to launder them in your washing machine and then place them in the dryer.
7. Washing and Drying Bed Linens
Launder sheets, blankets, and pillowcases in your washing machine according to the instructions on the labels. Avoid using hot water, which can shrink or fade certain fabrics. Hanging sheets and blankets on a clothesline in the sunshine is a delightful and environmentally friendly way to dry them. If this is not possible, check the label, and if recommended, tumble dry your bedding at a low setting. Remove them promptly from the dryer to decrease the risk of wrinkling. Use dryer balls to soften your bedding and improve airflow through the fabrics during the drying process.
6. Sweet Aromas for Peaceful Slumber
When you hang your sheets out to dry, you can enjoy their fresh, clean, sunshiny scent as you drift off to sleep. If you suffer allergies or are at risk for contact dermatitis, avoid using dryer sheets. The chemicals contained in commercial fabric softener sheets can trigger allergies. Applying a few drops of lavender essential oil to your dryer balls will impart a soothing fragrance to your sheets and aid in relaxing you for slumber. Furthermore, Wellness Mama provides instructions for making your own dryer sheets from scraps of cloth, essential oils, and vinegar.
5. Protecting Against Allergens
To protect yourself from dust mites and the allergic reactions they trigger, you may want to invest in allergy covers for your mattress, box spring, and pillows. Choose quality, zippered allergy covers that completely encase your mattress and box springs. A quality cover will create a barrier against more than 99% of the dust mites, pet dander, and pollens that trigger allergic reactions. Sleeping on mattress protectors does not mean you will sacrifice sleep to crinkly, crackly, plastic-feeling products. Many protectors on the market today boast soft, crinkle-free fabrics.
4. Keeping Cool
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you will sleep better in a cool environment. Maintaining a room temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit offers the optimal sleep benefit. It also helps to prevent the discomfort, loss of sleep, and drenched sheets associated with night sweats. If you don’t have air conditioning or suffer the night sweats associated with menopause, you may not be able to avoid overheating at night. In this case, you may want to check out cooling bedding products such as cooling pillows or blankets. These items contain naturally cooling fibers or cooling gel technology to ease your sleep.
3. Storing Sheets
You may enjoy taking your sheets straight from the dryer or clothesline and placing them on your bed to enjoy their clean, fresh scent. On the other hand, you may have several sets of sheets that require storing between uses. Architectural Digest recommends protecting clean sheets against dust by encasing them in white fabric storage bags before placing them in a cool, dry, linen closet. Use sweet-smelling sachets or scented drawer liners to keep your linens smelling lovely. The Laundress offers a lavender sachet that keeps your linens smelling fresh while warding off bugs and moths.
2. Folding Fitted Sheets
No matter how many cute videos pop up on the internet demonstrating the ease of folding fitted sheets, this task still confounds many of us. If you are willing to give it another go, Crane and Canopy offers a 1 ½ minute video on How to Fold a Fitted Sheet in Seconds. Give it some practice, and soon you will be able to wrestle your fitted sheets into submission. If not, smooth them as best you can, fold them up tight, and call it good.
1. Purchasing New Sheets
It is time to replace your sheets when they become thin, stained, or worn. Cotton is an excellent fabric for sheets as it is soft, breathable, and easily washable. Additionally, you may enjoy sheets made of linen, bamboo, sateen, or percale. In general, a thread count of between 200 and 800 will provide a soft, durable bed sheet. However, thread count isn’t the only critical factor in determining a high-quality sheet. Tuck recommends considering the weave, fabric material, and ply count in addition to thread count when shopping for new bed linens.Related: 6 Diseases Caused by a Lack of Sleep