Should you wash new bedding before using it: The ‘right way’ to ‘remove dust and dirt’

Clean bedding is a small luxury many people enjoy but it’s not just used sheets that need to be washed. In fact, according to experts, new linens are just as prone to harboring bacteria and dirt as older sets. They explained that smoothing them across the mattress before being laundered in the washing machine could affect both the quality of your sleep and your health.

While you may not think to wash sheets pulled straight out of their packaging before you use them, “it is absolutely necessary”, according to Christian Alexander, the president and CEO of Nest Bedding.

He said: “This way, you remove the dust and dirt they may have accumulated while in the factory or on the shelf at the store.” This is particularly important for those with sensitive skin who may be allergic or irritated by the residual chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

But it’s not just the cleanliness of new sheets that can be an issue if you choose not to launder them before use, in fact, the way they feel to touch may also be affected.

A laundry expert at In The Wash said: “One culprit of this is a starch known as ‘sizing’. This starch is used to keep sheets smooth in their packaging to maintain that attractive, fresh look. This starch is what can make some bed Sheets feel scratchy when they are first taken out of the packet.”

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They added that another reason to consider washing bed sheets fresh out of their packaging is to check for defects in the design. This could be anything from a small tear or badly attached button to a snag in the stitching – all of which will be easy to spot after a trip to the washing machine.

When it comes to actually doing your laundry, the bedding expert noted the importance of cleaning your sheets the “right way” to ensure they are actually free from unpleasant particles rather than just smelling fresh.

Christian explained that the easiest way to do this is to either follow the manufacturer’s instructions or use “the hottest water possible” if these are unclear.

However, if your bedding is particularly bright and colourful, you should use a warm rather than hot cycle to ensure the fabric stays vibrant while also deep cleaning it.

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The laundry experts added that if you want to, you can ditch detergent altogether at this stage and only use baking soda in the wash cycle for natural freshness.

To dry the sheets, either leave them outside in the fresh air on a warm day or place them in a tumble dryer to speed up the process.

You can add a dryer sheet into the machine to help further soften the material and reduce static on your bed linens. According to the In The Wash expert, many dryer sheets are also scented which can help reduce any manufacturing smells that may linger after washing.

If you really want your sheets to look packet-fresh but without the stiff feeling, ironing is a great way to instantly revive the fabric – and also warm it up.

It’s not just bed linens that need to be laundered before you lay them out on your mattress either. Pillows should also be put in the wash before use for the same reasons.

Though most of the reasons that new pillows might be unclean are not apparent to the naked eye they can have chemicals, dust mites, and more lurking in the fibres.

As with bed sheets, the first step to washing new pillows is to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tag. However, as a general rule, most pillows can be thrown into the washing machine on a gentle cycle.

Cleaning two at the same time will keep the machine balanced and prevent lumpiness in the foamy filling.

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