Five ‘common mistakes’ to avoid when washing bedding

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Having fresh, clean sheets is part of maintaining good hygiene and without regular cleaning, dirty bedding can contribute to allergies, skin breakouts and asthma. Deyan Dimitrov, laundry expert and CEO of Laundryheap has shared the five “bad habits” people make when cleaning their bed sheets, as well as how to avoid making them.

1. Only washing sheets when they are visibly dirty

The laundry expert explained: “Unfortunately, people don’t wash their sheets as regularly as they let on, some even wash them every four months. 

“Waiting until your sheets are visibly dirty can allow for germs, sweat and dirt to build over time, which doesn’t only affect the condition of your sheets, but isn’t great for health either.

“As a rule of thumb, make sure to wash your sheets every two weeks to keep them in peak condition.”

If on a busy schedule, Britons could schedule their laundry with a professional service. 

2. Avoid adding too much detergent

There is a common misconception that adding more detergent will help to make dirty bed sheets squeaky clean.

The expert said: “However, this laundry mistake can do far more harm than good, especially to your sheets.

“Not only can too much detergent stain your sheets (especially if they’re white), but it can also wear down their fibres, eventually causing holes and tears.

“Instead of detergent, I would recommend using half a cup of baking soda and vinegar to wash your bedsheets.”

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Using a combination of baking soda and white vinegar will result in “silky and soft” bedding until the next time you wash them.

3. Washing bedding with clothes and towels

It can often be convenient to add some clothing items along with bedding to prevent running the washing machine too many times.

Some may also add a few towels with bedding to speed up the drying time as they can help to take out the moisture while in the machine.

However, it is best to avoid this if possible because every material has a different washing process, needing enough room to rinse and dry properly.

Deyan added: “Adding different fabrics into this cycle can create added friction, wearing down your sheets or causing bobbling. Equally, zippers or buttons could get snagged and cause tearing. 

“It’s best to run cycles specifically for your sheets (your machine may even have a specific setting for this!), to give them enough time (and room) to be washed properly.”

4. Over drying sheets

Some Britons may opt to put bedding into tumble dryers because it can be very hard to dry fully any other way, especially during the winter months.

However, keeping them in the machine for too long can cause more harm than good, according to the laundry expert.

He said: “Keeping them inside your tumble dryer for too long (or even on top of your dryer to warm them up again), can shrink your sheets.

“To avoid uncomfortable bed sheets getting in the way of good sleep, dry your sheets naturally on a drying line or rack, preferably outside for an even fresher smell, for longevity and better results.”

If any stains remain on any bedding, the sun also acts as a natural bleach and can help to banish any unwanted marks, but this is incredibly hard to do during the winter months.

5. Not checking labels

Deyan noted: “Whilst this one may seem obvious, people often don’t check the labels of their sheets and just assume that they require the same cycle as their towels or clothes.

“This often isn’t the case for sheets, as each type of material has different washing requirements.”

Cotton sheets are best washed at lower temperature compared to others, and certain fabrics should be ironed or be put into the tumble dryer, which is why it is important to take a look at the care guide.

Silk bedding is a material which needs extra care and often needs to be washed on a low heat, with some pillowcases requiring hand washing only.

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