Caring for Household Linens: Washing and Storing Sheets, Quilts, Pillows and Blankets

Household Linen
Michelle Tether
Written by Michelle Tether

Bed linens come in all sorts of fabrics and materials that require different methods of cleaning to get the best use from them. By following simple instructions, you can keep bedding hygienic, and make it last longer. You can take this as far as you like. In the image below, linen care has been turned into a decorative feature that could be used to spruce up a neutral room.

Linen decoration storage

Image source. Linen decorative storage

Silks, satins, wool and Egyptian cottons all need special care. The care instructions that came with your linen or are attached to your linen are really important here– if they are not attached to the linen, remove them from the packaging and tape inside a laundry cupboard where you store your fabrics. A neat linen storage room in a dark room that’s dry is ideal. The featured image by Oak Furniture Land shows the perfect way to keep linen and make it last longer. In this example the fabrics have been used as a cheap way to improve decoration. It really works.

Sheets and Pillowcases

The best advice if your not sure is to wash in cold or lukewarm water on a delicate cycle.

Hanging sheets on a clothesline is preferable, as it airs them well. Take the time to hang sheets evenly, aiding easy removal and folding.

If using a dryer, remove sheets as soon as they are dry, and fold immediately to prevent wrinkles. If sheets are left in a dryer until they cool, simply dry them for a few more minutes after including a damp cloth.

Caring for Household Linens

Image source. Caring for Household Linens

One idea for an organised linen cupboard is to store matching sets of bed linen together. Fold the sheet, fitted sheet and pillowcases, and place them inside one of the pillowcases. Alternatively just take a look at the image above. It’s quite clear the owner of this linen and consumables closet is really on the ball. I am quite envious of the finish.

A dryer sheet can be added to provide a gentle fragrance. Ensure that the linen cupboard is large enough to allow air to circulate and keep sheets fresh. Consider using cedar balls or shavings, or lavender sachets or even better dry your own from your indoor planting as they repel moths and bugs and are more pleasant smelling than chemical-based mothballs.

Comforters, Bedspreads and Pillows

Care of filled bedding items such as comforters and pillows will depend on the type of filling. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Bedspreads in particular are prone to shrinking when machine-washed, so dry clean only.

Fluff pillows and comforters daily to redistribute the filling. Air them weekly on a clothesline in the sun when possible to help eliminate bacteria. Consider using pillow covers underneath attractive pillowcases to further protect pillows. This will reduce your household cleaning bill as they’ll need cleaning less and last longer.

Some items require special care, and should only be taken to a dry cleaner – once a year is sufficient and should be part of your household cleaning budget. Look for one that specialises in bed linen.

Wash duvet covers as per sheets, again taking care to air them well and fold immediately upon removing from the clothesline or dryer. Here’s a really good image that shows exactly how to handle your linen. It’s not the sharpest, or best resolution but it shows the job done properly.

Linen folded correctly.

Linen folded correctly by

Store filled items in a breathable bag. Plastic bags trap moisture that can lead to mildew. Alternately comforters and pillows can be wrapped in an old sheet when stored.

Care of woollen blankets

Wool is not as popular for bedding as it once was, but the need for care should not prevent purchases of warm woollen blankets, as good care only requires following a few simple rules:

Always wash woollens in cold water, as heat can cause them to shrink.

Use a delicate cycle. Most modern washing machines have a setting specifically for woollens, making hand washing unnecessary. Always use a specialist wool wash. These often contain eucalyptus oil, which helps with repelling moths.

Do not tumble dry, but hang blankets over several lines of a clothesline as the flatter the blanket can be hung, the less likely it will lose its shape. Then simply fold and store with the rest of your linen.

Woolen blanket

Image source. Woollen blankets folded neatly.

Wool is particularly attractive to moths, so ensure wool blankets are washed and dried well and store in airtight storage bags or well-sealed chests with a good sprinkling of cedar shavings.
A simple bed linen cleaning and airing routine will ensure that linens last longer and remain fresh and clean.

Alternative storage ideas for linen

One of the best ways I have ever seen, and pure genius is to turn the stairs into a storage unit. See the image below, it’s much better than any description I could make.

Super cool storage linen storage solutions

Image source. Super cool storage linen storage solutions

This has to be one of the best ways to store I have seen. Because your stair case will not be too warm or cold, the access is easy, and in this example really clean. This is your ideal linen storage solution. Shoes go well at the lower levels, and higher up, near the bedroom, linen can be kept conveniently.

About the author

Michelle Tether

Michelle Tether

I love everything home. I write as a passion for non profit about the things I love.