The Best Ways to Wash All Your Bed Sheets by Fabric Type
Rest easy knowing you've taken good care of your favorite linens.
Putting fresh, clean sheets on your bed practically guarantees a good night's sleep. That's why washing and drying your sheets properly is essential. But not every fabric is cleaned in the same way—some require a bit more attention than others. Check out our tips below for how to take care of your bed coverings so they last a long time.
"To preserve the integrity of cotton sheets, we never recommend washing them in hot water," says Taylor Batlin, brand director for the luxury linen company, Bella Notte. Wash sheets in cold water and on the gentle cycle instead. When it's time to dry them, avoid the temptation to hit "high heat"—your sheets will stay in better shape when dried on a lower setting.
If it were up to Batlin, all linen sheets would be washed in nontoxic, biodegradable, and allergy-free detergent rather than the detergent you use to wash all your other laundry. "Delicate detergents preserve color while removing stains," she says. "Always be mindful to avoid bleach or detergents with whiteners or brighteners since they break down fibers." Using cold water and the gentle cycle are again your best bets. Since linen dries so quickly, remove sheets from the dryer when they're minimally damp and air-dry until they're done. This way, you don't risk over-drying, which could damage the integrity of the fibers, says Batlin.
Wash silk sheets by hand the first few times you launder them to protect the fabric's sheen and soften fibers. When you eventually wash them in the machine, use cold water on the gentle cycle. "Washing your silk sheeting on its own is a good idea," says Batlin. "When washing all sheeting, especially silk, avoid overloading your machine or washing with clothing, especially those with zippers or hooks. To maintain the luminous quality of your silk sheets, she recommends setting your dryer to no heat or line drying—heat from the dryer can weaken the fibers, diminish the sheen, and accelerate wear.
If you love the feel of soft satin sheets on your bed but think they're too much work to maintain, you'll be glad to know satin sheets are machine washable. "We love that you can forgo the hassle and harsh chemicals of dry-cleaning and wash satin sheets at home," says Batlin. Washing in cold water on the gentle cycle with a delicate detergent is ideal for satin, too. Similar to silk, to maintain the sheen and beauty of your satin sheets, set the dryer to no heat or line dry.
This renewable wood-based fiber is most typically sourced from eucalyptus, spruce, pine, birch, and beech wood from sustainably managed farms. Batlin describes it as a "strong yet smooth fabric." Wash sheets made from Tencel in cold water on the gentle cycle.