Beyond the Bed: How to Wash Your Sheets and More

clean bed sheetsDo you know the last time you washed your sheets and pillowcases? If you had to think about it, then it’s probably been too long. Ideally, sheets and pillowcases should be washed on a weekly basis, but not everyone heeds this housekeeping rule.

What’s more is that many people don’t know how to properly wash their bedclothes and accessories. Well, we’re here to set the record straight. Read on to learn the right way to clean your bedding so that you can have exceptionally sweet dreams.

How to Wash Your Sheets and Pillowcases

If you’re like many people, you toss your sheets in the washer with your towels. Bedding experts say that’s a major faux pas because towels have a nasty habit of producing lint, which can stick to your sheets. That doesn’t exactly make for smooth sleeping.

To get softer linens and extend the lifespan of your bedding, wash sheets and pillowcases by themselves. Additionally, use a very gentle detergent and warm water (rather than scalding hot). The latter will prevent your sheets from shrinking too much.

How to Wash Your Duvet Covers and Comforters

In a perfect world, duvet covers and comforters would be cleaned as often as your sheets. However, these covers are usually bulky and require a trip to the laundromat or dry cleaner.

Aim to clean duvet covers and comforters at least once every month or two, unless you sleep with no top sheet. In that case, you’ll want to clean them as close to weekly as you can.

If your duvet cover will fit in a washer, that’s great. Read the tag first to ensure that it’s machine washable and follow any washing instructions. Duvet covers that have been soiled or stained will need to be soaked in cold water before washing. Naturally, you’ll need a large basin to accommodate the cover, and a clean bathtub will serve the purpose nicely. Let the duvet cover soak for at least an hour. Wring it out as much as possible before transferring it to the washing machine.

As with your sheets, you’ll want to wash duvet covers without any towel companions. And be careful to evenly distribute the cover in your washing machine so that the weight of the fabric doesn’t knock the washer off balance. Keep an ear out for that awful knocking sound that serves as warning that you need to stop the washer and redistribute the duvet cover.

Unless you’re lucky enough to own an industrial-sized washing machine, your comforter will need to be taken to the laundromat or the dry cleaner. Check the tag to determine which, and follow all cleaning instructions to the letter so that your comforter lasts a long, long time.

How to Wash Your Pillows

Pillows are stuffed with a variety of different materials. The stuffing will determine how to wash your pillows. You should wash your pillows at least once or twice a year.

Down and fiber pillows

These types of pillows can be cleaned in a washing machine. Before washing your down or fiber pillows, check the cleaning instructions and follow the directions. If there are no instructions, wash your pillows on the gentle cycle with the same gentle detergent you used to clean your sheets. As with your sheets, warm water is better than hot.

You’ll want to let the pillows take an extra rinse cycle or two to ensure all the detergent gets out. Additionally, overloading the washer can knock it off balance, so don’t wash more than two pillows at one time. And don’t wring out down pillows. You’ll damage the feathers inside.

You can dry the pillows in your dryer on low heat. Toss a couple of tennis balls into the dryer to keep pillows fluffy.

Foam pillows

Foam pillows and the washing machine don’t mix, so you’ll have to hand wash these. However, foam pillows typically have cloth covers that you can unzip. Those can be washed after you remove the foam.

If your foam pillows are stained or soiled, you can spot clean the foam with a damp cloth. You’ll need to let the pillows dry completely before returning them to the bed so they don’t mold. Otherwise, you can use a handheld vacuum to clean the foam. Don’t vacuum the foam while the pillow is wet, as it’s not safe and can tear the pillow.

To clean the pillow covers, follow the cleaning instructions on the tag. If there are none, you can follow the above directions for washing sheets and pillowcases.

If you have specialty pillows—like a water pillow or a pillow stuffed with buckwheat—you’ll need to check your manufacturer’s instructions for washing.

How to Wash Your Mattress Pad

Mattress pads are also made from a wide range of materials, and should be cleaned every three months or so. Here again, the steps you take to clean your mattress pad will depend on what it’s made of. Below you’ll find instructions on how to clean three common types of mattress pads.

Cotton and vinyl-backed mattress pads

Both of these mattress pads can be cleaned in the washing machine. Before you get started, check to see if there are any cleaning instructions on the tag. Typically, you can wash these mattress pads just as you would your sheets, but with even cooler water. Use a gentle detergent for this bedding, and dry it at the temperature recommended on the tag. You can toss a few tennis balls into the dryer with your mattress pad to keep it from getting lumpy.

Down mattress pads

Down mattress pads are washed very similarly to cotton and vinyl-backed mattress pads. However, you’ll want to check your down comforter for holes before washing. Additionally, these comforters should be washed on the delicate cycle in cool water with gentle cleaner or specialized down cleaner. Down mattress pads should be rinsed twice to make sure all the detergent gets out of the feathers.

These comforters should be dried on the lowest heat setting, and you can also throw a few tennis balls into the dryer to revitalize the fluff of the feathers.

Now that you know how to properly clean all of your bedding, you might be in the mood to completely clean your bedroom. You’re in luck; Merry Maids has a bedroom cleaning checklist that can help you get the job done quickly.