How to Wash New Sheets

Every once in awhile, we find ourselves needing a new set of sheets. We get home and wonder if they need to be washed, or not. Today, I’m sharing why you should wash new sheets and how to wash new sheets for the first time.

how to wash new sheets like a pro

There’s very little that I love more than a fresh set of sheets put on my bed. I look forward to the crisp, yet soft fabric as I slip in for a long night’s sleep. 

Developing a simple laundry routine is part of being a productive homemaker, but what about the laundering of our new textiles?

We spend so much time in our beds. We begin and end our days the same way- snuggling in the sheets, so why wouldn’t we want the softest sheets we could get? 

A few years ago, I got new sheets and was disappointed at how scratchy they were. 

I invested in high quality sheets and then they didn’t even feel nice to sleep in. I did some researching and, after some trial and error, I found the secret formula to soft sheets.

new sheets by garnet hill on a bed

How to Choose New Sheets 

Choosing bedding is fun and there are so many choices out there- flannel, silk, organic, satin, solid colors, patterns. The sky is the limit when it comes to linens. 

Before laundering your sheets, you need to choose a high-quality sheet set that will be soft and long lasting. It’s best to always get a set that is, at least, between 200 and 400 thread count. 

The thread count goes higher, even up to 1,000 thread count, but sometimes those numbers are inflated and you can find a great set of sheets that are in the 200-300 thread count range. 

A sheet with 200-400 thread count done with combed cotton (a process that combs the cotton and removes short fibers while leaving long fibers) will be excellent and still very comfortable to sleep in, as opposed to lower quality bed sheets with a higher thread count.

Types of Bed Sheets

There are different types of bed sheets, but cotton sheets are the most popular and readily available type of bed sheets.

Cotton- Cotton sheets come in many different weaves and thread counts. This type of bedding ranges from super comfortable and soft, to not so cozy at all. It’s important to feel the sheets before buying and to know how to wash the new sheets to make them as soft as possible.

Flannel– Flannel sheets are made of cotton, but they are created using a certain weave that makes them incredibly soft and cozy.

Percale– This weave is a lighter weave that is great for hot sleepers that tend to get night sweats. 

Silks– This fabric is great on the skin, great for anti aging, and wonderful for finding the “cool spot” that you know you look for in the middle of the night. Silk sheets are high-quality sheets that are a true luxury item.

Linen– Linen sheets are made of a breathable fabric and is a great choice if you are wanting natural fibers, but it is one of those that needs to be washed to increase the comfort of the fabric. I share below the best way to wash new sheets to increase the comfort factor.

Should You Wash New Sheets?

Washing new sheet sets isn’t an absolute necessary thing to do, but it is good practice and will give you a better night’s sleep while removing harmful chemicals. 

During the manufacturing process of bedding, chemicals and additives are often used to process the bedding. It’s always a good idea to give the new bedding a quick wash before using.

Washing all of that out removes any excess dye, chemical residues and smell from the sheets prior to use. It also reduces the likelihood of any skin irritation that might come from sleeping in unwashed sheets or from having sensitive skin.

Washing sheets also relaxes the fibers- even the fibers that feel soft and silky to the touch in the package, but feel gummy or scratchy if not washed before dressing the bed.. It’s worth it to take a bit of time and launder your linens prior to sleeping in them so that they are clean and fresh.

new bedding needs to be washed in a master bedroom

How to Wash New Sheets

Always look at the care instructions before washing new bed sheets. Some luxury brands have specific washing instructions, so be sure to wash those the right way. 

If you have a standard type of bedding, washing should be simple and straight forward.

  1. Laundry Detergent– Use a gentle detergent when you first wash your new bedding or duvet covers. Use a “quick wash” wash cycle and then move on to step 2 and wash using baking soda as you normally would.
  2. Baking Soda– Wash your sheets for the first time using 1 cup of baking soda. Use warm water or cold water and give your new sheets a wash with baking soda. This helps clean your new sheets and even works great on older sheets!
  3. Vinegar– Vinegar is an amazing fabric softener. Put 1 cup of white vinegar in the “fabric softener” section of your washing machine and allow this to work its magic during the rinse cycle. It’s best to use warm or hot water for this vinegar rinse. This will not only freshen the sheets, but it will also remove any harmful substances that are on the cotton fibers of the bedding. 
  4. Fabric Softener– If you don’t want to use vinegar, but you still want soft sheets, try a natural fabric softener, such as The Laundress.
  5. Dryer Balls– Dryer balls help to fluff and break up sheets in the drying process. This softens and relaxes the fibers, creating a softer sheet to sleep on. If you won’t have dryer balls, a couple of tennis balls would work, too!
  6. Dryer Sheets– If you are wanting ultra soft sheets, dryer sheets will give your sheets a pleasant smell and softer sheets. Be sure to dry on low heat if you have sheets made of delicate fabrics.
  7. Air Dry– If you are in a location and in a season where air drying is applicable, this is a great way to air out sheets and freshen them up. The sun does amazing things when it comes to sanitizing cotton.

After you do this initial wash, launder your bedding as usual using the recommended amount of detergent.

If you need to freshen your sheets, repeat according to these cleaning instructions.

washing your new garnet hill sheets

How Often Should you Wash Sheets?

How often you should wash your sheets is a personal preference, but washing bed linens weekly is the most acceptable practice. 

Even though many people shower before going to bed, we spend hours in our sheets and they need to be laundered on a regular basis to remove dust mites, body oils, or dead skin cells.

If you can’t wash all of your bedding weekly, try washing the pillow cases weekly so they are clean when you lay your head down on them. 

How to Fold Fitted Sheets

It’s always a good practice to have one extra set of sheets. This way, you have a set ready to go when you are laundering your current set of bedding. 

A constant struggle for homemakers is knowing how to fold a fitted sheet so that it isn’t a wadded up mess.

I remember when my sister showed me how to fold a fitted sheet for the first time. I couldn’t believe that fitted sheets could actually lay flat. My linen closet thanks me for learning.

Folding a fitted sheet isn’t hard once you know the secret to getting it flat and folded. I have a video to accompany this process because it’s one of those things that is easier to show than to simply instruct. 

  1. Fold the fitted sheet in half, width-wise, tucking the corners into one another. 
  2. Fold the sheet in half, length-wise, tucking the corners into one another, again.
  3. Flatten and press the sheet with your hands to eliminate any bumps or wrinkles. 
  4. Fold until it is the size you are wanting. 

Posts you’ll love

Pin for later

a bed with white and blue bedding on it

Similar Posts


  1. Hello!
    Love this post, vinegar is my go to as well!
    Can you tell me about your quilt and quilted pillow cases?

  2. Great post. I’m with you in that I love fresh sheets. I’ve started to exclusively sleep on organic linen sheets and it’s a game changer. Lots of great information on this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.