For most of us, it is really hard to resist sleeping on a brand new bed sheet. After all, that brand new sheet appears so crisp, clean, and ready for the most comfortable slumber. But did you know that a newly manufactured bed sheet may be laden with microscopic dirt, foreign matter, and other harmful toxic chemicals? Some fabrics also get softer with subsequent washes, thus ensuring a safe and comfortable sleep.
Washing brand-new sheets may be a personal choice. However, it helps you get rid of textile chemicals, starch, germs, and other materials that may have accumulated during the manufacturing and handling process. For dyed bed sheets and users who are of sensitive skin types, they should definitely consider washing sheets before using them for the first time.
Most people would not notice any substantial effect when they skip washing new bedsheets. However, bedsheets are typically produced in factories where a large number of workers handle and contaminate new bedsheets. Therefore, most experts recommend washing sheets (sometimes even twice!) before using them for the first time. Read this guide to learn why and how you should wash new sheets.
Why Should You Wash Brand New Sheets?
If one thing we have learned from the recent pandemic, it is probably that we should disinfect and sanitize all the things that we come in direct contact with. Once a bedsheet is manufactured, it is usually kept in the warehouses or on the shelves of a store, where dust may accumulate over time. Some low-quality ones may even have allergens on them.
Even during the manufacturing process, textile chemicals and starches used to manufacture the bed sheets behave as irritants. When these substances eventually come in contact with the skin, they irritate, increase sensitivity, and may also impact your health in the long run. Substances like Formaldehyde, AZO dyes, butane, propane, and parathion are some of the most common chemicals found on newly manufactured bed sheets that are not considered safe for our well-being. If you are sensitive skin type, you should definitely consider washing new sheets before use.
Washing the sheets also relaxes the fabric so that they do not feel gummy or scratchy to the skin.
How Should You Wash New Sheets?
When you are washing a brand new bed sheet, it is best to read the manufacturer's instructions printed on the tag. Washing care will depend on the type of material or fabric used. While some bed sheets should be washed in hot water, others specifically require cold water treatments, especially when you are washing them for the first time. For instance, if the bedsheet has bright or dark colors, a cold water wash may be required to keep the vibrancy of the bedsheet intact. Cotton sheets may be washed in warm water.
Washing new sheets in hot water would ensure that all the bacteria and germs are killed off. All new sheets should be washed separately. Washing them with other towels or blankets may not result in the best cleaning.
To ensure that your new bed sheet is properly washed, here are some easy steps to follow:
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar (Pre-Wash)
For a natural, thorough, and deep clean, make a mixture of a cup of baking soda and a half a cup of vinegar. Spread the mixture evenly on the bed sheet or soak the sheet in the mixture for about an hour. The mixture will help strip off all sorts of dirt and allergens. It will also soften the bedsheet by removing starches and other chemicals used during the manufacturing process. If you are machine washing, you can directly add one cup of washing soda at the initial washing stages.
If you are using a high-quality organic or natural bed sheet, you may skip using any detergent as the latter may actually reintroduce harmful chemicals onto the sheets. However, if you need to use a laundry detergent, here are some of the safe options:
- Ecos Hypoallergenic 2X Laundry Detergent
- Persil Pro Clean Laundry Detergent
- Method Liquid Biodegradable Laundry Detergent
When using a laundry detergent, run a quick wash cycle and move on to the next step.
In this step, just thoroughly wash the sheet in warm water. Rinse 2-3 times for complete cleaning.
Use A Fabric Softener
Right before you give a final rinse, dip the washed bed sheet in a good-quality fabric softener. A fabric softener has multiple benefits, including color protection, less wrinkling, and reduced drying time. It also makes ironing easier. Use a fragrant fabric softener to remove any bad odor.
You may also use dryer sheets instead, as the process will not only leave the bedsheet smelling great but will also reduce static.
Iron The Sheets
To make sure that the sheets look as good as new, you may iron them at the lowest heat setting before laying them on your bed. Ironing will also help eliminate any creases and wrinkles. It is best to read manufacturer guidelines before ironing the sheets. Some sheets, such as high-quality silk and percale cotton, may not need ironing.
How Many Times Should You Wash New Sheets?
If you are buying a bed sheet from a brand of repute, it is more than enough to wash your bed sheet once before using it for the first time. After usage, bed sheets may be washed once a week or whenever it gets soiled.
Some Additional Tips On How Should You Wash New Sheets
- The process of drying new bedsheets is very important as it not only ensures a clean and fresh look, but it also removes any odor. To avoid shrinkage and fading, you can hang dry or tumble dry.
If you prefer using a dryer instead, then dry the bed sheet immediately once the wash cycle finishes. This will prevent the development of molds and odor. If it is written in the manufacturer's instructions, you may even air dry the fresh sheets under the sun.
- Heat Settings – Medium-to-low or low heat settings is always preferable to preserve the quality of your new bed sheet. Exposure to high heat may damage the fibers of the fabric and can also fade, stretch, or shrink your new bed sheet.
- For luxury sheets (such as those made of silk, percale, or organic cotton), you should wash in a cold and gentler setting.
- Always wash your new sheets separately from other laundry. This will prevent the tangling and transfer of colors.
Ensure that you wash different colored bed sheets separately. If you are washing many bed sheets at the same time, you may also use a separate laundry bag for each bedsheet.
- Some bed sheet fabrics, such as bamboo fiber or silk, are recommended to be washed with only certain recommended (and mild) laundry detergents.
- Do not forget to wash the pillowcases and other bedding when you are washing new sheets.
- Never mix dyed garments with bedsheets.
- Any bed sheet that comes with a tag written 'Dry Clean Only' or has specific manufacturing guidelines, such items should not be washed or dyed but sent for dry cleaning instead.
- When washing bed sheets, try using a formula that is hypoallergenic and made of toxin-free detergent. These detergents will not only prevent skin irritation but are also safe for the environment.
Even when you provide the best care, your favorite bed sheet is likely to wear and tear over time. Of course, linen or silk bed sheets, or those which have a thread count of 400 or higher, will last longer than other fabrics. In any case, it is best practice to replace your bed sheet after every 2 to 3 years.
Feruza is a mom and a blogger. She had a neck pain for 15 years, which made her interested in everything about pillows.
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