It doesn’t take bedsheets long to get filthy: they collect dead skin cells, sweat, body oils and more. So, it’s important that you change them on a regular basis. Every week or so I should do it. It’s also a good idea to pull your duvet back each morning, so moisture can escape, as this will help to keep your bedding fresher for longer.
If anyone in your household is poor, it’s a good idea to change your sheets a lot more often — perhaps even once a day. At the very least, you should change everyone’s pillowcases daily, because this will help to limit your exposure to whatever bacteria is causing the illness.
While it’s easy to forget, it’s important that you wash your duvet and pillows on a regular basis, too. Although, these don’t need to be cleaned quite as often: every six months should be enough. We would also recommend replacing your pillows every two to three years, and your duvet every five, to keep them fresh.
If washing your sheets every week sounds like too much of a chore, see if our laundry collection and delivery service can help. Our professional service is also ideal if your duvet won’t fit inside your washing machine, or you have any dry-clean-only items.
Alternatively, if you would like to wash your sheets, duvet and pillows, here’s how you can get the best possible results. Just remember that this is only a guide: always read your bedding’s care labels and check them against our laundry symbol guide to avoid causing any damage.
Even the ultra-hygienic should regularly wash their bed linens often. Sweat, saliva, skin cells, dust mites, and dirt collect on your bedding every time you hit the sack. Not only does this collection lead to smells and stains, but it also turns your bunk into a hotbed of bacteria, fungi, and allergens over time. Some microorganisms can aggravate allergies or skin conditions, cause infections, even lead to illnesses if they remain in your bed long enough to re-enter your body (e.g. through a cut in your skin). It’s generally recommended to wash bed linens every one to two weeks to keep this build-up at bay, but the exact frequency depends on the type of fabric, the type of bed linen, and whether or not you have pets or unique health conditions. So, read on to learn about how often you should wash sheets and other linens to keep your bed as sanitary as it is snug.
Wash cotton bed sheets every week
The natural fibres in cotton, cotton-polyester blends, and Egyptian cotton sheets are ultra-absorbent and ineffective at wicking away moisture (i.e. sweat)—and the more moisture trapped in your sheets, the more hospitable they are microorganisms. Washing cotton bed sheets (including fitted and/or top sheets) every week is the best way to banish microorganisms, allergens, stains, and odours.
If your sheets have a stubborn stain from food, beverages, or blood, pour distilled white vinegar directly over the stain and let it dwell for 15 minutes, then rinse the vinegar off the sheet under plain cool water. Next, run the sheets through a normal wash cycle with the hottest temperature setting recommended (check the care instructions on the sheets for the optimal water temperature) with any standard detergent, followed by a medium to high-heat dry cycle. While higher heat kills bacteria, lower dryer heat lessens the likelihood that the sheets will shrink or fade (if coloured). As often as you should be washing your sheets, though, now might be a smart time to invest in white or light-coloured sheets that will have minimally noticeable fading.
Synthetic fabric or silk sheets can be cleaned every two weeks.
Sheets made of silk or synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon are more effective at repelling moisture than cotton, but that doesn’t buy them much extra time—wash these sheets every two weeks.
To clean synthetic-fabric sheets, run them through a normal wash cycle with warm or (ideally) hot water and medium or high heat in the dry cycle to remove build-up. For silk sheets, depending on the care instructions, hand-wash them by kneading them by hand for three to five minutes in a large bucket comprising cold water mixed with silk-friendly detergent (such as Woolite for Delicates Care), then lightly wring them out and air-dry them, preferably on a sunny day to speed up drying time. If the silk sheets are machine-washable and dryable, run them through a gentle wash cycle with cold water, then machine-dry them on low heat.
Clean pillowcases weekly.
Dirt, makeup residue, and oil from your skin or hair—not to mention dust mites from your bedroom itself—are transferred to your pillowcase on a nightly basis, regardless of your sleeping position. Continuing to sleep on a soiled pillowcase night after night takes a toll on your skin, clogging the pores and potentially causing or worsening acne.
To ensure you’re laying your head on a clean surface, wash pillowcases of all fabric types once a week:
- Run cotton and synthetic sheets through a normal wash cycle with warm or hot water and fragrance-free liquid laundry detergent (powders can leave behind residue that can irritate facial skin), and then run a dry cycle on low heat. Steer clear of dryer sheets when drying pillowcases; they usually contain softening agents that can irritate facial skin.
- For silk pillowcases, depending on the care instructions, hand-wash or machine-wash them as you would wash silk sheets, then air-dry them or machine-dry them on low heat.
- If washing printed or coloured pillowcases, turn them inside out before washing to preserve their pattern and hue.
Wash duvet covers monthly if you use a top sheet.
If you sleep with a top sheet sandwiched between you and your duvet, a monthly wash is enough to minimize bacterial build-up on duvet covers of any fabric. To clean, zip-up or snap closed the duvet cover, then run it through the laundry on a normal wash cycle with cold water at the fastest spin speed possible. Depending on the care instructions, air-dry or machine-dry the cover on low heat to minimize shrinking. If yours is a silk duvet cover, hand-wash it as you would wash silk sheets, then let the duvet cover air-dry, preferably outdoors for faster drying.
If you don’t use a top sheet, wash duvet covers weekly. Sans top sheet, microorganisms and allergens collect more rapidly on your duvet cover, so you’ll want to adjust your cleaning schedule accordingly. Wash them weekly using the same washing and drying instructions recommended above for duvet covers.
Wash mattress covers weekly.
As with duvet covers, attaching a cover to your mattress that removes for easy washing is a great way to reduce the build-up of oil, dust, and pathogens on your mattress itself and prolong its life—so long as you wash the cover itself on a weekly basis. Zip up the mattress cover or snap it shut, then wash and dry with the same washing and drying instructions recommended for duvet covers.
If you have pets, wash sheets and pillowcases twice a week. When feline or canine friends regularly snuggle up in your bed, you want to clean your sheets and pillowcases more frequently than usual. Twice weekly helps take care of the additional microorganisms as well as allergens like pet dander that furry friends track into your bedding. To banish these accumulations, start by running sheets and pillowcases of all fabric types through a no-heat dry cycle (with a dryer sheet included) to remove pet hair. Then, use the fabric-specific washing and drying instructions recommended above for your bed linen but choose the hottest water and dryer heat settings permitted by the care instructions to ensure pet pathogens are eliminated.
If you have allergies or health or skin conditions, wash sheets and pillowcases every two to three days.
If you have a respiratory condition like asthma, an allergy to dust mites or other particulates, or your skin is acne-prone, consider laundering your sheets and pillowcases every two or three days to limit your exposure to those elements that can worsen your condition. You can follow the fabric-specific washing and drying instructions outlined above for cotton, synthetic, and silk sheets and pillowcases, but stick to a mild, fragrance-free liquid detergent during the wash cycle. And, since you’ll be washing more frequently, use Quick Wash or Quick Dry settings (or the equivalent shortest duration cycle) on your washer and dryer to cut cleaning time and energy costs.
What detergent to use in washing silk sheets?
Keep in mind that silk is a very strong natural fibre. To keep that fibre strong, avoid subjecting it to harsh detergents and soaps that will break those fibres down and strip it of its natural properties. Woolite is a mild detergent that many people use to successfully clean their silk sheets, but I have found a few manufacturers who do not recommend it. A commonly recommended soap is Charlie’s Liquid Laundry soap which can be purchased online. It is non-toxic and completely biodegradable soap.
How to wash silk sheets?
Silk is a wonderful, natural fabric. Although it seems delicate, it is a strong fabric that will last for a long time. In order for sheets to last, you must wash them with special care and attention. It is best to hand wash your sheets. However, dry cleaning and the washing machine are an option as well.
For silk products of any kind, hand-washing is the optimal way to clean without causing damage to the material. Proper hand-cleaning can prolong the life of the silk as well as keep it lustrous even after long periods of usage.
Some tips for hand-washing silk include:
- Use lukewarm water: 30C/86F is the best temperature for silk to be hand-washed in.
- Use mild cleaning agents: We recommend TENESTAR as the brand of specialized silk cleaner agent for our products. Woolite and other mild detergents can also be used but not recommended. Avoid detergents with enzymes, bleaches and brighteners at all cost.
- Rinse with a few drops of vinegar: A few drops of distilled vinegar can help dissolve the alkaline traces (e.g. sweat/soap residue) on the silk. Rinse quickly, and don’t oversoak.
Things that should be avoided when hand-washing silk:
- Soaking silk in water for too long: soaking silk in water for too long may cause the silk threads to unwind, causing deformation in the fabric.
- Harsh detergents: avoid any cleaning agents with enzymes, bleach or brighteners, these will make short work of the silk fibres.
- Twisting: Put silk on towel and roll to extract water as twisting too hard can shear silk fibres.
- Hand-washing, however, can take a long time, especially if you are washing bed sheets/duvet covers. Another problem is that you need to stay focused for the duration of the wash, as leaving silk in water unattended for too long may cause deformation. Hand-washing multiple pieces of silk are no easy task and require quite a bit of stamina to complete.
For those without the time, patience, or just physically unable to hand-wash silk, our products can withstand machine-washing as well. Of course, there are more risks involved, and certain precautions must be taken in order to minimize them.
Tips for machine washers:
- Use the mildest cycle; there is: Most washing machines should have a “delicate” setting. Some machines even have a silk setting specifically for cleaning silk. Do NOT use heavy load settings.
- Use the shortest spin cycle: Spinning can be very dangerous for silk fabric as the forces involved can shear weaker silk fibres.
- Use specialized silk cleaner agents: We recommend TENESTAR as the brand of specialized silk cleaner agent for our products. Woolite and other mild detergents can also be used but not recommended. Avoid detergents with enzymes, bleaches and brighteners at all costs.
- Use protective casing: To best avoid shearing and tearing of silk fibres, it is recommended that you use some sort of cloth casing that could let water through and yet keeps the silk fabric in one piece. A cotton pillowcase or duvet cover should serve this purpose just fine.
- Do NOT forget about your silk: Some people like to throw their load into the washing machine and leave, then forget about the wash completely. If you do this with silk, chances are the silk is going to change shape and lose lustre prematurely as the residue water can cause deformities in the fabric.
- Machine-wash tends to be the most practical way to clean silk as it is fast and requires little attention, but in fact, you should be even more careful than when you hand-wash, as there are many ways the machine can tear your silk to pieces if you do not treat the wash cautiously.
When you first purchase silk sheets, wash them by hand for the first few pieces of washing. Doing this helps to preserve the sheen of the silk and soften the silk fibres.
After hand washing for the first few times you can switch to machine washing if you want to, but always wash the sheets on your machine’s delicate cycle After hand washing for the first few times, you can switch to machine washing the sheets, but always wash them on the delicate cycle and never use hot water. Experts recommend washing silk sheets at 30 degrees Centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit) which is water that is barely lukewarm.
If your machine has an option to allow an extra spin cycle to wring as much water out of your fabrics as possible, resist the urge to use it. Use the spin cycle sparing on silk sheets because it is hard on their fibres. That is why it is important to use the delicate or hand washable cycle on the machine.
It is okay to use fabric softener if you would like to. My personal favourite is a lavender-scented fabric softener. Do not use bleach, even colour safe bleach ever, not even if you have stains.
Also, resist scrubbing the fabric vigorously to remove a stain.
Let the sheets hand dry, if possible, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents because that is just like putting them in a hot dryer. It is especially important to keep dark-coloured silk sheets out of the sunlight because it will visibly fade them in a very short amount of time. But, because finding a safe place to air-dry large silk sheets, such as king size sheets, can be difficult, some people have had good luck drying their sheets using the lowest temperature setting on their dryer, the one that is just barely higher than “air dry.”
My favourite place to dry silk sheets is outside on a clothesline that is protected from the sun, but because I live in a cold climate, it is not feasible to hang out my sheets year-round, so I utilize my dryer for several months a year.
If you think the sheets need ironing, although I admit I have never ironed silk sheets, you can use a cool iron on them while they are still slightly damp, making sure to iron on the reverse side (the non-shiny side). But I will tell you I have never found it necessary to iron silk sheets. If they are gently washed and dried (translation: not twisted and wrung and beat up), they don’t need to be ironed.
One other note about washing silk sheets does not put anything else in the washer with them. Wash them separately from your other laundry.
Pure silk sheet is a delicate fabric and should be handled with care. However, it is fairly easy to clean. It has a natural tendency to release dirt quickly and does not always require dry cleaning to keep its quality.
How to dry silk sheets?
When it comes to sheets dry, it is better to let the sheets hand dry if possible. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents because that is just like putting them in a hot dryer. It is especially vital to keep dark-coloured silk sheets out of the sunlight because it will visibly fade them in a very short amount of time. On top of that, finding a safe place to air-dry large silk sheets, such as king size sheets, is also necessary. For Vansilk’s customers’ feedback, some of them dry their sheets using the lowest temperature setting on their dryer, the one that is just barely higher than “air dry.” Some choose dry silk sheets on a clothesline outside. For this, you certainly need a garden or a balcony on your own.
How to take care of and prolong the life of your silk sheets?
Though silk is durable enough, it can still be damaged by you unwittingly. If the heels of your feet get as dry and rough as sandpaper, it is like rubbing your sheets with sandpaper every time you get into bed. The same goes for sharp broken fingernails or toenails. They can pull the threads in your sheets, breaking them. Therefore, taking care of your skin and your nails is not only beneficial to you but also beneficial to your skin.
After spending several hundred dollars on high-quality silk sheets, you want to sleep on it as long as possible. Although it is already durable, it can unwittingly be damaged by you, but the longer, the better. If the heels of your feet get as dry and rough as sandpaper, it is like rubbing your sheets with sandpaper every time you get into bed. The same goes for sharp broken fingernails or toenails. They can pull the threads in your sheets, breaking them, so taking care of your skin and your nails are not only beneficial to you but also beneficial to your skin! And later, long life your silk bedding sheets.