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How To: Wash Your Sheets

Ask the Decorator online home-improvement and decorating show host Meghan Carter interviewed Alan Jesseman, the creative director at Anichini, to learn the right way to wash your sheets. He offered some expert tips on the task, some of which may make you realize you've been doing it all wrong! I've summarized a few for you:

  • Sheets should always be washed; you don't want dry-cleaning chemicals close to your body.
  • Use a mild detergent or soap, something that doesn't have any whiteners or brighteners, and something that has minimal fragrance or colorings to it.
  • Test oxygen bleaches on a corner before using to make sure it won't take the color out.

There's more where these came from and a video of the interview, so


  • Always dissolve your detergent in the water first and let it agitate for a minute before you put the clothes in.
  • Everything will last longer if you use a front-loading washer; they're much more gentle because they don't have the agitator in the middle.
  • Hot water is very harsh on the fibers and colors, and will shorten the lifespan of your sheets. Use cool or lukewarm water.
  • If you line dry your sheets, the wind will blow most of the wrinkles out of them, and you won't get lint (a sign of your sheets breaking down). If you live in a city and can't line dry, use your dryer on the air tumble (fluff dry) cycle.
  • Take your sheets out of your dryer before they're bone dry (hot and dry) because that's hard on the fibers.
  • Sheets smell best if you line dry them in the snow!

Check out Ask the Decorator for more videos and tips like these!

beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i would use cold water on everything ( i really don't think the hot water helps much - i'm not that dirty!) but the washer/dryer in my suite only does hot. :( i can't wait to move.
emalove emalove 9 years
I've always washed my sheets in hot water...never knew you were supposed to use cool.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
*wash it
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I put a little Febreeze allergen in my laundry when I was it. I need to wash mine in hot err lukewarm because of allergies with my cat. Poor little guy...
Home Home 9 years
Hot water may kill germs best, but according to Alan Jesseman, using extremely hot water is also very harsh on the fibers and colors of your sheets, effectively wearing down them down quickly. So, he suggests using lukewarm or cold water. I have seen some antibacterial laundry detergents and sprays out there, which should help.
grits grits 9 years
i always thought you were supposed to use hot water too also "Sheets smell best if you line dry them in the snow" um, what? typically, when it's snowing, it's freezing outside. how can you line dry WET clothes outside - won't they just freeze too?
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
I agree i always thought hot water was best on sheets
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I was always taught to use hot water to kill bacteria. The drying in the snow is a new thing for me. Interesting.
stephsharer stephsharer 9 years
yeah, i'm pretty sure you told us not to long ago to only use hot water!
krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
I thought sheets were supposed to be washed in hot water only as it is more likely to kill any nasty germs or bed bugs?
LesleyP825 LesleyP825 9 years
Thanks for the tips! I have been washing my sheets in hot water and I won't be doing that anymore. Good to know!
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