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How to wash sheets and other bed linen so that they last longer

Sheets and duvet covers are the linens that everyone loves to keep perfect. That feeling of getting into a clean, uncreased and smooth bed, with a pleasant smell and that looks like new...it's unbeatable.

So here are some simple tips on how to wash sheets so that they last longer, as well as pillows, which are also essential for your quintessential resting place. Spoiler alert: they don't get cleaner by adding more detergent... completely the opposite.

Let's take a look: clean sheets, sweet dreams!

1. Read the washing instructions well: they contain lots of important information.

Often, people cut off the washing instructions that come with sheets and duvet covers (or they forget they're there to help). They usually hold the key to washing the items correctly, so that they stay perfect and last a long time.

Of course this will also depend on the material that they are made of, and what type of washing machine, detergent and softener you use. The first recommendation is to look for that label and follow it to the letter, while considering the following tips on how to wash sheets.

This graphic simply explains the meaning of the most common symbols for sheets and bed linen, so that you aren't left wondering what they mean!

2. Choose the right washing machine programme

If you've read the label, you'll see that there is a washing temperature recommendation. This is essential for ensuring that your sheets last as long as possible without falling apart.

Usually, even though sheets don't have many stains that are hard to clean, they are washed at a hot water temperature between 40 and 60°C. Why? Because then you'll disinfect them and clean them properly, doing away with any kind of dust mites and bacteria they may have.

The programme must be appropriate for the sheet fabric, for example, cotton, which is usually indicated on most washing machines as: "cotton 60°C".

If they are made of a material more delicate than cotton or, for example, they include some kind of embroidery, you should choose a special programme such as one for delicates so that they don't get ruined and they stay pristine for much longer.

On the contrary, synthetic fabrics are usually washed with cold or warm water.

The following video features some tips on which aspects you should consider when purchasing your sheets. The material and how to maintain it are two of these aspects.

    3. Wash them by themselves, without other garments

    To wash sheets correctly, it's essential to wash them individually. That means without other garments in the drum of the washing machine, not even several sets of sheets. Better to wash one at a time! That way, you can be sure that there's sufficient space in the drum and that the water and detergent are distributed correctly throughout all the bed linen for a better clean.

    How often? Once a week is ideal, especially in summer.

    4. How much detergent should you add?

    Many people think that the more detergent you add, the better, or the more softener you add, the softer the garments become. In truth, it's nothing of the sort! In fact, it's the total opposite: using excess detergent makes it more difficult to rinse the sheets (or any clothes for that matter). This can make the clothes smell bad or make them feel kind of "greasy". In addition, it's not at all good for the environment.

    Normally, for a load of 4.5 or 5 kg, as sheets tend to weigh, 50 ml of detergent is enough. Still, take a look at your washing machine's instructions and always use the bottle's measuring cap. Don't eyeball it!

    It's also not recommended to use bleach regularly when washing sheets, because eventually it breaks apart the fabrics. You only need to use it in extraordinary cases for particularly resistant stains, or if you need a deeper disinfection, but don't go overboard with the amount.

    5. How to make sheets crease less and how to hang them up

    The most important thing for avoiding creases as much as possible in your bed linen is to take them out as soon as the wash cycle has finished: they should spend as little time as possible in the drum once the cycle has ended. This means you'll prevent them from collecting unnecessary moisture and creasing.

    As for hanging them up, if you can the best thing to do is to air dry them, because ventilation stops them from picking up certain smells and makes them less likely to crease. Hang them at the halfway point, as stretched out as possible using several perpendicular ropes, and if feasible, don't use clothes pegs.

    6. How to wash pillows and pillowcases

    Let's start with the pillows. As always, look at the instructions found on the label. You shouldn't wash your pillow at more than 60°, but the material will dictate whether you can use a higher or lower temperature.

    It's also not recommended to use bleach, and ideally you should also reduce the amount of detergent that you normally use. One third of the normal amount is sufficient. You can put our pillows in the dryer, but look at the label to find out the recommended temperature.

    And specifically with regard to the pillowcase, it's really important to check the manufacturer's label and carefully follow the instructions. In addition, it's recommended that if there are any stains, you should apply stain remover before washing. If it's a pillowcase made of a delicate fabric, it's better to wash by hand and with a neutral detergent.

    We love it when customers use our products in a creative way. Why not try to do something new with them yourself? But do remember, any modifications or changes that you make to IKEA products will prevent them from being resold or used for their original use, thus invalidating IKEA product warranties and your right to return.