With proper care, fine bed linens can last for many years. In order to assure the long life of your bed linens, it is best to alternate the use of each set on a weekly basis. Three sets of sheets for each bed is a good guideline to follow: one on the bed, one in the wash, one in the closet. In between each use, launder and store your linens in a well-ventilated space. For best when laundering, use a non-chlorine bleach and gentle liquid detergent. Wash on a gentle cycle with warm water. Line dry or tumble dry until slightly damp. Overdrying or drying on too hot is the single biggest factor in reducing the life of your sheets.
Mattresses vary in thickness. Some people put featherbeds on top of mattresses, and many new mattresses have pillow tops for additional depth. Standard and older mattresses average 9 to 12 inches, while newer pillow-top mattresses are 14 to 16 inches deep and up.
All cotton will shrink to some extent, but most suppliers will anticipate this by cutting the items larger to allow for shrinkage. With care and attention to washing methods your sheets should always fit your bed.
Many people do not iron their sheets, preferring the comfort of cotton and not minding its slightly wrinkled natural state. To help your sheets to look crisp as possible, be sure not to over-dry them. Wash them in warm water with a cool rinse, dry them on low setting, and remove them from the dryer promptly while they are still slightly damp, then hang or fold to smooth. Minimal touching up with an iron-on the cuff or return, for example, will give a crisper appearance, especially to embroidered sheets (be sure to iron embroidery on the reverse side). Of course, for the most elegant appearance, some people do prefer to have their sheets ironed.
Sateen sheets, after their first washing, will lose some of their shine and silkiness due to the construction of sateen waves. Ironing will smooth the fibbers and restore the ouster and the sheen of the fabric.
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