Friday, February 16, 2018

How to Care for Your White Bedding

How to Care for Your White Bedding

How to Care for Your White Bedding

I have all-white bedding. Am I crazy? I'm not so sure. I might be. Especially becuase I am someone who enjoys drinking my coffee in bed... coffee and white linens are certainly not a good pair. 

Then, I got Henry, and doggies and white linens are equally not a good pair! I have been doing my fair share of research and trial and error to figure out how to keep my white bedding looking fresh and white and I think I have come up with some really good tips and tricks. 

You are probably thinking, why not just get printed or colored bedding... and while that would probably be easier or make more sense, I just really love the crispness and sophistication of white bedding. It makes me feel like I am staying in a nice hotel! 

So here are some of my tips and tricks and if you have any to share, I'd love to hear about them in the comments! 

Wash your bedding completely separate from everything else. 
Then you can completely tailor and customize the products you are using to clean your linens for your bedding and there's no chance of any type of color transfer from anything else. 

Use detergent sparingly.
You may think that using more detergent equals cleaner linens, but over time, detergent can cause a yellowish tinge to form in pure white linens. I use the bare minimum... a tide pod for all of your white bed linens is plenty! 

Use hot water, always. 
I am a huge fan of hot water for most of my loads of laundry because hot enough water can kill bacteria! This is especially true for your bedding! 

Use Dawn soap.
My grammie taught me this one. If you notice your fabric yellowing around the top of the linens where your face and hands are, dab that area with regular blue Dawn dish soap and toss it in the washer. The dish soap will remove oil which is what is making those areas appear yellow. I also do this on any food stains on my clothes (like dressing stains) and it works like a charm. 

Use Lemon juice for a brightening boost.
This is a tip I learned from my mother. The acidity in lemon juice will kill bacteria and brighten your whites. It really does work. I just use lemon juice from a bottle!

Use Bleach Sparingly.
Bleach is great, sometimes. But it can often ruin fabric fibers and shorten the life of your linens becuase it is corrosive. A little goes a long way and if you find that it is not working, try soaking your items in a small amount of bleach diluted with water. The soaking will really let it work into your fiber without having to use a high concentration of chemicals. 

OxyClean is Your Best Friend. 
I swear by OxyClean. Sometimes, I think it works better than bleach and you don't even need to use a detergent pod when you're using OxyClean. The infomercials are actually right and they make your whites whiter! I use it in a regular wash cycle, but you can also do a soak similar to how you would soak with bleach. 

Rotate your bedding. 
I only have one white duvet, but I change my sheets at least once a week (but honestly, I'm a little nuts and change them every 3-4 days). I have 4 sets of white sheets so they can be rotated. That way, they aren't yellowing as quickly (so instead of using and washing the same set of sheets for 365 days a year, each set is only used about 91 days a year). 

Steam or Iron your bedding.
This sounds laborious and it kind of is, but it's so worth it. I've been doing this for years and it makes your bedding look so much crisper. Heat also kills germs, so one more reason to get to it! I like both a steamer and an Iron. A steamer is great for things like pillows, but an iron is especially good for the flat area of your bed/mattress. I do it while the bed is made and in place so you can make sure everything is looking good! 

Pair bedding with cool tones.
I'm not so sure this makes a huge difference, but it's science. Pair your whites with colors like grays, blues, etc. The cool colors will make your whites appear brighter and a warmer tone will bring out the yellow tinge in your whites. This is similar to when you are setting a diamond. A diamond that is not totally clear in color should be set in white gold or platinum. Setting a diamond that is not great in color in yellow gold will only magnify the tinge to the diamond (in case you are wondering, you can still have a gold band, but the actual diamond mount/prongs should be done in white gold or platinum). 

For fur, use a fur tool. 
Henry sleeps with me every night. He also sheds and his fur drives me NUTS. This is a pain, but, every single morning, I use this reusable lint remover tool. It really works (much better than the sticky lint rollers) and is very quick and easy to use! That way there is no build up of his fur (which has oils on it and can lead to yellowing of white fabrics). 


Lauren said...

it's amazing how much lemon juice really does work!


Ryann said...

I tried ironing my sheets once and it was an incredible feelings but so much work! I started sending my sheets off to the dry cleaners and they press them for you and it's incredible!

Rachel Thelen said...

I love white bedding! I just ordered myself some new white bedding from Pottery Barn a few weeks ago. Do you have a favorite pillow that you love? I can never seem to find a pillow that I like. They all seem to bunch up half way through the night or go flat.

TLA said...

I'm with you on all-white sheets and all-white towels! I also believe that 100% cotton sheets (look for Supima or Pima, rather than the generic 'Egyptian', which is not a regulated term) are softer and wear better (a percale weave is more durable than a sateen weave). Also, contrary to what some think, a higher thread count doesn't mean a better quality sheet--and in fact, high thread counts are less breathable, which can make for hotter sleep and necessitate more frequent washing! For most people, a 300-400 thread count is ideal.

Your grandmother is correct about blue Dawn! I won't bore you with a chemistry lesson on lipids, membrane proteins, and detergents, but another great use for Dawn is a stain remover on white fabrics (sheets, upholstery, carpet, white clothing). We discovered this hint years ago when one of my best friends was at her wits end and had banned red wine from the inside of her rented condo that unfortunately had white carpet! (Too many dinner party accidents--she did allow red in her tiled sunroom, but the rest of the place was a white wine only zone!)

If you don't already know the recipe, it's simple: a clean, empty spray bottle, and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part blue Dawn. Shake gently to mix, then set aside for a day or so until the solution turns color from bluish to translucent white, then it is ready for use! (Make sure that you label the bottle so people know what is in it.) To remove stains, just saturate with spray and launder as usual, or spot clean in the case of upholstery and rugs/carpet. You can literally spray this on a red wine stain and watch it disappear before your eyes! It is only recommended for use on natural fabrics like cotton and linen, and as with anything, spot test before using. I can't tell you how many pairs of white pants or white tops have been saved by this!

Caroline Lee Smith said...

Love this! I'm also partial to white bedding and use all of these. One thing I'd recommend too is Mrs. Stewart's Bluing. It's this intense blue liquid you add to the washer before putting the clothes in (make sure it's fully mixed), but it neutralizes any yellowing in your whites and is magic.


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