How to Clean Sheets

Three Methods:Washing Your SheetsDrying Your SheetsMaking Your Bed and Storing Your Extra Sheets

Cleaning your sheets is beneficial for your body and mind. People sleep much better when their sheets are clean.[1] There is nothing like the feeling of slipping into clean sheets. Yet, it is also a real chore. Cleaning your sheets takes time and energy that could be spent elsewhere. So, it is best to clean your sheets on a regular basis but also in a way that fits into your schedule.[2] By taking good care of your sheets, you will be able to make them last a long time.[3]

Method 1
Washing Your Sheets

  1. 1
    Wash your sheets regularly. Generally, it is a good idea to wash your sheets at least every couple of weeks and preferably once per week.[4] You should take your lifestyle, personal preferences and geographic location into account in deciding how often to wash your sheets.[5]
    • If you take a shower before going to bed and wear fresh pajamas, you may not need to wash your sheets as frequently.
    • If you live in a place with limited water supply, it may be a good idea to avoid washing your sheets too frequently.[6]
    • If you have a very active sex life, you may want to wash your sheets more regularly.[7]
    • If you sweat a lot at night, it may be a good idea to wash your sheets more frequently.[8]
  2. 2
    Wash brand new sheets with baking soda and vinegar. Brand new sheets have chemicals added during manufacture that can prevent them from feeling soft. Detergent will lock in these chemicals and make the new sheets feel a little harsh. To avoid this problem, wash your new sheets with 1 cup of baking soda. Add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. After this first wash, you can use regular detergent. [9]
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    Remove all sheets and comforters from your bed(s). If you are washing your regular sheets (i.e., not new), you will need to remove them from your bed(s).
  4. 4
    Follow the washing instructions provided on the care label of your sheets. The care label will offer specific washing instructions based on the material and brand.[10]
  5. 5
    Avoid washing too many sheets together. If you try to wash too many sheets at once, they will not get as clean. Also, washing too much at once will strain the motor of your washing machine.[11]
  6. 6
    Place the sheets into a washing machine without other items. Only sheets and pillow cases should be washed together. Other bed linen should be washed separately from sheets.
    • Avoid washing your sheets with towels.[12] If you wash sheets with towels, you will end up with little lint balls all over your sheets. The friction from the towels will gradually wear down the sheets.[13]
    • Avoid washing your sheets with items of a different colour. If you wash your sheets with other clothing items of a different colour, you may discolour your sheets.[14]
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  7. 7
    Measure out the required amount of detergent for the size of the load. It is best to be conservative when measuring out the detergent for washing sheets.[15]
    • Avoid using too much detergent. If you want your sheets to last a long time, you should avoid excessive detergent. Loads of detergent will wear down your sheets faster.[16]
      Image titled Clean Sheets Step 3
  8. 8
    Choose the right cycle. If your sheets are very soiled, you will choose a different cycle than if your sheets are only mildly soiled. If you always choose the strongest cycle, your sheets will deteriorate faster.[17]
    • Choose sheet cycle if your machine has such a setting.
    • Avoid using hot temperatures regularly. If you want your sheets to last a long time, you should generally avoid hot temperatures. A hot cycle will wear down your sheets faster.[18]
    • Use a hot temperature setting if you had a cold recently or if the sheets are especially soiled.
      Image titled Clean Sheets Step 5
  9. Image titled Clean Sheets Step 4
    Wash your sheets. Press the start button on your washing machine to wash your sheets.
    • Add vinegar to the rinse cycle. By adding vinegar at the rinse cycle, you will get rid of any traces of detergent on the sheets.[19]
    • Use a quarter cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle to brighten your sheets. Use lemon juice instead of bleach or a whitening agent. This can make your sheets last a little longer.[20]
  10. 10
    Avoid leaving your sheets in the washer. This causes wrinkles, since the spin cycle of the washer will suck the sheets against the washer wall. Instead, take out the sheets right when they are done.[21]

Method 2
Drying Your Sheets

  1. 1
    Choose a way to dry your sheets. If it is a sunny day, you may choose to dry your sheets on the clothes line in your backyard. If it is raining or you do not have a clothes line, you may choose to use the drying machine. You will save energy by drying your sheets on the clothes line. However, the dryer gives a nice soft feel to your sheets.[22]
    • You may also choose to use a combination of clothes line and dryer. Try drying them on the clothes line and then putting them in the dryer for just a couple minutes. This way you can save energy while also getting the soft feel of sheets just out of the dryer.[23]
      Image titled Clean Sheets Step 6
  2. 2
    Dry your sheets on a clothes line. You will save energy and electricity use by using a clothes line.[24]
    • Hang white sheets in the sun and coloured sheets in the shade.[25]
    • Hang sheets from the corners rather than in the middle. This keeps them from getting damaged in the wind.
    • Wear an apron with pockets for clothespins to make the task easier. Alternately, bring a bucket of clothes pins.[26]
  3. 3
    Dry your clothes in a dryer. If you do not have access to a clothes line, you may decide to dry your clothes in a dryer.
    • Use a tennis ball tied in a cotton sock to make sure the sheets dry evenly. [27]
    • Use a lavender dryer bag. Lavender oil can help you sleep and is a natural moth repellent and antibacterial agent.[28] Fill a spray bottle with water and several drops of lavender oil. Shake the bottle to mix the oil into the water. Spray a clean washcloth with the solution and then toss the washcloth in the dryer with the wet laundry. The lavender scent will transfer to your sheets.[29]
      Image titled Clean Sheets Step 7
  4. 4
    Choose the correct setting on the dryer. Generally, it is best to choose a medium or low heat setting. This makes your sheets last longer.[30] You may also want to choose an automatic setting that tells you when your sheets are dry.
    • Use the less dry or damp alert settings to prevent over drying of cotton sheets. [31]
    • Avoid hot temperature settings. Hot temperatures will lessen the life of your sheets.[32]

Method 3
Making Your Bed and Storing Your Extra Sheets

  1. 1
    Place your sheets flat across your bed as soon as they come out of the dryer. If you place them flat across your bed while they are still warm, they will fit to the bed. Also, the sheets will look smooth and ironed, even though you have not actually ironed them.[33]
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    Remake the bed with fresh sheets. It is likely that you will get a better nights rest if you make your bed.[34]
  3. 3
    Store sheets in a cool dry place away from sunlight. You can store each set of sheets in a matching pillowcase. This will keep your drawers neat.[35]


  • Don't dump sheets on floor; they can attract fluff, spiders, fleas, etc.
  • If you enjoy soft sheets, use a softener; vinegar is an ideal addition.
  • Wash sheets every week. More frequently wastes energy and weakens the fibers, whereas less frequently increases the risk of odors and grime build up.
  • Flip mattress prior to putting sheets back on, to give it a longer life span.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheets
  • Detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Clothes line
  • Lavender
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Bedding and Mattress Care