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How to Care for Fine Sheets and Bed Linens

How to Care for Fine Sheets and Bed Linens

With proper care, your bed sheets will look and feel beautiful for a long time. This article outlines care instructions for your luxury sheets and bedding to make these items last.

Proper Care Will Keep Your Bedding Beautiful

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. 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 washing sheets and general care for your cotton, bamboo, or microfiber linens.

The First Wash of Your Bedding

When you unbox your linens, read and follow the care directions. Always wash new sheets 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.

stack of bedding sheets on table

Sorting Your Linens Before Washing

Separate linens into light and dark colors. Wash matching linens (e.g. sheets and pillowcases) together, as each piece of a sheet set 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 the Best 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 All-Purpose Laundry 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.

Silk sheets are a natural fiber and require different care. For silk, wool, cashmere, and other similar fabrics, our Silk and Wool Laundry Detergent is specially formulated without enzymes that can damage these types of materials. For this mild detergent, we've replaced the enzymes with cleaning ingredients meant for protein-based fabrics to keep your items looking and feeling amazing.

Heritage Park: Safe for Your Fine Linens and Your Family

Choosing a detergent that is safe for your fine linens is super important. But even more important is choosing a detergent that is safe for your family; after all, your bedding comes in direct contact with your family's skin! 

At Heritage Park, we've taken great care to make our small-batch detergent with thoughtfully sourced natural and naturally derived plant-based ingredients. We are committed to transparency and adhere to strict protocols and stewardship guidelines. You can read and learn more about our short list of ingredients here. We also take pride in what is NOT in our laundry detergents, including dyes, sulfates, chlorine, bleach, and brighteners, all of which can irritate skin. Our fragrance-free formulas are also hypoallergenic and pediatrician- and dermatologist tested, and have been Leaping Bunny approved as never being tested on animals.

Avoiding Other Harmful Laundry 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.

Simple Steps for Washing and Drying

  1. Pre-treat stains on dirty sheets prior to washing. You can use our enzyme detergent to soak a stain before washing.
  2. 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.
  3. Don't overload the washing machine, as this can cause unnecessary abrasion to the fabric.
  4. Wash sheets on a gentle cycle in warm water, with a cold-water rinse.
  5. If possible, dry cotton, bamboo and microfiber linens on a line in soft outdoor sunlight, which is gentle on fabric and provides natural “bleaching.”
  6. If you're drying sheets in the 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.
  7. Be sure not to overload the dryer, and set it to lowest heat to protect against shrinkage and weakening of natural fibers.
  8. Remove clean sheets from the dryer while still slightly damp; smooth fresh sheets and let them air dry before storing, or press with an iron while damp to remove any remaining wrinkles.

Note: Silk sheets should be  washed separately in   mesh laundry bags to protect them from snags and damage during the wash cycle and hung to dry. NEVER DRY SILK IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT, INDOORS OR OUT.

White Sheets and Bed Linens

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.

Storing Sheets

Fold and stack clean sheets and store them in a dry linen cabinet. (Pro tip: consider storing white sheets in a clean pillowcase). 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.

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