How to Wash Sheets: The Ultimate Guide (Cotton, Linen, Silk, and More)

Sauce Your Sheets

Ideally, you should wash your bedsheets every week. First, check the care label on your sheets. Wash them in cool or lukewarm water with two laundry detergent pods and dry them on low heat to preserve the fabric’s integrity.


Considering you spend a whopping 33% of your life in bed, keeping your sheets clean should be at the top of your to-do list. 

Every night, your sheets and pillowcases collect skin flakes, bodily fluids, dust, and (if you let your furry friend into bed) pet hair. Even if you shower right before bed, dirt, oil, and sweat still build up on your sheets while you sleep.

Not washing your sheets regularly can lead to skin irritation, acne breakouts, allergies, dust mites, and nasty smells. But it’s not just how often you wash your sheets that matters—it’s the method you use.

In this article, we’ll teach you exactly how to wash any type of sheets to keep them clean and make them smell amazing.

How to Wash Sheets

Follow these five steps next time you wash your sheets.

1. Check the Care Label On Your Sheets

Before you can wash your sheets, you need to know what they’re made of. Always read the care instructions to figure out what type of fabric it is and how to wash it to avoid damage. 

The most common materials for bedsheets are cotton, Egyptian cotton, or a cotton-polyester blend, all of which are quite durable. However, sheets can also be made of silk, linen, or bamboo—these materials may need a little extra TLC.

2. Pre-Treat Stains

If you have any noticeable stains on your sheets, it’s best to treat them before you run them through the wash cycle, otherwise the stains might set.

You can use a spot remover to lift stains from food, dirt, and makeup. Alternatively, you can scrub the stain with a bit of dish soap.

For tougher stains like blood, coffee, or wine (we’re not above sipping a glass in bed), you may need to soak the area with a stronger stain remover like OxiClean. 

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3. Add Your Laundry Detergent

Always add your laundry detergent into the washer before adding your sheets. This ensures even distribution of the detergent and prevents the pods from getting trapped between the sheets, which could lead to uneven cleaning.

When washing sheets, laundry pods offer two advantages over liquid laundry detergent:

  • Laundry pods are pre-measured, so you don't have to worry about using too much or too little detergent.
  • Laundry pods are mess-free, so you won’t risk spills or drips

Pro tip: Wash your sheets separately from the rest of your laundry, including clothes, towels, and comforters. Overcrowding your washing machine makes it harder for the sheets to circulate and get fully cleansed. 


4. Choose the Right Water Temperature

Most of the time, it’s best to wash your sheets in cool or lukewarm water. This will help preserve the integrity of the fabric and prevent colors from fading. 

Cool water is gentler on fabrics, which is particularly important for delicate or high-quality sheets. On the other hand, hot water can shrink or damage certain fabrics.

Additionally, washing sheets in cold water is more energy-efficient, as it requires less electricity to heat the water. That’s a win-win for your bank account and the planet.

However, if you need to remove stains, washing with warm water can lift stains more efficiently. Washing sheets in hot water isn’t necessary unless you need to sanitize them due to allergies or an illness.

5. Dry the Sheets on Low Heat

Drying your bed sheets on a low or medium heat setting will prevent shrinkage and protect the fabric from heat damage, which can make sheets rough and fragile. If your dryer has a gentle cycle, use that.

Pro tip: Add a dryer sheet or wool dryer balls to prevent static cling and wrinkles when your sheets come out of the dryer.

Alternatively, you can air dry your sheets outside on a clothesline. The UV rays from direct sunlight are a natural disinfectant which also eliminates tough odors.

How to Wash Cotton Sheets

Water temperature: Cool or lukewarm

Cycle: Normal, regular, casual

Detergent: Mild detergent

Drying: Air dry or low heat

How to Wash Linen Sheets

Water temperature: Cool or lukewarm

Cycle: Normal, regular, casual

Detergent: Mild detergent

Drying: Air dry or low heat

How to Wash Polyester Blend Sheets

Water temperature: Lukewarm or warm

Cycle: Normal, regular, casual

Detergent: Mild detergent

Drying: Air dry or low heat

How to Wash Silk and Satin Sheets

Water temperature: Cold or cool

Cycle: Gentle or delicate

Detergent: Mild detergent

Drying: Air dry or low heat

How to Wash Bamboo Sheets

Water temperature: Cold or cool

Cycle: Gentle or delicate

Detergent: Mild detergent

Drying: Air dry or low heat

How Often Should You Wash Bed Sheets?

Ideally, you should wash your sheets every week. Think about it: You probably spend 6-8 hours every night in bed, which is plenty of time for sweat, bodily fluids, hair, and dead skin cells to accumulate on your sheets. 

You wouldn't wear the same shirt for more than a week straight without washing it, so why treat your sheets any differently?

If weekly sheet washing seems like a lot, you’re not alone. According to one survey, 44% of American adults wash their sheets once or twice a month, and 11% wash their sheets just once a quarter.

If you prefer to do laundry less often, have another set of sheets handy so you can at least change them weekly.

Can You Use Fabric Softener On Sheets?

It’s best to avoid using fabric softener on bed sheets, or use it sparingly. Liquid fabric softeners leave a coating on sheets that can reduce their breathability and absorbency. 

If you want to fluff your sheets and reduce wrinkles, toss a few wool dryer balls before you start your dry cycle.

Make Your Sheets Smell Sexy with Laundry Sauce

Whether you want to spice things up for date night or just want to fall asleep in pure luxury every night, Laundry Sauce is the cheat code for seductive-smelling sheets. We collaborated with top perfumers to infuse our laundry pods with sophisticated scents like Australian Sandalwood, Egyptian Rose, Indonesian Patchouli, Siberian Pine, and French Saffron.

These fragrances are designed to last 1-2 weeks, so your sheets will smell incredible between laundry days.

Not sure which scent suits your bedroom best? Take this quiz and we’ll tell you!

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