Laundry tips: “Clever trick” for cleaning “dirty or discolored” sheets

Although most bed linens can be washed in a regular washing machine, it’s worth taking a little time to learn the best wash cycle and heat setting for each material. After all, if you’ve invested in the best bed sheets, you’ll want them to stay that way. Cotton sheets are easy to wash, just like linen, but linen tends to shrink in a hot dryer. Silk and satin bedding is a bit more temperamental and requires lower wash temperatures, slower spin cycles and specialist detergent.

James Higgins, CEO of Ethical Bedding, recommends washing sheets weekly to keep them, and you, in tip-top shape.

He said: “Keeping your sleeping environment clean is also important for your health.”

Whatever sheets you prefer to sleep under, here are some tips on how to wash them to keep them clean and fresh, in just five easy steps.

Knowing how to properly wash bed sheets should keep them looking like new and will also preserve the feeling of sleeping under them.

You can wash most sheets in your washing machine, and unless you send all your laundry to a cleaning service, it is recommended that you never buy dry-cleaned-only sheets.

Check the care label on your sheets and mentally write down any specific instructions before putting them in the drum.

Don’t overload the washing machine, if you can’t get your hand into the drum along the sheets, it’s too full, and they won’t wash properly.

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If possible, wash your sheets together, without any other clothes that might bleach.

Lily Cameron, cleaning supervisor at Fantastic Services, said: “Especially avoid mixing linens with zippered garments as they can be harmful to the more delicate linens.”

It is always worth checking sheets for stubborn stains as they are best treated before washing.

Andrew Bramley, owner of professional cleaning company Pure Freedom, recommends mixing baking soda and water into a thick paste and applying it to the moistened stained area.

He said, “Let it dry until it’s flaky. Brush off the dried paste and run the sheet through a regular wash cycle.

Adding the right amount of detergent to the wash is critical and should depend on the size of the load.

Always follow the instructions on the package regarding recommended amounts and where to put the detergent – in the drum or the detergent dispenser drawer.

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Too much detergent can lead to excessive water use and sludge buildup in your washer’s internal hoses, which can lead to damage – less is more.

The type of laundry detergent you buy usually depends on your budget and personal preference.

Laundry detergent is either organic, which means it contains enzymes, or non-organic, which does not.

Enzymes break down dirt and help remove stains, but they can cause skin irritation in people with eczema and sensitive skin.

Non-bio detergents are the best choice for babies or allergy sufferers and are generally able to clean normal amounts of dirt.

James suggested how owners can tackle “dirty or discolored leaves” using a staple.

He said: “For lightly soiled or discolored sheets, a nifty trick is to add around 50ml of lemon juice to the wash cycle.

“You’ll find sheets are shinier and fresher when they come out of the wash.”

Avoid fabric softener as it can reduce the absorbency of natural fibers and weaken the fabric, and always use a mild silk detergent on silk sheets.

It is important to check the recommended temperature on the care label of your bed sheet as some fabrics will shrink in a hot wash.

Nick Drewe, WeThrift’s home expert, recommended, “Always wash bed linens with the hottest water temperature setting listed on the care label.

“Polyester blends are best washed in warm water, while cotton can tolerate hot water.

“Hot water kills most germs and also takes care of dust mites that thrive in bedding.”

Silk bedding should be hand washed or put on a wool or delicate cycle in the machine – no hotter than 30 degrees.

After washing, sheets should be dried thoroughly.

Sheets dried outside on a clothesline are hard to beat for freshness, especially on a hot summer day.

Vicky Whiter, General Manager of Cleaners at Peters, said: “Sheets on the line should ideally be exposed to the sun and breeze, but remember that if your sheets are stained, turn them inside out to reduce the risk of fading of colors in the sun.”

Tumble dry sheets generally produce softer results and the ability to add scented sheets.

Emily Attwood, founder of Srooms, suggested: “Go for a low heat setting on any fabric and consider adding dryer balls.

“They will help dry your bedding faster and more efficiently by creating air spaces to allow more air to circulate around your laundry.

“Dryer balls also agitate the fibers in your sheets, making them softer and more comfortable.”

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