How to wash sheets

Many people know how to wash sheets but may not realize how important it is to do this frequently. It is an overlooked chore in the face of the other laundry that inundates a home. How often do YOU wash your sheets? Most people wash their sheets once every few weeks. If you're one of them, I've got bad news. You already know what it is: that is not enough. To destroy the flesh-eating microscopic bugs like dust mites, you need to wash your sheets at least weekly. Twice a week is best.

Dust mites don't carry disease or bite, but many people are allergic to their feces. They can exacerbate respiratory problems. They eat the dead skin that we leave on our sheets, and there can be hundreds of thousands of dust mites in your mattress and sheets right now. Are you grossed out yet? Don't panic. Just wash your sheets often.

Convinced? Okay, here's how to wash sheets

Most sheets are cotton or a cotton blend. If you have fancier sheets that cannot withstand hot water, you have a choice to make. Fancy sheets or dust mites? Bed sheets and linens need to be washed in hot water, at least 140 degrees.

1. Strip your bed of the top sheet, bottom (fitted) sheet, and pillowcases (your blankets, bedspread and comforter should be washed on a regular basis as well, but less frequently because they don't come into direct contact with your skin)

2. Wash sheets in the washing machine on hot—at least 140 degrees Farenheit/60 degrees Celsius. Check your water heater temperature to make sure it's this hot when you want it hot.

3. Promptly remove your sheets from the washer and dry them. Damp sheets can invite mold and other problems that thrive in moist environments. At this point, you can either hang sheets out to dry on a laundry line (as long as they are in direct sunlight). The easier method is to thoroughly dry them in a clothes dryer. Dust mites are killed in high temperatures, so the sustained high heat of the washing and drying process is important.

4. Promptly fold sheets and store.
Some people store their sheets in an zippable plastic bag or case. I fold the top and bottom sheets and stuff them into one of the pillowcases, and store them in a drawer. Also consider reducing the number of sheets per bed to just two. That's all you really need in this process—one set for the bed and one set in storage.

Your bed should be a sanctuary. You shouldn't have to worry about creepy crawlies. If you know how to wash sheets thoroughly and regularly, you are safe from these critters. Wash your sheets at least weekly. When you teach your kids to do their own laundry, make sure they strip their beds and wash their sheets as well.

Go to How to Clean Walls from How to Wash Sheets