How To Wash Your Linens So They Last

One of the hallmarks of becoming an adult is wondering if you’re cleaning your linens properly. This is especially the case if you’ve invested in a quality set of bedroom linens.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the best ways to wash your linens, duvet covers, and everything in between. Read on to see if you’ve been taking care of your linens the right way, and see what new tips you can incorporate into your bed sheet cleaning routine.


The Importance of Properly Washing Your Linens

If you've ever purchased high-quality comforter sets or linen sheets, you’ve likely felt the pressure of making them last. While higher quality linens do tend to last longer than cheaper linens like microfiber and polyester sheets, how you take care of them will ultimately determine how long they last. Caring for your linens properly also allows them to feel softer and look brighter for longer.

To keep your linens in their best shape possible and get the best return on your investment, it’s important to understand, even at a basic level, how to wash them.


Linen vs. Cotton Sheets: Are They The Same?

Nowadays, when someone talks about linens, it's typical to lump together a variety of fabrics, including cotton sheets, bed skirts, duvets, and comforters. For the purpose of understanding how to wash your linens, we’ll quickly define the difference between linen vs. cotton sheets, as well as other bedding types.

Linens vs. Cotton Sheets

Unlike cotton sheets, which are made from the fluff of cotton plants, linen sheets are made from fibers from the stalk of flax plants. Both offer a luxurious, soft, and comfortable feel, all while being breathable and lightweight.

Duvets vs. Comforters

Duvets and comforters have become synonymous with one another,  but they do differ in terms of functionality. Duvets are thick blankets filled with a natural or synthetic fiber and tucked inside a duvet cover. It can be tricky to learn how to put yours back into its cover once you have just cleaned up. Fortunately, there are resources to find a quick and easy hack to reassemble your duvet in its cover.

Comforters, on the other hand, are simply duvets without a cover. Comforters offer beautiful designs and come in a variety of thicknesses.


Should You Hand Wash or Machine Wash Your Linens?

You can both hand wash and machine wash your linens. Neither method will resize or destroy them. However, whichever option you choose, it's essential to know the procedures to follow in order to keep your linens looking as fresh as possible.


How to Machine Wash Linens

In today's busy day and age, machine washing is the preferred method for many when it comes to washing linens. If you are going to use your washing machine, it's important to follow the proper procedure so that you don't damage your bed sheets.

For starters, always read the manufacturer's instructions printed on your linens. Some products require hand washing, while others dictate special care like cold washing or dry cleaning only.

Always separate your bed sheets by color and kind. For example, don’t wash linens with duvets. Once separated, always opt for the delicate or gentle cycle and use a mild detergent. Fabric softener can be helpful in keeping the material soft, but it's not necessary.

When drying your linens, tumble dry on low or medium heat or skip the dryer altogether and let them dry outdoors if possible.


How to Hand Wash Linens

Hand-washing linens can be a rather enjoyable experience if you have the time and energy. To wash your linens by hand, you’ll need to fill a large tub like your bathtub with lukewarm water.

Mix in a mild detergent and gently rub away at any marks, stains, or other imperfections. If you have harsh or stubborn stains, you can actually rub the linen together to help lift the stains out. Once you've completed the wash cycle, empty the tub and wring your linens with lukewarm water again. Continue ringing out your linens until the water runs clear with no sudsing.

If you hand wash your linens, it's almost a rite of passage to air-dry them as well. Hang up your linens and air dry them outdoors or on a drying rack.


Can I Use Bleach On My Linens?

While bleach can do a fantastic job removing stains and brightening white bed sheets, bed skirts, and other linens, bleach can do more harm than good over time.

Bleach and harsh detergents can actually break down and weaken fibers, both natural and synthetic. This breakdown can lead to discoloration, yellowing, or fading fabrics. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to bleach when it comes to lifting statins.

If you have a stain on your linens, the best way to remove it is by getting to it as quickly as possible using a simple soap and warm water solution. Spritzing on some club soda immediately after encountering the stain is another excellent way to help lift it.

Depending on the stain, you might need to try other methods, including blotting, using vinegar, or gently scrubbing with baking soda.


Store Your Linens So They Last

Just as important as it is to properly wash your linens, it is equally important to store them correctly.

Natural fibers, including wool and cotton, need to breathe during storage. Because of this, it's best to store them in cool, dry places. You can also keep them on shelves in your closet, a linen closet, or any other out-of-the-way location.


What Is the Best Way to Wash a Comforter or Duvet?

Washing a duvet can be a tricky feat, but it is possible to accomplish. For starters, always follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions on your duvet cover. Some duvets cannot be washed at home and must be dry cleaned only.

Understanding washing instructions is important because of the material within the duvet itself. Duvets can be filled with a variety of materials, including synthetic fillers, natural down or feathers, wool, and cotton. The type of filling used in your duvet will dictate how it is washed.

If the manufacturer's instructions say that your duvet can be machine washed, the following method can be used with most duvets: Start by placing your duvet in a gentle wash cycle under cold water. Once it's washed, you can dry it in a dryer on low heat. The dryer should help fluff up the duvet as well.

Comforters differ slightly from duvets in that their design covers don’t come off. Still, you can wash comforters much the same as you would a duvet. Ready to upgrade your duvet or comforter? Check out this beautiful selection of comforters


How Do You Wash a Duvet Cover?

Much like your duvet, your duvet cover might also come with special care instructions. Typically, however, duvet covers can be washed much the same as your other linens.

Keep in mind that, because duvet covers typically have a pattern or design to them, you'll want to wash them with similarly colored bedding. You should also avoid using bleach as this could discolor duvet covers that have a colorful design.


Can I Wash and Dry My Duvet in Its Cover?

If you are going to be washing your duvet in a washing machine, you should always remove your duvet cover first. Never wash your duvet with its cover, as this could damage the linens, the duvet, or the overall way that both fit with each other.

When you remove your duvet cover, button it or zip it back up, and wash it as you would with your other linens. Of course, be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions as well for any special guidance your duvet cover might need.


Do You Wash Your Brand New Bed Sheets Before First Use?

When you first purchase a pair of brand new bed sheets and linens sets, you should always make it a habit to wash them first. Washing your linens is important for a variety of reasons.

Depending on how your linens and bed sheets were packaged, you’ll certainly want to wash off any dirt or debris that may have collected during packaging, transport, and shelving. 

It's also important to wash your bedding because it's likely the first time they've undergone a thorough cleaning. You'll notice that when you wash your bed sheets for the first time, they may shrink a bit as the fibers get acclimated to their first use. Don't be alarmed if this happens.


Is It Recommended to Wash Bed Sheets with Clothes in the Laundry?

Clothing fabric contains a number of fiber materials, including synthetic fibers, cotton, wool, and others. Because of this, it's not a good idea to wash your clothes with your bed sheets. The fibers from your clothing can embed themselves into your linen and cause the fabric to feel harsh and uncomfortable. Also, if you wash your bedding with other clothes that have dyed fibers, that dye can leak onto your bedding, ultimately ruining them.


Keep Your Linens Sparkling For Years

off white sheet set on bed

When it comes to your quality crafted bedroom linen sets, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Always take care to read the manufacturer's instructions on your linens so that you wash and dry them in a way that won't harm them.

Are you ready to get your hands on some new linen sheets? We got you covered! Be sure to check out our luxurious and elegant selections.

We hope that our helpful guide on how to clear and take care of your precious linens has helped inspire you. Are there any special tips and tricks you’ve come to rely on when it comes to cleaning your linens? Be sure to share with us in the comments section below! 


Ray, R. (2015). Learn How to Effortlessly Cover Your Duvet.

Gagliardi, M. (2022). Can You Wash Colored Clothes With Bleach?.