Q. How long should my bed sheets last?
This is a question we’re asked frequently by innkeepers who are attempting to keep their costs to a reasonable minimum, and also by customers who only plan to use their bed sheets at home.
No matter who’s doing the asking, though, it’s a wise question to ask. Because bed sheets—especially well-made and comfortable bed sheets—can be costly. And for both hospitality and home use, most experts recommend having a minimum of three sets of sheeting per bed: one on the bed, one in the wash, and one in the closet. In between each use, we recommend laundering and then storing your linens in a well-ventilated space.
But take heart: With proper care, fine bed linens can last for many years, regardless of whether you’re using them exclusively in the home, or in a busy hotel or inn with a heavy guest turnover.
To ensure that your bed sheets will last as long as possible, alternate the use of each set on a weekly basis for home use. For innkeepers, of course, sheets need to be changed each time a guest checks out and a new guest arrives. Depending on the level of turnover, innkeepers will find that the majority of their sheets need to be replaced much sooner than a homeowner will need to replace hers.
For best results when laundering, use a non-chlorine bleach and a gentle liquid detergent not a fabric softener as it will lessen the life of the fabric and add a substance that does not allow the fabric to breathe. Wash on a gentle cycle with warm water, then tumble dry until slightly damp.
Pro tip: Over drying or drying on too hot a setting is the single biggest factor in reducing the life of your sheets. This is why we suggest taking your sheets out while slightly damp. Once smoothed and folded, most sheeting will be less wrinkled. Again, you can touch up with an iron on the hem of the flat sheet and pillowcase hem.