Cleaning sheets are one thing, but if you’re the proud new owner of brand new Egyptian, Italian or Pima cotton bed sheets, you may find that they’re a bit stiff. In order to keep the sheets pristine and new in their plastic packaging, manufacturers may sometimes treat them with temporary chemicals that can easily be washed out. This will make your sheets crisp and fresh when you take them out.
These chemicals aren’t harmful, but it never hurts to wash them before putting them on your bed. In fact, that’s the best way to get your sheets softer and feeling as if you’ve slept in them a few times. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your sheets softened up, and there are a few special ways to do it. It’s all very easy to do! It’s a matter of adding a few things to your wash. Keep in mind to always check the manufacturer’s instructions and tags before doing anything to them, though.
After you’ve taken your sheets out of their packaging, the first thing you’ll want to do is wash them whether they smell clean or not. As said above, manufacturers sometimes put chemicals in the sheets to keep bacteria and microbes from them, so you’ll want to get those off. Make sure you put your sheets in the washing machine by themselves if your cotton sheets can be washed.
Softening Baking Soda
Rather than using detergent when washing your new sheets, add a cup of baking soda. This stuff is great, considering its absorptive properties. It will get all of those chemicals out of your high quality, ELS cotton, whether it’s Pima cotton or Egyptian cotton, and will not damage your sheets. Near the rinsing cycle, feel free to add a cup of white vinegar as well. This will assist in getting those last bits of chemicals out. Rinse them again afterward to get the vinegar out.
If you have a clothes line outside or somewhere to hang them up, it will only assist to soften your cotton sheets. The heat from the sun will cause your cotton fibers to loosen a bit by expanding. The gentle breeze will also embed your sheets with a wonderful fresh-air smell. After they are dry, be sure to put them on your bed immediately to prevent wrinkling.
Salt is another great way to get the stiffness out of your sheets. In a quart of cold or slightly warm water, add a cup of salt into it. Let it sit for about three days and then take them out. The salt should get into the fabric and soften it a bit more.
After you do any of the things above, feel free to put them in the washing machine once more. Using about half the amount of recommended detergents, wash your bed sheets or Pima cotton clothing and let them run normally on the gentle setting. This will get any remaining baking soda, salt, or vinegar out of your sheets that may still be there.
One of the biggest mistakes that one can make is assuming that your sheets are machine washable. If you do this without checking the manufacturer’s warning, you may ruin your new sheets of $150-200. Always check the tags!
Something else to keep in mind is to not use fabric softener to soften your Pima cotton sheets. This can damage the extra-long fibers in the cotton, so just use regular detergent and oxygen bleach if your sheets aren’t dyed.