The methods of bed sheet washing have been overlooked since we always had the convenience of dumping our sheets into washing machines. By doing so, we sacrifice the shelf life of our sheets when in fact, it is quite simple and doesn't take much effort to apply.
Wash your sheets inside-out. This is one the most common mistakes by far. Washing your bed sheets inside out reduces the friction of abrasive movement, especially if you are using washing machines. Abrasion is the one biggest contributing factor to wear/tear and pilling for all types of fabrics. Put your sheets in a laundry bag of you have access to one.
Use cold to luke-warm water. Use only necessary heat required for your cleaning. Higher temperatures are the key culprit in weakening fabric fibers over time. They also cause shrinkage to happen especially to your cotton tees. Only use warmer temperatures if you are doing heavy duty washing . For example, washing soiled bed sheets / clothes or getting rid of allergens.
Mild or delicate liquid detergents, no bleach and softeners. Harsh chemicals can damage fabric fibers and wash out colors, causing your bed sheets to fade and weaken. It is a concern that some commercial brands have also included small amounts of bleach in their regular detergents, especially those that promote brightening or color related features. Choose delicate detergents over regular ones, which is also recommended for all your other valuable clothing can help to extend the lifespan of the textile.
Gentle and shorter-cycle machine settings. Most washing machines come with presets for you to choose from. Choosing the gentlest and shorter cycle ensures that your beloved bed sheets will not face as much force, nor do they have to withstand excessive soaking.
Hang dry if possible or remove immediately after tumble drying. Some of us live in apartments where space isn't a luxury, so it is understandable that we may have to use the dryer. When hanging out to dry, keep out of sunlight as UV rays are a cause for color fades in all textiles. When tumble drying, try to remove your fabrics right before it is fully dried if possible, or right after the dryer is done. Leaving it in only causes your fabrics to wrinkle and bake in heat, losing moisture in fibers and causing them to be brittle.
In short, the four main culprits that damage your fabrics without you knowing are friction, heat, UV rays and harsh chemicals. You may not notice these with 1-2 washes but after some time, the symptoms start to be more apparent and that is how most of our fabrics wear out over time. There are definitely other contributing factors such as tossing/turning in our beds or body hair stubble on our skin brushing against our sheets.
Although wear and tear due to usage cannot be prevented, the part that comes from washing can be.
Tip: Using liquid detergents causes less abrasive action than powdered alternatives
It may sound difficult when you first read it, but the logic and science behind these washing methods are very simple. In short, no matter what type of material or clothing/sheets you are washing, you'll want to keep them out of harms way and traditional or conventional ways may not necessarily the most ideal.
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