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How to Wash a Duvet and Bed Sheets Properly (And How Often!)

13th January, 2022

Are you washing your duvet and bed sheets correctly? It might seem simple, but many people get it wrong and end up shrinking or discolouring their bedding!

To help, we’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide on washing bedding, including expert advice on how to wash a duvet and bed sheets to keep them looking fresher for longer, plus how often to do it. Get ready for super-soft bedding that will keep you warm and cosy all night long.

Washing bedding: why is it important?

As we sleep, our bodies sweat. This, along with other things like loose hair, body oil and dead skin, is largely absorbed by our bedding. And just like on our clothes, it builds up over time. The solution? Regular, thorough cleaning. Washing your bedding is not only essential for hygiene, but it’s also a great way to prolong its life and ensure you don’t regularly find yourself having to buy brand-new linen.

Keen to learn how to wash a duvet, bed sheets, mattress protectors and more? We’ll go through the different bedding most people own and how to keep it feeling – and looking – fresh.

Washing bed sheets and pillowcases

Before washing sheets and pillowcases, it’s always worth having a look at its care label for any specific advice. When it comes to what setting to wash your bed sheets and pillowcases on, you’ll usually find a warm 40-degree wash with a mild detergent is suitable for most synthetic fabrics. Cotton bedding can withstand higher heat, so you might want to clean it on a 50 or 60-degree setting instead.

Heat is vital for removing any stubborn stains, sweat marks or mold that might have begun to grow in your sheets or pillowcases. If you have any bedding that’s particularly grimy or hasn’t been changed quite as regularly as it should have, put it on a 60-degree setting to give it a proper blitz.

Once washed, pop into the tumble dryer. If air drying, space your sheets out well to speed up the drying process – you might also want to crack open a window to allow any excess moisture in the room to escape.

Expert tip: If you start to see fibres and lint appearing on your bedding after you’ve washed it, it’s time to change the filter on your washing machine.

How to Wash a Duvet and Bed Sheets

How to wash duvet covers

As your duvet cover tends to become dirtier more gradually than your pillowcases or sheets, you might not need to change it quite as regularly. If you own a duvet cover made of a special type of material, it’s best to double-check the washing instructions on the care label.

1. Pre-treat stains

Before washing your duvet cover, pre-treat any stains with stain remover to help your duvet look as good as new when it’s finished.

2. Remove the duvet from the cover

Remove the duvet from the cover by undoing the series of snap catches or buttons and setting it to one side. Remember to re-do the catches or buttons before washing to prevent other laundry from getting stuck inside the cover.

3. Put it in the washing machine

Then, put the duvet cover into the washing machine. Add a mild detergent and choose a gentle spin with warm water, around 30-degrees.

4. Remove and dry

Once the wash is complete, dry the duvet cover in the tumble dryer or by hanging it on a clothesline to air dry.

5. Iron

Finish by ironing the cover to remove any creases and either put it straight back on your bed or fold it to store in your linen cupboard.

Can you wash a duvet?

Yes! It’s not just your duvet cover that needs a good clean now and then. The duvet or quilt that goes inside can also harbour all sorts of germs after weeks of use. Thankfully, it’s possible to pop most duvets into the washing machine.

Some duvets will be dry clean only, such as those with silk trimmings. If you’re not sure about washing bedding in the washing machine, check the washing instructions on the label beforehand just in case.

1. Remove the duvet cover

Remove the duvet from its cover and set it to one side.

2. Add to the washing machine

Pop your duvet into the washing machine on a gentle setting and low heat (especially if your duvet is filled with feathers). If you can, add an extra spin cycle to help to prevent the duvet from retaining lots of soapy water and to speed up the drying process.

3. Check for soap residue

Once finished, remove the duvet from the washing machine and check for any soap residue. If you find some, rewash the duvet without soap or put it through another spin cycle.

4. Transfer to the dryer

Next, transfer the duvet to the dryer and put it on a low or air-dry setting. After you’ve taken your bedding out of the washing machine, it’s important to dry it thoroughly before using it again.

Drying bedding can take several hours so check on it regularly to ensure that the fluff is evenly distributed and that the duvet is not overheating. If you don’t have a tumble dryer, place your washing on a drying rack in the sunshine or in a warm room that gets plenty of light and/or heat from a radiator.

Washing taking an age to dry? It’s a good idea to have more than one set of bedding for your bed. This will let you wash and dry bedding thoroughly over the space of a few days rather than rushing to get it done all at once.

How to wash a mattress protector

Mattress protectors do exactly what they say on the tin – they protect your mattress. There’s a whole range of different options to choose from, including some made from waterproof materials. If you’re wondering how to wash a mattress protector, put yours into the washing machine alongside any other bedding.

Many mattress protectors feature a synthetic waterproof layer, so you won’t want to wash them on a high setting – 40-degrees should be fine. Add a gentle detergent to the wash too. But, avoid tumble drying them afterward and instead leave them to air dry.

How to wash pillow protectors

Pillow protectors have a similar function to your mattress protector. They’re well-worth having to keep your pillows fresh and cleaner for longer. They’ll need to be washed and changed regularly too. Just like mattress protectors, this can be done alongside other bedding on a warm wash.

How to Wash a Duvet and Bed Sheets

How often should you wash your bedding?

Now we’ve come to the big question: how often should you be washing your bedding? As a general rule, you should:

  • Wash and change pillowcases and sheets every week. Every week is ideal, especially if you suffer from allergies and/or asthma that could be triggered by a build-up of dirt. If you let pets sleep on your bed, you might want to wash your sheets every five days instead.
  • Wash your duvet cover every two to three weeks. Again, how often you do this will depend on whether you use your duvet every day, if you have any allergies or if you have pets that share your sleeping space.
  • Wash your mattress and pillow protectors every two months. Giving both of these items a refresh every couple of months will help keep your mattress and sheets clean.
  • Wash your pillows every few months. Pillows absorb a lot of sweat and oil from our heads and hair. If you own pillows that can be washed, pop them in the machine every few months on high heat.
  • Wash your duvet every six months. It’s a good idea to freshen up your duvet twice a year. Many people will have different duvets for winter and summer, meaning you can simply wash one after you’ve switched it with the other.

How to keep your bedding fresher for longer

When your bedding needs a little TLC, but you don’t have time for a full-blown wash, try these tricks to keep it looking and smelling fresher for longer.

  • Lightly spray your bedding with fabric spray in-between washes for a burst of fresh fragrance
  • Instead of making your bed as soon as you get up, leave the sheets and duvet turned down for a couple of hours after your alarm goes off to let any moisture evaporate
  • For another quick fix, open the windows and air out your bedding in the sun to give it a new lease of life
  • Try using essential oils and natural scents to give your bedding a boost – we love lavender scents. Lavender is also a popular aromatherapy choice to help you relax and unwind

Few feelings are better than climbing into a bed with freshly washed sheets. Now you know how to wash your duvet and bed sheets properly and how often, why not browse our range of high-quality mattresses and bespoke adjustable beds

At HSL, your comfort and wellbeing are our top priorities. That’s why, we offer a range of practical and comfortable chairs, sofas and beds that have all been approved by our Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, to support a healthy lifestyle.

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