How To Wash Bed Sheets


Have you always wondered how to wash bed sheets in an eco-friendly way? 

Washing any kind of laundry item, it’s important to consider what impact that’s having on the planet and your own health. 

From using more energy and water - to contributing to environmental pollution and increased toxicity levels - cleaning dirty laundry can actually be a dirty business! But it doesn’t have to be. 

Luckily there are a range of simple actions you can take to make washing your bedding much more environmentally and ethically palatable. From using eco laundry detergents that are plast-based and plastic-free, to using energy and water-efficient machines, and choosing to buy natural and organic fabric sheets - there are many solutions out there. 

Below we look at some top tips to minimize water use, energy use, and pollution when you’re doing your washing. We also provide tips on how to wash, fold and store your linen so that it stays looking and smelling clean and fresh. 

How to Wash Bed Sheets in an Eco-Friendly Way

If you’re interested to know how to clean bed sheets the eco-friendly way, then below are some useful tips - perfect for anyone interested in sustainable living and a zero waste lifestyle. 

Being mindful of the impacts that your laundry habits have on the Earth (and your health) requires minimizing your use of water, energy and pollutants when washing your bedding. 

Tips to make washing your bedding more environmentally-friendly

When it comes to washing bed sheets, there are actually a number of factors that influence how environmentally friendly that washing can be. 

Whether you’re cleaning bed linens, how you use water and electricity and the types of detergents you choose to use all have an impact on the environment. 

Once you become aware of all those connections, it becomes clearer how you can change your behavior and purchasing habits to live more sustainably. 

Below we look at some simple tips to make washing your bed sheets more eco-friendly and sustainable.

  • Minimize water use when doing laundry

One of the ways to make your laundry more eco friendly is to minimize water use. The more loads of laundry you do, the more water you’ll use. It’s therefore best to only do washing when you need to and to make sure you put on full loads. 

There are also other ways to be water efficient when washing your bed sheets. Using a water-efficient washing machine can make a big impact - you can review and compare the water efficiency performance of machines before buying them. 

Front loaders are generally more efficient in terms of water and energy use than top loaders - and if they’re Energy Star certified then they can use up to 50% less water. 

High-efficiency washer models often adjust water levels depending on the load size, which can further help to reduce water consumption. And you can use quick wash settings on resource-efficient models to save water. 

Did you know that you can also save water by using concentrated detergents? The vast majority (about 60 - 90%) of non-concentrated liquid laundry detergents are made of water. 

So by choosing products like Kind Laundry’s ultra concentrated eco laundry detergent sheets, you could be saving hundreds of gallons of water each year. Big brands like Walmart have realized this too, and have established policies to sell only concentrated detergents in their stores to help save resources and reduce environmental impacts. 

Pre-treating stains before washing also helps to reduce washing time, saving water and energy through shorter wash cycles. Kind Laundry’s Vegan Laundry Stain Remover Bar is a nifty travel-size soap to pre-treat and remove the toughest stains. It’s also plant-based, vegan and doesn’t include any toxic chemicals.

How to Wash Bed Sheets

  • Minimize energy consumption when washing your laundry

Minimizing your energy consumption when washing bed sheets is another way to get your laundry done in an environmentally-friendlier way, while also lowering your carbon footprint.

There are several ways to reduce your energy consumption when washing bed sheets, including:

  • Always use a full load: the biggest contribution you can make to energy-efficiency when washing, is to wait until you have enough dirty laundry to fill the drum. You may need to add some towels in with your sheets to fill the machine. 

  • Use a cold or cooler wash: not only can this help you to save a lot on your energy bill, but a cooler wash can also help reduce wrinkles in your sheets and help them extend their longevity. 

  • Power your washer with renewable energy like solar power, or use a non-electric, hand-powered washer if you have the time and energy to do so.

  • Use a certified energy efficient laundry machine: Energy Star rated and high-efficiency washers use considerably less energy, as do front loaders (generally). 

  • Air dry your linen: rather than using a tumble dryer, hang your washing out on a line to dry in the sunshine or the wind. Or if it’s wintery and cold outside, then put your wet laundry safely near a radiator or window to air dry indoors. 

  • If you use a dryer, then use Wool Dryer Balls: they can reduce drying time by up to 25% (which can also help you save on energy bills). They are a greener alternative that helps to naturally soften your laundry, reduce wrinkles, and avoid using synthetic fabric softeners or toxic dryer sheets. Made from pure New Zealand wool, Kind Laundry’s biodegradable dryer balls are a great way to speed up drying time and reduce your carbon footprint. 

  • Avoid ironing your bedding: irons use large amounts of power, so you can tread more lightly on the planet by avoiding (or minimizing) using an iron. If you dry, fold and store your sheets properly, they may appear like they’ve been ironed.

How to Wash Bed Sheets
  • Minimize pollution and harmful chemicals when doing laundry

Another way you can contribute significantly towards environmental sustainability is by buying ethical laundry detergents. Look for brands that are plastic-free and don’t contain any nasties that will end up harming your health, or polluting water and eventually the oceans. 

Did you know that around 35 billion loads of laundry are washed in North America each year, resulting in around 1 billion laundry jugs being discarded. While many are made from HDPE plastic that’s recyclable, only 30% of HDPE plastics actually end up getting recycled - and the other 70% ends up in landfills or in rivers and eventually the ocean. 

Pollution caused by plastic laundry jugs isn’t the only problem. Many traditional powder and liquid laundry detergents also contain a range of harmful chemicals that are not only bad for human health, but they can get into the water system when you wash your bed sheets and then affect the health of rivers, streams and ocean ecosystems. 

These toxic chemicals may include phosphates, bleach, formaldehyde, and Ammonium Sulfate and are associated with a range of health conditions like heart disease and an increased risk of cancer. 

That’s why zero waste living is becoming so popular as people realize the impact that packaging waste and product ingredients have on the environment, biodiversity and our health. 

Kind Laundry’s founders were inspired to create a non-toxic laundry detergent alternative that’s kinder to the Earth and better for your health. 

  • Buy environmentally-friendly bed sheets

Not all types of bed sheet fabrics are equal when it comes to sustainability and treading lightly on the planet. If you’re keen to find out how to wash bed sheets in an eco-friendly way, then you’ll probably also be interested to know that your choice of sheet fabric can affect the health of the planet. 

When synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, or acrylic are washed, tiny little nano-particles break off and enter the water system. These microplastic fibers find their way to the ocean, where marine creatures then ingest them and these particles bio-accumulate throughout the food chain.

By choosing natural and organic fibers for your sheets, you can help cut down on toxic microplastics in wastewater. 

Another innovative way to help minimize the leaching of microfibers into wastewater is to use a microfiber filter which you install in your washer. These can help to significantly cut down on the amount of micropollutants that your bed sheets leach into your wastewater. 

While natural fiber fabrics may seem like the obvious eco choice when it comes to bedding - it’s good to be aware that even certain types of natural fibers like cotton are water-intensive crops to grow, and may have been sprayed with toxic chemicals that affect the soil health, water quality and biodiversity. 

That’s why it’s important to look for natural fabrics that have organic and eco certifications and that provide information on how the fabrics were grown and sourced. It’s no wonder everyone’s talking about sustainable supply chains these days. 

How to Wash Bed Sheets

FAQs - How to Wash Bed Sheets The Environmentally-Friendly Way

Whether you’re washing bed sheets or something else, the same principles generally apply: they can all be washed on a cold wash, they all need to be washed regularly (for hygiene purposes), and they should all be stored and folded carefully so that you don’t need to re-wash them.

Below are some more frequently asked questions about the best methods to wash, store and fold your linen.

What are the best methods to wash bed sheets?

Ever wondered how to wash bed sheets? Then you’re in good company - it’s something that many other people are also asking. 

When it comes to the best methods for washing bed sheets - then you’ll want to follow the tips above to make your laundry activities more environmentally sustainable. That includes being mindful to save water, energy, and to minimize pollution and the use of harmful toxins.

You also have the choice of what water temperature to use, which will somewhat depend on the type of fabric you’re washing, and how dirty your sheets are. It’s best to switch to washing your sheets on a cold wash, which will save on energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint and can also help most fabrics to last longer.

Below we look at some frequently asked questions about how to care for clean laundry (and clean sheets in particular).

Getting the best results: when to use hot or cold water?

A popular question is “when to use hot or cold water when washing bedding?

The first step is to read the labels. Depending on what type of fabric your sheets are made from, that will influence the care instructions. Cotton sheets can usually be washed on a warm wash, silk typically requires a cold wash on a delicate cycle (satin does too), linen can be washed in warm water, and bamboo usually requires a cool or warm wash and a gentle cycle. 

How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding?

In addition to knowing how to clean bed sheets the eco-friendly way, many people also want to know how often to wash bed sheets.

The answer depends somewhat on how humid your environment is (and how sweaty you get), and how much dirt is carried onto your sheets (for example if you’ve been out at a sandy beach and climb straight into bed). And, if your pets share your bed, that can add extra dirt and germs to the mix. 

A good rule of thumb is to wash your bed sheets every week for hygiene purposes (or at least every two weeks). That’s because we all sweat at night, and there are other fluids and germs that may dirty our sheets like drool, natural body oils, and microscopic flakes of dead skin cells.

House mites like to feed on dead skin cells and other organic matter in our sheets - and as they build up, they can cause allergies in some people. Another good reason to keep your sheets white and clean. 

Of course if you’re dealing with an infestation of lice, bedbugs, fleas or other pests, you may need to wash your sheets more frequently. 

You can extend the periods between washes by making sure you’re clean when you get into bed, and by not having your fur babies join you under the covers. In between wash loads, it’s a good idea to have an extra set of bedding so you have the time to air dry your sheets.

When it comes to how often to wash your duvet, every few months is generally advised, with at least two washes a year. Using mattress protectors can help to avoid more frequent washing and cleaning. 

While you might be able to wash certain fabrics on a warm or hot wash, from an environmentally-friendly standpoint, that may not be the best thing to do.

How Often Should You Wash Sheets

How to Fold and Store Bed Sheets

There’s an art to folding and storing your clean bed sheets so that it stays wrinkle-free, crisp, clean and great smelling.

Depending on what fabric your sheets are made from (e.g. bamboo, organic cotton, linen, silk or Egyptian cotton), your bedding may be more or less prone to wrinkles and may also need extra care when washing to keep them soft. 

For example, a cotton-polyester sheet won’t crease as easily as a linen sheet. That’s why you’ll need to take extra care when hanging out your more natural-fabric sheets and duvet covers to dry, to help avoid wrinkles. Using wool dryer balls can also help to reduce wrinkles when you use a dryer. 

Below are some top tips on how to store bed sheets, how to avoid ironing, and how to keep your laundry smelling fresh and clean. 

 How to Store Bed Sheets

Tips to Store Your Bed Sheets and Keep It Dry and Clean

The longer you’re able to store your bed sheets without them getting creased, or starting to smell bad or go moldy - the more you can avoid re-washing your bedding. 

That’s why proper linen storage is so important. 

Here are a few tips for storing your bed sheets optimally:

  • Store your bedding in a dedicated linen closet or wardrobe that has ample space so your laundry won’t get crinkled or go moldy over time,

  • Be sure to store your linen somewhere dry and ventilated (not in a bathroom or in areas that are high in humidity as that can cause mold), and out of sunlight so that it doesn’t fade. 

  • Make sure your linen is totally dry before storing, otherwise it may go moldy. 

  • Avoid storing in plastic tubs as they can be receptacles for mildew to grow. A nifty trick is to instead store your bedding inside a king size pillow case. 

Tips on How to Avoid Ironing Linen

Irons use a surprising amount of energy to power, so unless your house is running on renewables, it’s best to minimize or avoid ironing.

If you take good care of your sheets when you hang them out to dry, you can reduce wrinkles significantly. Folding sheets neatly once they’re dry, also helps to keep them wrinkle-free. And, if you use a drier, then natural Wool Dryer Balls can also reduce wrinkles. 

Tips on How to Keep Your Bedding Smelling Fresh

If you’ve gone to the effort of washing your bed sheets in an eco-friendly way, you’ll probably want to keep your stored linen smelling fresh, naturally. 

Consider adding a natural scented soap or candle to your laundry storage. You can also use lavender sachets, which not only provide a great smell, but can also help to ward off silverfish and other insects. 

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