Knowing how to care for fine bed linens is essential for keeping them soft and beautiful over time. Here at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials, we understand that luxury sheet sets, pillow shams, and your duvet cover are an investment, and you want to make them last. With proper care and washing, your bed linens will stay luxurious for years to come. The experts at Heritage Park have prepared this guide to share all you need to know about caring for your cotton, bamboo, or microfiber linens:
- First wash and sorting
- Choosing the proper detergent
- Washing and drying gently
- Avoiding harsh detergents and chemicals that harm bed sheet fibers
- Ironing and storage guidelines
The First Wash of your Bedding
When you unbox your linens, read and follow the care directions. Always wash new linens before using them for the first time. Fine fabrics are generally not pre-washed, so this initial wash is important for setting the threads, preserving the fabric's beauty, and prolonging its life. Be sure to fully unfold items, set the machine to include a cold pre-soak, and use minimal liquid detergent. Line dry or tumble dry on low heat. Remember that natural fibers will wrinkle and ironing may be required, depending upon your preferences.
Sorting Your Linens Before Washing
Separate linens into light and dark colors. Wash matching linens (e.g. sheets and pillowcases) together, as each piece should be cared for similarly regardless of whether or not it is soiled (or even used) to help maintain color consistency and brightness. Many people sleep on top of a fitted sheet and directly under a comforter or duvet; unless your bed linen is white, you should wash the flat sheet as well to keep consistent color and wear Don't launder fine linen with your mattress pad; bath towels; items containing polyester; items made of heavy materials; or items with rivets, buttons, zippers, or other adornments. These can damage fibers and fabric.
Choosing a Laundry Detergent
Choosing the proper detergent can dramatically extend the life and performance of your linens. Harsh, chemical-filled grocery store brand detergents can be full of ingredients that can damage and weaken fibers over time. For cotton, bamboo, microfiber and blended material sheets and bedding, we recommend our original formula Heritage Park Luxury All-Purpose Detergent. This all-purpose gentle detergent is a pH neutral formula specially made with powerful enzymes that will clean and remove tough stains without damaging the fabric. It's concentrated, so a little is all you need to keep your linens clean and looking beautiful.
For silk, wool, cashmere, and other similar fabrics, our Luxury Silk and Wool Detergent is specially formulated without enzymes that can damage these types of materials. For this product, we've replaced the enzymes with cleaning ingredients meant for protein-based fabrics to keep your items looking and feeling amazing.
Washing and Drying
Pre-treat stains prior to washing. Never pour the detergent directly onto the fabric; instead, add it to the water as the wash tub fills, or dilute detergent with water and then add linens. Don't overload the washing machine, as this can cause unnecessary abrasion to the fabric. Wash linens on a gentle cycle in warm water, with a cold-water rinse. If possible, dry cotton, bamboo and microfiber linens on a line in soft outdoor sunlight, which is gentle on fabric and provides natural “bleaching.”
If using a dryer, gently shake out and smooth damp linens before placing it in the dryer. Be sure to unravel any items that may have twisted in the wash cycle. You may want to consider drying fitted sheets and duvet covers separately, as pillowcases often get “balled up” inside those items and don't dry thoroughly. Be sure not to overload the dryer, and set it to lowest heat to protect against shrinkage and weakening of natural fibers. Remove items from the dryer while still slightly damp; smooth and let air dry before storing, or press with an iron while damp to remove any remaining wrinkles.
Avoiding Harmful Chemicals
Many seemingly innocuous products -- even those that claim to clean, brighten, or soften linens -- can do serious damage to fine bedding. Don't use fabric softener, which coats and weakens natural fibers. Your linens will soften naturally with frequent use and additional washings. Don't use chlorine bleach with any fine linens, as it also weakens natural fibers and may cause them to yellow. If fabrics need bleaching, use an oxygen-based bleach.
Finally, don't use a dryer sheet or fabric softener with any fine linens, as they coat and weaken natural fibers.
Iron with Care
If you prefer not to iron, make up the bed immediately to minimize wrinkles. When it comes to cotton sheets, sateen sheets may require less ironing than percale sheets, which tend to wrinkle more easily. Bamboo sheets can also be ironed, but should smooth out nicely if you put on the bed immediately after drying. Linen sheets should be ironed while still slightly damp. If you opt to iron, be sure to follow all manufacturer directions and these simple guidelines:
- Iron while sheets are still slightly damp
- Use a steam iron on recommended setting
- Embroidered linens should be ironed on the reverse side using a white terry towel until smooth but not dry
- Sateen and Jacquard linens should be ironed on the reverse side.
- Delicate lace should be ironed beneath a press cloth.
- Touch-up bed skirts by smoothing with a hand-held steamer.
Fold and stack clean linens and store them in a dry linen cabinet. If humidity is an issue, use a moisture absorber such as Damp Rid or Arm & Hammer Moisture and Odor Eliminator. If possible, avoid storing bed linens in the bathroom, as the damp environment of shower steam can cause them to become musty smelling. Consider placing cedar blocks in your linen closet as a natural moth repellent.
Heritage Park Laundry Essentials
At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store with any product feedback or cleaning questions.If you'd like to learn how to care for bath and beach towels, check out our blog here.