AREA bedding lasts a long time, but it’s life can be extended even more by caring for it correctly.
The first thing to do is spot clean each item before running it through a wash cycle. Once a stain has been heat set, there is no chance of removing it from the fabric. Oil stains from skin care products are very common on bed linens. The best thing to do is use a de-greasing agent like dish soap with a bit of water to remove the stain.
Once you’re ready to load the machine, make sure you are not mixing your linens with any clothing that has zippers or sharp metal components that could damage the sheets. It’s best to use a biodegradable detergent as it is gentle, giving your sheets a long life as well as better for the environment. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are not necessary and will actually do more harm than good. Fabric softeners work by breaking down fibers, which means the fabric won’t hold up for very long. Dryer sheets attract lint, which will rub against your linens and cause pilling. Never use bleach. Ever.
A good rule of thumb for setting the temperature is dark colors on cold and light colors on warm. These days there is really no need to use hot water since the detergents are so powerful. Better to be nicer to the environment and use less heat when possible.
Air-drying is always preferred for the life span of your linens, but often that is not an option. Here in NYC it’s a bit difficult to air-dry our sheets, so we’ve had to make due with the dryer. Linen sheets can feel stiff when air dried but get softer with ironing or in the actual dryer. Linen drys 3 times faster than cotton, so make sure to keep your dryer on its lowest heat setting. Most important is to not use a hot dryer, delicate or low-medium heat and not for to long, sheets should come out before they are over dry. This is very important as over drying will cause wrinkles as well as break down the fibers over time (especially important for linen that gets stiffer and more wrinkled if over dried). If the dryer is too full they will dry unevenly better to do it twice in batches rather than stuffing the dryer. Cleaning the lint filter is a must, if lint is still prevalent it can get caught on the fibers and create pilling on more delicate surfaces and or soft cotton blankets. Take out your sheets when they are still just damp and lay them out on a drying rack or the bed. Once the sheets are totally dry stretch out your linens and fold neatly. This is best done with another person, you will be amazed at how effective stretching the fabric taught will be for linen’s tendency to wrinkle. You won’t need to iron one bit.
Ironing is not necessary but it will soften your linen and can be quite therapeutic once you get into the rhythm. If you don’t have the time but still want the polished look, just iron the pillowcases.
The best way to keep wool and other blankets fresh is to air them outside or in an open window. If this is done frequently, washing does not have to be too often. Wool can safely be washed by hand in low temperatures. Rinse well, squeeze out excess water and dry flat. Pressing with a hot iron and a damp cloth between the iron and your wool can make it look like new.
Pillow inserts can be protected by using double pillowcases or a pillow protector case. This really helps with keeping the pillows fresh longer.