Bed Linen: Everything you need to know
Washing, Drying and Storage
Can bed sheets go in the tumble dryer?
The biggest inconvenience of sheets can be the drying and ironing. So, the ability to throw them in a tumble dryer can be the answer to all our prayers as they banish creases and dampness.
As far as suitability, it completely depends on the type of fabric and care instructions for your particular bedding, so always read the guidelines on the label.
As a general rule, cotton, hollowfibre, microfibre and other man-made materials are usually ok to go in the tumble dryer. For more delicate fabrics such as silk or satin, it is best to let them air dry or just take extra caution by putting them on a very low setting.
Can bed sheets be washed in cold water?
Bed sheets can be washed in cold water for lightly soiled items. A temperature of 40 degrees or higher is needed to kill bacteria, but a cold wash is suitable for items that aren’t stained or heavily soiled.
There are many benefits to washing your sheets in cold water, but there are a few steps we recommend to get the best results.
- Use a detergent that is designed to work with cold water, so stains can be removed and get a thorough clean.
- A cold wash is ideal for lightly soiled items rather than heavily stained.
- A cold wash cycle is great for coloured items as they prevent colours from running.
Will bed sheets shrink?
Bed sheets won’t shrink if you don’t wash or dry them on temperatures that aren’t too high.
This is because the main cause of sheet shrinkage is temperature.
When cotton is being processed the fibres are stretched, straightened and pulled. If these fibres encounter high temperatures, this causes them to relax and return to their natural state, which causes the material to shrink.
To avoid shrinking we recommend putting your sheets on a cold wash.
The same goes for drying. If you set the temperature too high, the same process will happen, and they will reduce in size. To avoid this, make sure to keep your dryer on a low temperature.
Where are the best places to store bed linen?
Sheets can be the most difficult household items to find a proper place for, they always seem to get in the way. Here are some clever tips for storing your bed linen:
- Store out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging the colour and fabric.
- Store a bed sheet set inside one of the pillow cases to keep them all together.
- Keep them in a plastic storage box or airtight bag to avoid dust collection.
- If you’re really stuck for space, store your bed linen under your mattress. This keeps them flat, dust free and clean. When its time to change your sheets, simply take off the dirty bedding and pull the clean ones out from under the mattress… no need to hunt for fresh linen!
Replacing your bed linen – how often and the best way to do it
When should I replace bed linen?
If you take care of your bed linen, then they should last a number of years.
It can be a controversial topic as some bedding companies claim you need to replace your sheets every couple of years.
The truth is that it is up to you and your judgement. Here’s when they probably need replacing:
- Frayed edges
- Holes or rips
- A re-occurring odour
- Too thin
- Itchy, rough and uncomfortable material
- Stains that can’t be removed
Can bed sheets be donated?
Donating sheets to charity is a great way to get rid of bed linen you no longer need. Although, it is important to bear in mind that not all charity shops or donation centres will accept them.
It is best to always call beforehand just to check if they do accept them. If they do, make sure the sheets are clean, in good condition and aren’t stained.
If they are stained or in bad condition, perhaps get in touch with your local animal shelter as they may use them for bedding.
Can bed linen be recycled?
You can either get in touch with your local council to see if they collect textiles to be recycled or find textile banks in supermarkets and local car parks.
To find out where your nearest point it, use this handy recycling locator tool.
Recycling is a more environmentally friendly option rather than sending them to the land fill.
The bed linen you need for Summer
Which bed sheets are the coolest?
For a cool sleeping environment during a hot and sweaty Summer, opt for 100% cotton.
Here are the top benefits of cotton:
- Cotton is a natural material that is light, airy and breathable.
- It absorbs moisture and transmits it away from the body, keeping you cool and dry.
- It is soft and comfortable which allows for a relaxing night’s sleep.
- It is machine washable and easy to care for, which is perfect for Summer as your bedding may need more washing than usual.
- It is a very durable material that has strong fibres.
Can bed sheets make you sweat / cause night sweats?
If you suffer from night sweats it could be down to a few reasons, such as genetics or room temperature. But, your bedding is probably the biggest factor.
Materials like silk or nylon are ones to avoid for your sheets if you are prone to sweat at night. Both materials will stifle you and be very uncomfortable on a hot Summer’s night.
Cotton is the best material to keep cool in hot weather, as it absorbs moisture, allows you to breathe and is light and airy.
Choosing lighter coloured sheets are also an easy way to stay cool at night. Dark colours will absorb heat from sunlight during the day, whereas light colours won’t.
It is also worth investing in a temperature control air ventilation mattress topper.
Are all bed sheets cotton?
Although it is the most popular choice, it is not the only choice. Here is a quick run down of common bed linen materials:
Microfibre – a synthetic polyester material made up of very fine fibres that are tightly woven together.
Hollowfibre – also a synthetic polyester material that has little hollow spaces between the fibres.
Egyptian cotton – a luxurious handpicked cotton that has longer, softer and stronger fibres than regular cotton.
Linen – a natural material that comes from the flax plant. It has thicker fibres than cotton which makes it more durable.
Polycotton – A blend of man-made polyester and natural cotton.
Brushed cotton – Also known as flannelette, this is where cotton is brushed with a mechanical tool to pick out some of the fibres, which gives it a soft and cosy surface.
The cosiest, warmest bedding for Summer
Which bed linen is the warmest?
Brushed cotton and soft flannel sheets are best for keeping warm in Winter. They are still light weight, breathable and won’t stifle you in the night, but keep you nice and cosy.
Surprisingly, silk is also a great material for keeping warm. Although it is not recommended in Summer as it can cause you to overheat, it is great for retaining warmth in Winter.
Recommended bed linen for sensitive skin and allergies
Can bed sheets cause a rash?
If you continually develop rashes and you aren’t sure why, it could be caused by your bedding. To avoid this, it is recommended to wash your sheets once a week in hot water to remove the bacteria.
One of the biggest causes of skin rashes from sheets is dirt and bacteria build up.
We can sweat up to a pint each night. This damp environment can directly contribute to the development of fungi and mould.
This dirt can also create an unhealthy build up of bacteria and dust mites, which may also cause a rash.
Can bed sheets cause itching?
One of the biggest reasons for itchiness at night is allergies. This could either be dust mite allergy, a bird allergy or a reaction to the allergens trapped in bird feathers.
For allergy sufferers we recommend anti-allergy bedding or naturally hypoallergenic materials such as cotton or silk.
There could be several other reasons as to why your sheets are causing you to itch:
- Scratchy, uncomfortable material
- The natural cycling of certain hormones that occur in the body at night
- A lack of outside distractions which causes you to focus on the itchiness
- Excessive sweating
If you’d like to read more take a look at our complete guide to bedding for allergy sufferers.
Can they cause you acne?
Dirty sheets can be one of the biggest external factors of acne. Not just on your face, but on your body as well.
Every night your pillow collects the dirt from your face, oil from your hair, drool, dust and plenty of other bacteria.
If not washed regularly, it will certainly cause breakouts and acne. The same goes for the acne on your body.
If you are really struggling with your skin, it is recommended to washing your bedding at least once a week. Although this blogger recommends changing your pillowcase every day to keep your face super clean.
Can nits live in bed linen?
As head lice are human parasites rather than environmental pests, they need human blood to survive.
Without a host (living on a human head), they won’t survive for more than 24 hours.
So, there is no special treatment you need to spray or treat your sheets with. Simply wash in hot water and put in the dryer to get rid of any remains.
What is the best bed linen and why should I use it?
Which bed linen is the best?
Bedding is incredibly personal, and it is impossible to state the perfect option that will work for everyone. That is why we are giving you some expert tips for finding the best product for you:
- Do your research. Try not to buy the first item you stumble across. Compare products and do some thorough research.
- It’s an investment. You may not want to spend a lot, but if possible try not to go for the cheapest option. Good quality bedding is an investment and it is completely worth it in the long run.
- Keep it simple. Not only will solid light colours deflect light and not absorb heat, they are also a great option for the long term. Choosing a fashionable colour with a bold pattern may be stylish at the time, but you may easily change your mind in a year or two.
- What’s important to you? Decide the most important thing that you need to get out of your bedding. Is sweating your biggest problem? Or are you generally too cold? Establishing this will help you find sheets that will suit your needs.
Which bed sheets are the softest?
This is clearly down to personal opinion, but generally linen and Egyptian cotton are the favourites for the softest materials.
Linen won’t feel super soft when you first purchase it, but over time it will become ultra-silky and cosy. This is because it becomes more fluid over time through handling.
Egyptian cotton is a luxurious material that is favoured for bedding due to its extra long fibres that are incredibly fine. It is handpicked, which puts less stress on the material and gives it more flexibility.
Not only is it super-soft, it is also strong, durable and incredibly resilient.
Why use bed sheets or linen?
There is a lot of debate around the different bed sheets people use and whether they are all necessary. A bottom sheet (a fitted or flat sheet to cover your mattress) is an essential part of your sleeping arrangement.
Comfort and hygiene are equal factors in this necessity. Comfort because it creates a soft, smooth canvas for you to sleep on. Hygiene because it allows you to wash your bedding regularly rather than just relying on washing your mattress (which is a huge job).
Top sheets are where the controversy sneaks in. Some don’t believe in the importance of a top sheet and don’t think it makes any difference, whereas some swear by it. They are used for similar reasons to a bottom sheet.
If a high quality top sheet is purchased, it will provide a nice cool and smooth layer beneath your duvet. It also creates an extra barrier to stop bacteria getting to your duvet, which means it won’t need washing as often.
What bed linen do hotels use?
We have many customers enquiring on how to recreate the soft, fluffy hotel bedding set up. Firstly, sticking to an all-white bed set will make you feel like you’re in a luxurious hotel room.
Secondly, and most importantly, quality. Hotel bedding feels so soft and luxurious because it is. Hotels and B&Bs invest a lot into their bedding so if you want to re-create this at home, you’ll need to do some bedding research.
Feather and down are high end options that will provide a lot of support and comfort. Take a look at our ultimate guide to duvets to find the perfect one for you.