Our Top Washing Tips

Hi, its Molly here, I am not really very good at writing content pieces for our website, BUT I need to get better at it. Harriet asked me to write something for you, and I chose washing, because believe it or not, I enjoy it. Not necessarily the act itself, but having a cupboard full of freshly washed and ironed textiles, makes my mind and home a happier place. One thing is for sure, we have been washing for a very long time.

Being a working Mum and running a business dedicated to textiles, laundry forms quite a big bit of my day, whether it be advising our customers on getting those creases out, testing different ways of washing 100% linen, researching the best detergents to use and, of course, washing and drying my own bedding at home. I am always learning and enjoying reading and sharing ideas and facts to make the task a little easier.

This month, we are focusing on renewing, re-inventing and refreshing, so here's a few laundry tips and questions answered, facts and snippets that I have found on my travels that will revitalize your bed linen, keep it looking great, and make you feel like you are king or queen of the laundry pile.

1. How often should I wash my sheets?

I’m putting this first because it’s the most asked question. Keep your bed sheets clean. I know this might sound obvious, but clean sheets on a weekly / fortnightly basis is a must, for many reasons, but mainly because...

A, it is the very best time of the whole week once it's done and the bed is freshly made, you can slide into bed for that very first clean sheets time and sigh with a very big smile.

And B, Because its more healthy for you and your family. Dust mites are our main bedroom hazard, dust mites feed on dead skin, of which you shed ½ oz each week. Keeping your sheets and bedroom clean means the little mites will have nothing to feed on.

How often is a question that we are asked often, and this does depend. Just like cleaning your own self, this does vary so here are a couple of considerations when deciding. You are what makes the bed dirty, so think about how clean you are when you jump in. If you are freshly showered every night before bed and wearing clean pj’s, once a fortnight should be fine. Otherwise, once a week is best and this always happens on a Friday in my house because I love the weekend fresh bed feeling. Harriet says Sundays are best, ready for a Monday morning. What's your preference?

2. What is the difference between biological and non-biological washing powder?

I always thought that biological powders were bad and Non-Bio powders were good. The fact is that they’re both great for cleaning, but for different reasons...

The difference is enzymes.

Biological powders contain enzymes. These are really good at breaking down the fatty, greasy, and starchy stuff that is found in some of the most common clothing stains such as pasta sauces, and oils. These enzymes work in the washing machine to remove marks from fabrics, making them excellent stain removers and a very welcome addition to laundry detergents, biological powders are great for removing tough stains and dirt.

Non-biological detergents do not contain these enzymes. However, good non-bio detergents will still contain great built-in cleaning power that will ensure your clothing and bedding comes out of the washing machine clean and fresh. These are also good for anyone who has sensitive skin.

Bearing in mind that your bed linen should not have the stains that your clothing might be susceptible to, non bio powders should be just fine for bed linen.

3. Should I use a fabric softener?

Everybody knows that using fabric conditioner makes your laundry feel softer, more bouncy, and more comfortable to sleep in. The softer the bedding the better for me, especially when sleeping in 100% linen. Fabric conditioner makes your clothes softer, and makes it smell fresh too! Softener will lessen the wrinkles in your bedding too, making it much easier to iron. All good? well no, not quite; using softener means that you are adding more chemicals to your wash and fabrics. This costs you more, is not great for the environment and can also stop the fabric from being as absorbent, something that you might want from your bed linen during the summer months.For example, we would recommend that you never use a softener with your towels.

I am on a fabric softener journey at the moment, trying to find alternatives (vinegar ??) so if you have any tips or facts to share with us, please send them our way so we can be better informed about softeners and whether we should be using them at all??.

4. Is it ok to tumble dry my bedlinen?

Its fine, all of our bed linen can be tumble dried. We recommend a low temperature. Most textiles will shrink a little in the washing/drying process, and hot temperatures will increase the shrinkage. Don’t overfill the dryer, friction inside the machine is what will wear your sheets and shorten their life. Don’t add towels to the dryer, these are the worse things to tumble along side other textiles because of their textured surface, they will cause more friction and wearing to your sheets. Line drying is always best if you can, a line full of fresh laundry blowing in the breeze is a wonderful thing, sit and watch it for a moment if its sunny.

5. What are Dryer balls?

I'm not even sure! I have only just discovered these myself, and I am investigating. These can be plastic or more excitingly made at home from wonderful wool. Felted woolly balls placed inside the machine for drying are claimed to reduce washing time and be a natural way to soften your clothes. Could these be the answer to losing the fabric softener? I'm going to give it a go and share my results here soon.

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6. Why should I do the ironing?

We all have an ironing basket that is never ending. In the bottom of that basket are things that you forgot that you had. I am trying, really hard, to do the ironing as it appears, right to the bottom of the pile. This makes my day better, knowing that everything is put away. Store your bed linen inside a pillowcase, pop it away neatly folded and it's all ready for the bed. Podcasts are great for ironing, plug yourself into a good conversation, get the iron out and you will learn something/be entertained at the same time.

7. What is ironing water?

Easier ironing? Protect your iron from limescale? Ironing Water is another product that we can spend our pennies on, but is there any real benefit. It makes your laundry smell nice however, if you've used a detergent that has a smell that you like, i'm not sure that there is any need for this. Makes ironing more enjoyable? A claim that I can't really see, although I can see why some would do all they can to improve their ironing life. Smooths away creases? Not more than water from my experience.

Watch this space as I am working on these, and trying some recipes and ideas for myself. Please let me know if you have made or used any of the above, and would like to share your results and laundry tips..please get in touch molly@secretlinenstore.com. I would love to hear from you.

Happy washing all, a freshly laundered bed is a wonderful place.


Image credits where possible, others from Pinterest, please shout if one is yours.

Washday with dolls clothes, Heather price.

Jordan smith, yard sale scrap book

Woman Wearing Apron, Carrying a Wicker Basket of Clean Laundry Outdoors H Armstrong Roberts

Mother and Daughter Doing Laundry Hanging Wash H Armstrong Roberts

Wife of farmstead farmer. Kearny, Nebraska." Thanks to my National Vacuum Washer, I barely have to lift a finger come laundry day! Or maybe not. Photo by Arthur Rothstein

https://www.firefliesandmudpies.com/ for instructions on hoe to make your own laundry dryer balls