Of all the bedsheet choices you can make, Egyptian cotton bed sheets are considered by many to be the most comfortable, soft, and durable. While certainly not a budget choice – a good set is one of the more expensive options you can choose – when taken care of properly they can last for many years, offering a great return on your investment. Proper care will include keeping them clean, leaving many people asking how to wash Egyptian cotton sheets if they have not done so before.
The good news is that washing Egyptian cotton sheets is not hard, nor does doing so call for special equipment or dry cleaning. In fact, ease of care is one of the (many) reasons those crisp, white Egyptian cotton sheets are the choice of the vast majority of hotels.
However, you do have to wash them with some caution if you do not want to damage them or decrease their useful life, as we are going to discuss in more detail here.
How to Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Even though it often looks and feels like those hotel sheets are brand new, the fact is that hotels make use of the same Egyptian cotton sheets repeatedly, not because they are special sheets, but because their laundry specialists know just the right way to wash them.
Their ‘secrets’ for doing so are not so complex, either. Here’s a step by step look at how they wash Egyptian cotton sheets that you can easily replicate at home.
Pretreating Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Over time, if you are not careful, white Egyptian cotton sheets will yellow, and colored ones may fade. To prevent this, you can make use of a very old-fashioned product – Borax – added to your washing machine as you add the sheets. You only need a half cup, and not only will this clever stuff prevent yellowing and fading, but it can also address existing yellowing and help even older cotton sheets look whiter and brighter.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the hotter the water you use to wash Egyptian cotton sheets, the better. That, however, is not the case. Have you ever struggled to put a shrunken fitted sheet on your bed because it was washed in really hot water? It is not easy, and very hot water may permanently harm the cotton fibers.
To get your Egyptian cotton sheets clean without shrinking them, use a lower temperature – your sheet’s washing label will provide the best guidance – and a laundry detergent designed to whiten and brighten in colder water temperatures – All Free and Clear is a fantastic choice, plus it is also hypoallergenic, another plus.
Egyptian Cotton Sheet Drying Concerns
You can tumble dry Egyptian cotton sheets, but again, do not make use of the hottest setting. A low-heat cycle will get the job done, even if it takes a little longer. High-quality Egyptian cotton sheets tend to soften over time anyway, but if you are dryer sheet fan making use of them will not usually harm your sheets, although an all-natural wool dryer ball will often do a better job and is far more eco-friendly as they can be reused for months!
Do be careful not to over dry your sheets if you are machine drying them. If they are hot to the touch when you remove them it means you had them in there for too long! If you do this too often, you will cause shrinkage that could have been avoided if you had kept a closer eye and removed the sheets from the dryer as soon as they were dry.
In the spring and summer, if you have the chance, hanging your Egyptian cotton sheets outside to dry them will not only save you money on your energy bills – thanks to less dryer use – but can also help extend their useful life, as even careful machine drying will weaken cotton fibers over time.
How Often Should You Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
Ideally, any bed sheets that are used on a daily basis should be washed at least once a week, and the same is true for duvet covers. Good Housekeeping advises to wash bed sheets “at least once every two weeks”, however that comes with a caveat. If you tend to sweat a lot that “you should increase this to once weekly.”
Although you might not be able to see anything – and in fact, your sheets might look quite clean – sweat and other bodily fluids, as well as dead skin cells build up quickly, resulting in a grimy sheet that is as gross as it sounds. Sharing your bed with a pet or a loved one is another thing you have to consider.
If you suffer from acne, unclean bed sheets and pillowcases might “disrupt your skin’s ecosystem” according to dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. due to the overgrowth of bacteria.
When it comes to guidelines for how often to wash Egyptian cotton pillow cases Women’s Health writes that the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD) “also suggests changing your pillow cases two to three times a week, too”.
As they are very durable, your Egyptian cotton will stand up to the frequent washing well, as long as you follow the guidelines for laundering them we just discussed.
How Much Will Egyptian Cotton Shrink?
All natural fibers will shrink a little when they are first washed, and Egyptian cotton is included in that. That having been said, when laundered properly Egyptian cotton should not shrink a particularly noticeable amount, unlike some microfiber or polyester sheets can.
Do Egyptian Sheets Get Softer with Washing?
One thing some people dislike about new Egyptian cotton sheets is that they can feel a little TOO stiff. Like most cotton, they will soften with washing, not as much as linen, but that very crisp feel usually fades. This is not a sign that the sheets have anything wrong with them by the way, it’s just what cotton does!
How To Soften Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
If you remove your new Egyptian cotton sheets from their packaging and they are too stiff for your liking, you could consider washing them before use to soften them a little. If you make use of the dryer balls we mentioned earlier, when you do so they will do an excellent job of softening the sheets without adding strong chemical smells or overpowering scents.
How To Iron Egyptian Cotton Bed Sheets?
When Egyptian cotton is slightly damp, it is easier to much easier to iron. Do not leave your cotton in the tumble dryer for an extended period of time; instead, remove it as soon as the cycle is through. The longer you keep them in there, the more creases will form and become more difficult to remove. If you can line dry instead, try to do so, as the air circulation and breeze will do much of the ‘dewrinkling’ for you.
Ironing bed linen, especially for queen and king-size beds, can be a daunting prospect. It can be very tempting to just skip the idea entirely, but your Egyptian cotton will not look its best if you do.
To make ironing – and handling – them easier, all you have to do is fold the sheets. If the fabric is slightly damp, the heat from even a low-temperature iron should be powerful enough to iron multiple layers. When you are finished, fold it again.
Egyptian cotton sheets that are ‘non-iron’ or ‘wrinkle-resistant’ are also available. These have been processed to make them simpler to iron while still remaining 100% Egyptian cotton, and you might want to choose these if you hate ironing in general!
How To Prevent Piling on Sheets
Piling on cotton sheets is ugly, and it can be uncomfortable on the skin too. Egyptian cotton is naturally quite pill resistant, and so it is not so much of a problem as it might be with other sheet types. What little pilling might occur can be minimized by washing your sheets regularly and avoiding the use of harsh detergents and very hot dryer temperatures.
How To Keep Fitted Sheets Tight?
Fitted sheets are supposed to do just that: fit. Fitted sheets that ride up can be seriously uncomfortable to try to sleep on, so you will obviously want to keep them as tight as possible.
The first way to avoid fitted sheet shift is to make sure that you have the right sized sheets. While the difference in size between a full-size sheet and a queen sheet, for example, is minimal, you will notice those few inches when it comes to trying to keep a fitted sheet in place!
If you are struggling to keep your fitted sheet tight even though it is the right size – maybe you have a shiny mattress topper – you can try making use of inexpensive sheet suspenders, as these will keep everything in place without adding extra bulk to your bedding set up! These are easy to use – they work just like old-fashioned sock suspenders – and will stretch easily to fit your bed.