How to wash bed sheets in washing machine

3 mins read
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3 mins read

Your bed should be a quiet, calm and clean oasis for you to rest your head and get some shut-eye. But keeping your bed clean can often be a challenge! Taking care of your bedding and washing your sheets correctly will help you sleep better and keep that fresh and clean feeling for longer. In this article, you’ll learn how to wash your bedsheets and keep them fresh and smelling great so you can snuggle down and snooze off.

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How to wash bed sheets in the washing machine

After a long hard day, there is nothing better than rolling into a bed made with clean, heavenly smelling and super fresh sheets. But to keep your bedding clean you need guidance on how to wash bed sheets correctly.

The first time you wash bed sheets, make sure you look at the fabric care label that will give you washing instructions such as water temperature. This is particularly important when it comes to washing satin sheets, or linen bedding which may have different washing instructions for sheets made from cotton or polyester.

  1. Strip the sheets to get ready for washing. Before washing your sheets, read the care label to ensure you check the proper heat settings for washing and drying. You should also check for any stains before washing sheets, especially on pillowcases which often carry makeup residue. If your sheets are stained, you can pre-treat them with a stain remover.

  2. Next, make sure you wash your light-coloured sheets separately from dark items and then load your sheets into the washing machine. It may be tempting to wash all your family's bedding in one load, but you'll need to do a couple to get the job done right.

  3. New machines can have so many incredible features, so it can be hard to know what setting to wash your bed sheets on. So before washing sheets check your washing machine to see if it has a dedicated bedding cycle. If it doesn’t, select the "normal" cycle instead of the heavy-duty option, which can cause tangling and excessive wrinkling.

  4. Wash bed sheets with the hottest water temperature setting listed on the care label. Polyester blends are best washed using warm water, while cotton fabrics can tolerate hotter water. Hot water kills most germs and takes care of dust mites that thrive in bedding, so it’s worth turning up the heat to the temperature your bed sheets can tolerate.

  5. To soften your bed linen and give it an amazing and long-lasting heavenly smell, you should use a fabric conditioner like Lenor, which prevents static by lubricating the fibres to reduce friction. A good fabric conditioner also helps reduce washing machine-induced wrinkles.

  6. Using the cap provided, dose the right amount of fabric conditioner for your load size, adding it into the fabric softener compartment before you start your washing cycle.

  7. For a load of 4-5kg, 35ml is enough. As you add a bigger or smaller load, you can adjust the amount of fabric conditioner; more will ensure more softness and freshness.

  8. Finally add your detergent. To wash away stubborn stains and get an outstanding clean try Ariel Original All-in-1 PODS® which have everything you need when you wash bed sheets giving you clean, bright and fresh-smelling bedding thanks to a tiny but powerful capsule.

  9. Once your washing cycle is finished, fold and store your sheets somewhere dry until you're ready to put them on your bed.

How often should you wash your sheets in a washing machine?

This is a frequently asked question, and the answer is…regularly! This is because bedding accumulates dead skin cells, dust mites and body oils which contain bacteria and can cause skin irritation. Also, a bed that smells and feels clean is conducive to a better night's sleep.

If you wear pyjamas or bath before bedtime your sheets can be changed weekly or every two weeks, but you should never go longer with unwashed sheets. And, if you eat in bed, sleep with your pet or perspire heavily, you may need to wash your sheets in your washing machine once a week.

How often should you wash your bedding if you have allergies?

The answer is even more regularly. If you wake up with a stuffy nose or have breathing difficulties, you should try washing your sheets twice a week to clear the accumulated dust mites and skin cells.

And if there is household illness or you’ve got a case of headlice or bed bugs, sheets should be changed and washed on a hot washing machine cycle daily.

Common mistakes to avoid when washing bed sheets

When you’re using washing your bedding, it’s worth trying to avoid these common mistakes!

  1. Overloading the washing machine

    – Sheets need to circulate in washing machines to get clean otherwise they won’t get properly soaked in water and washing detergent. You can probably wash several sets of bedding together but don’t cram more in.

  2. Using the wrong washing and temperature setting on the washing machine

    – You don’t need to opt for a heavy-duty washing setting unless your sheets are heavily stained or soiled. A normal setting is shorter and gentler on sheets and does the job just as well. When it comes to temperature, check the washing labels for guidance. Generally, a hotter setting is recommended for sheets to get rid of any nasty bacteria.

  3. Over drying your sheets

    – Washing sheets is one thing but getting them dry can also cause problems. Over-drying sheets in a tumble dryer can cause them to shrink and create unnecessary wrinkles. Try tumble drying for the minimal amount of time to keep your sheets in tip top condition.

  4. Drying sheets with towels

    – Sheets dry faster than towels so it’s best not to put them in the tumble dryer together.

  5. Adding too much detergent

    – Washing sheets normally causes people to add too much detergent but this can leave your sheets feeling sticky.

  6. Not checking washing labels

    –To avoid doing any serious damage to your sheets make sure you check the guidance on your washing labels. To understand what your washing labels mean you can find out more information here.

Should you wash sheets in cold water or hot water?

To determine what temperature to wash bed sheets, check the care label on the garment for guidance on the water temperature.Washing sheets in cold water is often not advised because a higher temperature will help kill any bacteria that may lurk between the sheets. For heavily stained bed linen you should always wash your sheets in hot water on the highest recommended temperature setting.


There are a lot of common questions when it comes to how to wash bed sheets, so we thought we’d answer these for you!

  1. How to get blood out of sheets?

    Soak the stain in cold water as quickly as possible. If the stain is fresh, wash your sheets in cold water and keep it running to flush out the stain as much as possible. Then pour Ariel Liquid detergent on the stain, enough to completely cover it. You can pour directly from the bottle or use the dosing cap. Without washing off the detergent, put your sheets into the washing machine along with other similar coloured items. By leaving the detergent on the stain, you will boost wash performance and will have a higher chance of removing the stain. Wash with the usual cycle at the highest indicated temperature. Always make sure you follow the instructions for washing your sheets on the care label. Watch a Watch a video on how to remove blood stains from fabrics here.

  2. How to get yellow sheets white again?

    To take your sheets from yellow and stained to white, try running the stain with a mixture of three parts baking soda and one-part water and let it sit for a few hours. Once they’ve finished soaking, remove and put into your washing machine. The temperature to wash sheets with a yellow stain should be as high as the care label allows and add Ariel All-in-1 PODS. Use one POD for medium soiled clothes or loads of 4-5 Kg, and two PODs for heavily soiled clothes, loads over 5KG, or hard water areas

  3. How to wash linen sheets?

    When washing linen sheets, you want to know what temp to wash bedding and what setting to wash bed sheets, so here’s some helpful guidance. Always wash linen sheets on the gentlest cycle to help protect the natural fibres. Avoid washing your linens with heavy items such as jeans or towels and try not to overcrowd the washing machine with too many items at once as this can cause the linen fabric to lose its shape. The temperature to wash sheets should be cooler than cotton bedding, so switch your dial to 40 degrees Celsius, which will be enough to remove stubborn stains and kill any germs, but soft enough to look after your sheets. Linen dries quicker than cotton sheets, so hang them out as soon as your cycle has finished. If you choose to iron your linen sheets, make sure you do this while they’re still damp to get rid of creases

  4. What temperature to use for washing bed sheets?

    We spend a lot of time in our beds, so our sheets tend to become dirty quite quickly. Sheets should be washed at a warm temperature to kill bacteria. A good temperature to wash bed sheets is 40 degrees but a 60-degree wash will be better at killing germs and should be used if someone in the house has been ill. As always, it’s best to consult your bedding care labels for guidance on temperature.

  5. Should you wash new bedding?

    While it might be tempting to put your new sheets straight on the bed, it’s advised you wash them before you use them. New sheets can often harbour unwelcome particles like dust and dirt and may feel stiff, scratchy, and starched. So, while there’s no hard and fast rule about washing new bedding it’s strongly advised to do so and add a fabric softener like Lenor to get that heavenly soft feeling it.

  6. How to wash white sheets?

    Read all labels and make sure you understand all clothing care symbols to be sure you get the best wash for your white sheets. Most sheets can be washed at home in a washing machine, but some fabrics such as silk, might need more care. Make sure you separate your sheets by colour and only wash white sheets with other light colours. Add Ariel-All-in-1 PODS which have everything you need for an outstanding clean and add Lenor fabric softener to give you heavenly soft sheets that stay fresh for up to one week. Hang your sheets out to dry so they can breathe, dry fresh and smell great. Alternatively, if the care labels permit, you can put them in the dryer, using a high heat. For more tips on washing whites visit here.

  7. How to wash silk sheets?

    Silk is a delicate material so when it comes to washing bed sheets, a little more effort is required. Ideally you want to hand-wash your silk sheets to protect the delicate fibres. Fill a large basin or your bath with lukewarm water no hotter than 30 degrees Celsius because silk doesn’t like hot temperatures. Make sure you don’t wash your silk sheets with any other items to avoid fibre damage. To keep that silky feel, add a small dose of Lenor fabric enhancer along with a small dose of Ariel detergent. Mix with your hands before adding your sheets and gently swish these around the tub, avoiding scrubbing and twisting to prevent damage. Soak your sheets for a few minutes before removing and rinsing with fresh water. You may need to repeat this step several times. To dry your sheets, gently squeeze out any excess water and avoid twisting or wringing. Hand your sheets out to dry avoiding direct sunlight as this could cause discolouration. If you’re unable to hang dry your sheets, lay them on a clean and light-coloured towel.