Find out, once and for all, if you really need to run your linens through the washing machine before you make up a fresh bed.
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Woman making bed with new bedding

After you grab a new set of sheets from the store, there's only one major thing left to do: Make your bed. There's a catch, though. Even though your brand-new bedding has never been used, you may want to think twice before smoothing them across your mattress; doing so could impact your health. Here, experts explain why washing your new sheets before you sleep on them is always the right call.

Why You Should Always Wash New Sheets

Is it truly necessary to wash your new sheets before you use them? According to the experts, yes, it absolutely is. "This way, you remove the dust and dirt they may have accumulated while in the factory or on the shelf at the store," explains Christian Alexander, the president and CEO of Nest Bedding. Plus, Mark and Ben McLean, sheet experts and the founders of Benji Sleep, note that these allergens can cause skin irritation, so you'll want to clean them to avoid any potential health concerns.

How to Wash New Sheets

When washing your new sheets for the first time, Alexander recommends reading the manufacturer's instructions. Since different materials will require different care, this can help make sure your sheets are getting clean the right way (especially since some varieties are hand-wash or dry clean only). If there aren't steps outlined for you to follow, wash your sheets in the hottest water possible, as this will kill lingering bacteria and germs. Wash them in warm water, however, if the fabric is particularly bright; this way, the color will stay vibrant.

You'll also want to wash the sheets separately from other items in your laundry load, since the long fabric can become bunched in the washing machine; tossing them in with other items, like towels, might not result in the best possible clean. Alexander suggests looking to your new sheets' materials, too, since some sets require certain detergents.

How to Dry New Sheets

The drying process is pretty simple: Toss sheets into the dryer as soon as the wash cycle finishes to avoid mold growth or odor. Alexander suggests medium or low settings; lower heat will preserve their quality. If you like to air-dry your laundry, and if the manufacturer's instructions allow for this, he says you can line dry your fresh sheets in the sun to get them extra bright and crisp to the touch.

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