The packaging on new sheets often advises the owners to wash before use. This may seem odd as the sheets look and feel very clean. But the neat and clean folded look these sheets is due to the chemicals present in the fabric, including some of same chemicals used in dry cleaning, such as formaldehyde, butane and propane. As these substances are unhealthy for us over time it is best to remove them as soon as possible. Breathing them in as we sleep sounds like a bad idea, especially for those who find it might aggravate allergies.
Many people also find new sheets rather stiff and prefer the feel of softer fabric when trying to sleep. This is another good reason to wash them straight away.
When sheets are New.
- Before using the first time, wash the sheets with baking soda rather than detergent. Detergent can cause the chemicals to stiffen the sheets. Washing with baking soda get almost all of the chemical residue out on the first attempt. One small cup of baking soda is usually fine.
- Wash the sheets by themselves, with plenty of space in the machine. Use a regular, warm wash.
- If you want really soft sheets then use the machine rinse cycle on cold and add a cup of white vinegar.
- Let the sheets dry on the clothes line. The airing out will help.
- Rewashing with laundry detergent will make the sheets softer.
To Soften Sheets further
Sheets will soften over time with each wash. If you prefer to soften them a quickly as possible then:
- Soak the sheet in borax solution overnight, rinse and sundry. 6 tablespoons of borax for a tub of cold water should be sufficient.
- Else, soak the sheets in salt water, rinse and dry. A few tablespoons of salt, or about two Handfuls, in cold water is fine.
- Else, use Epson salts. Soak in cold water with 50g of Epson salt overnight. Mix the Epson salts in by stirring for several minutes.
Our homes have a great deal of chemical toxins in them, brought in by carpets, furniture, curtains and other manufactured products like bed linen. Proper techniques can massively reduce our exposure to these chemicals and all but remove allergy and health concerns.