If you’re anything like me, you probably think doing laundry is the most boring chore in the world. In fact, I hated doing laundry so much that I used to put all my clothes, towels, sheets, and pretty much everything else, in the same load.
But after a while, I saw that my clothes and sheets were starting to look old and dingy, even though they were brand new. So, I did some research and found out that everything I’ve been doing was wrong. That’s why I had to write this article and help you avoid making the same mistakes as me.
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Now, I don’t know about you, but I first learned how to do laundry when I started college. My mom sat me down and explained how cycles, temperatures, and treatments work.
As soon as she left, I forgot literally everything she told me and had to look up the information online. So, if you have a tough time figuring out what all these terms mean like I did, get ready for a quick recap.
How often you wash your sheets will depend on numerous factors. For example, do you live alone or do you have kids or pets that sleep with you? Do you shower in the evening before bed or in the morning when you wake up?
If you have someone crashing in your bed with you, I recommend washing your sheets at least once a week. But if you live alone and have the bed all to yourself, you can do it once every two weeks.
If you can, I recommend keeping at least three sets of sheets on deck at all times. Having three sets ensures none of them will look shabby or threadbare. Also, since they won’t be in your linen closet for too long, there’s little chance they’ll smell musty.
Check the Labels
Before you throw anything in the wash, always check the labels on the back. They’ll tell you which temperature you should be using, if you can use bleach, and how to dry your sheets. If the little pictograms on the back of labels confuse you as they do me, here’s a great guide to help you out.
Once you have the labels figured out, you should get familiar with your washing machine. I always recommend reading the user manual beforehand, so you can find out which cycles work best for your clothes.
If your sheets are full of stains, you need to treat them before throwing them in the washing machine. Now, the most important thing is to treat the stains right away with some water and a bit of detergent.
I like soaking the spot with water, putting just a dash of detergent on it, and gently rubbing it in. After a while, you can rinse the detergent out and put the sheets in the machine. You can check out this link for a detailed guide on removing oil stains.
Finding the Right Detergent
There’s always going to be a debate on what the ultimate laundry detergent is — pods, liquid, or powder. Personally, I love using pods and liquid because they’re easy to use and don’t clump. But at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of personal preference.
However, if neither of these work for you, you should check out this list of the best laundry detergent alternatives. Each of these will help you get the stains out and they won’t break the bank.
To get the best results when washing your sheets, you should never overload your washing machine. If you do that, the sheets will probably still be dirty when they come out.
Also, you should be using the exact recommended amount and type of detergent. If you like to splurge on your sheets and have a high thread count, I recommend using baby detergent so that they’ll last longer.
What’s more, make sure to put the sheets in the right setting. Since your sheets are prone to collecting germs, the only way to get rid of those is by washing the sheets at high temperatures.
Washing Sheets with Clothes
Ah, the question as old as time — can you stick your clothes in the washing machine with your sheets? The short answer is no, not ever — and there’s a pretty good reason why.
Let’s just put it this way, you probably don’t have a piece of clothing in your entire wardrobe that’s as big as your sheets. Since you don’t, your clothes will get tangled in your sheets and won’t get washed properly. What’s more, by combining the two in the washing machine, you run the risk of overloading it.
Also, more often than not, you should be washing your clothes and sheets at different temperatures and cycles. For example, if you put a cotton T-shirt with your sheets and set it at a high temperature, the T-shirt will probably shrink. On the other hand, washing your sheets at a low temperature won’t kill all the germs hiding inside.
Drying Sheets with Clothes
Again, I wouldn’t recommend drying your sheets and clothes together for the exact same reason I’ve already mentioned. By drying them all together, your clothes will get trapped inside your sheets, especially if they’re fitted. But if you’re really in a pinch, you can give it a shot to see how it turns out.
Washing Sheets with Towels
Often, you’ll come across an article online that says you should never wash your sheets and towels together. But I’ve done so for years and think it’s a great idea. First of all, you need to wash both of these items at high temperatures to get rid of germs.
Also, because of their shape, towels usually won’t get tangled in your sheets as clothes would. The only time I don’t wash these two together is if I have brand new towels. In that case, I like to wash my towels separately at a lower temperature so that they don’t lint all over my sheets.
Drying Sheets with Towels
Even though I think washing sheets and towels together is a great idea, drying them is a whole different story. To start, towels usually have a higher density of fibers in them and need to dry longer than sheets.
Also, when you dry them together, your towels, no matter how new or old, will start producing lint. In the dryer, the lint will stick to your sheets and they’ll come out looking like a hot mess.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are a couple of scenarios where it might be alright to forego all of the rules and stick everything in the washing machine. First, if you have sick kids in your house and need to wash both your sheets and clothes to avoid contamination, I say go for it.
Also, if you want to be more environmentally-friendly and reduce your power and water usage, throwing in your clothes with your sheets is fine. What’s more, if you have just a few items of clothing or small sheets, and don’t have enough for a full load, washing everything together makes sense. Just make sure to carefully read the labels to avoid ruining your clothes.
If you want to be on the safe side, I say that it’s always better to just wash your sheets, towels, and clothes separately. That’s the only way your things will come out of the wash perfectly clean. I would also recommend not drying them all together to avoid messing up your sheets.
But if you live alone and never have enough stuff for a full washing load, I say go for it. Just remember, never do it if you have new clothes or towels to avoid lint and color transfer.