Imagine being slept on, sweat on, soaked in chemicals and thrown into a hot dryer. Doesn’t sound pretty, huh? Well, such is the life of our bedding. But caring for it properly doesn’t have to be so bad. Whether you’re a culprit of overwashing or underwashing, you’re probably unknowingly damaging your bedding in some way. So we’ve gathered the number one bedding mistakes and how to fix them. After all, we spend more than a third of our lives in bed – better learn how to treat our sheets!
Using harsh detergents. Think of your bedding as a soft, gentle creature. Would you cover that in bleaching agents and harsh powders? Didn’t think so. Your bedding doesn’t get as dirty as your clothes, so it needs way less detergent than you probably think. A gentle detergent for sensitive skin (or even for babies!) won’t strip your sheets of their natural fibers.
Washing and drying sheets with towels. They may live together in the linen closet, but towels and sheets don’t get along well in the wash. Towels produce a lot of lint, which can easily stick to your sheets and be quite difficult to get off. They also create friction, which reduces your bedding’s lifespan.
Skipping the duvet cover. It seems like a no-brainer, but plenty of people leave the duvet cover out when they wash their sheets. Just do yourself a favor and throw it into the mix. Your sheets and duvet get equal amounts of use, which means they’re covered in equal amounts of grime.
Using water that’s too hot. Lots of sheets are made from cotton. And if the cotton is 100% real, they’ll shrink in a super hot washer and dryer. So keep the heat to a reasonable temp unless you want your queen-sized bedding to be a better fit for a twin-sized mattress.
Overwashing. Believe it or not, you can wash your sheets too often. But eliminating a wash or two can prolong your bedding’s lifespan. Though it’s definitely more common to have the opposite problem, if you do find yourself stripping the bed more than once a week, consider cleaning yourself instead. Switch your shower routine from morning to night so you can treat your sheets to a clean body.
DIRT & ALLERGEN MISTAKES
Inviting dust mites into bed like it’s a slumber party. Dust mites are just as attracted to the soft, supple cushions of your bed as you are. These critters are the culprits behind issues like acne, allergies, and chronic sinus problems, so minimizing their population is important. Though regular washing helps, there are a lot of factors that welcome dust mites, like humid air, warm temperatures, and dust. Consider using bedding protectors like mattress pads, and pillowcase and duvet protectors to help keep pesky mites at bay.
Letting Fluffy sleep under the covers. We know you love your furry friends, but they can cause a lot of damage in the bedroom. The fur and skin cells they shed are dust mite bait and those long-nailed, dirty paws, definitely do not help. Do yourself and your bedding a favor and make the pets sleep in their own beds, especially if you have claw-friendly cats.
Placing dirty items on your bed. You come home from work and toss your phone and bag on the bed, right? WRONG. Think of all the oils, germs and dirt those items pick up throughout the day. Isn’t that the same purse you set on the bathroom floor earlier? Things like luggage, handbags, unlaundered clothes, and even smartphones should never sit on clean bedding.
Skipping the bed-making. Mom may not be around to hassle you anymore, but she was definitely right about making the bed. Not only does it help you start the day with a fresh mind, but it helps keep dust mites out and your bedding in better shape.
RELATED STORY: How to Make Your Bed
STORAGE & UPKEEP MISTAKES
Storing your spares in the wrong places. Linens belong in the linen closet, not plastic containers or–god forbid–cardboard boxes. Plastic bins trap moisture, creating mold and mildew while cardboard can transfer acids to fabrics. Natural fibers like cotton need air to breathe so a cool, dry, and well-ventilated closet or dresser is ideal.
Folding damp linens or not folding at all. Folding linens while they’re still wet can ruin their shape, coloring and bring about mildew. And simply stuffing your sheets in a drawer or closet without a semblance of a fold is an obvious no.
Hanging onto the same bedding for decades. Unfortunately, bedding isn’t made to last forever. Especially when your habits are hurting it. But regardless of the care you give your bedclothes, they need to be replaced eventually. Check sheets and duvet covers for signs of aging, like stains, pilling and frays. Pillowcases should be swapped about every six months since they take the most heat from skin, hair, makeup, and dirt. Duvets and pillows can wait a little longer. Replace those when they start to lose their fluff.