There’s no doubt that crisp, white bed linen looks great in a bedroom - there’s a good reason why most luxury hotels opt for simple white linen on their beds. It implies a feeling of quality and luxury, and also cleanliness, which currently is high up on everybody’s lists of priorities around the home.
Many people believe they sleep better on clean, fresh laundry, so white bed linen also inspires the feeling you will sleep well that night. A bed dressed in white also looks light and reflects light around the rest of the room, making it feel more spacious and airy.
But how do you keep your sheets looking as clean as they did when they came out of the packet, and how do you prevent them from going grey? Follow our five step plan:
1: Protect your bed linen
They say prevention is better than cure and this is certainly the case with white bed linen. Try not to eat in bed if you can, to prevent food stains landing on your bedding - coffee and tea stains can be notoriously difficult to remove.
If you have a pet, encourage them to sleep in their own bed, rather than jumping on yours with their muddy paws!
Also make sure you properly remove your make-up before bed as residues can leave yellow stains on your pillows and the top of your duvet cover.
If you do get stains on your bed linen make sure you treat the stain quickly. This will increase your chances of removing it rather than letting it settle into the fibres.
2: Keep them white by getting the wash right
The first step in laundering your white bed linen is to make sure your washing machine is totally clean. Run the ‘drum clean’ cycle if you have one. And always make sure you are washing whites with whites - double check you have no coloured socks lurking in the drum of the machine before you start the cycle.
Use good quality washing powder or liquid detergents and consider adding a second agent, like Napisan, which uses oxygen to help remove stains and brighten whites. (For any heavy stains on your bed linen, soak them overnight before washing). Avoid the use of chemical bleach on your sheets as it can damage the fibres and it has a chemical reaction to protein stains like sweat that can make those stains appear more yellow.
With good quality washing powder, you can launder your bed linen at lower temperatures which will help protect the fibres. Unless your bed linen is heavily stained, washing at 40℃ should be adequate because washing powders and liquids are made to perform at lower temperatures these days. Choose a ‘cotton’ cycle which is high agitation to really clean your sheets and has a high spin setting to remove some of the water from them before you hang them out to dry.
Always use the correct dosage of your washing powder as this will ensure your bed linen is cleaned properly and can prevent your whites from going grey.
3: Consider natural assistance
To help remove stubborn stains, add lemon juice to your wash along with your normal washing powder or liquid. Approximately a quarter of cup will help shift marks because of the citric acid in the lemon.
Another alternative is adding bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to the wash - these are both natural brighteners which should help to bring the freshness back to your whites.
4: Dry your white bed linen in sunshine
Once you’ve washed your sheets, try to dry them outside in the sunshine if possible - the sun acts as a natural bleaching agent, brightening your whites even more. Hanging your sheets on a line can also help to remove creases as they blow in the breeze, minimising the need for ironing which is better for the fibres. Similarly to protect the fibres, try to avoid using the tumble dryer where possible.
5: Wash every two weeks
Make sure you wash your bed linen regularly as skin cells, sweat and oils, as well as other stains, will stick to the fibres more stubbornly the longer they are left on there. Aim for at least every fortnight.
What fabrics are best for staying white?
Natural fabrics like cotton, linen and hemp can be washed at higher temperatures which remove stains, so these are a good option if you prefer bright, white bedlinen. Always check the label for washing instructions though and be careful to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations.
What makes your white bed sheets go grey?
There are several reasons your whites may go grey. Firstly, not separating your coloured washing from your whites can allow the colour to transfer onto your white bed linen. Or if you have heavily soiled items which you wash with your whites, this can sometimes cause the dirt to transfer across. Overloading your washing machine can prevent it from cleaning your whites properly because items can’t move as freely around the drum and so dirt is not removed as well. Or if you use the incorrect amount of detergent, limescale and soap scum may accumulate on your whites giving them a grey coating.
So to keep your whites whiter than white this Summer, follow these simple instructions for an Instagram worthy bed! If you are looking to replicate this Instagram trend, check out Soak&Sleep’s white bed linen pages here. And if you want to know more about fabrics which do not need ironing, read our blog on easy-care products here.