Care and Laundry Advice for Cotton Sheets and towelsBrenda
Categorize your wash according to cloth type and, if possible, severity of staining. Separate 100% cotton fabrics from other fabrics – including polyester cotton blends. Washing blends and 100% cotton will often result in the cotton pilling because of the migration of polyester fibres to the cotton.
Shake out all fabrics before placing in machine.
Load your washing machine to the correct capacity. For sheets and towels this is usually around 70-75% the capacity of machine ( follow manufacturers directions for load size) . On a front load washer one wants to be able to see the fabric lift and fall during the wash cycle ( which is different if one is washing duvets and pillows) .
To avoid stains in hotel operations train staff that bed linens and towels are NOT the correct fabrics for cleaning floors, baths, mirrors, etc. Make sure all laundry carts and linen storage facilities are clean and free from any rusting metal. In the laundry, keep all fabric clear of floors especially when wet as the resulting stain is virtually irremovable.
Use good quality detergents. The life of your linens will be longer because of it. It is also important to use the correct amount of detergent. Too much will damage the fibers and reduce the life of the textiles, and they will have a scratchy feel. Too little, and the linens won’t come clean.
Wash in warm to hot water. Cotton is very resistant to heat damage, but less so to chemical damage. It is always better to wash in hotter water and use less detergent, than vice versa. And it is important to remove all traces of detergent before drying and ironing. Rinse three times if possible.
Never use chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach weakens the fibres leading to premature aging of the fabric. To remove stains, add powdered sodium perborate ( eg; Oxiclean, or similar) along with the detergent. Washing in very hot water up to (up to 90 ) C) can be beneficial if there is heavy staining and is essential to remove oil and grease stains.
Never use fabric softeners or detergents that have fabric softener in it. Most fabric softeners “eat” away the fibres, thus shortening the life of the textile. They also coating the yarns with a chemical that artificially makes that fabric feel soft but prevents the yarns from absorbing moisture or “breathing” they way the fabric was designed to do. Never use dryer sheets for the same reason.
Test your water for hardness and use a water softener if necessary to avoid damaging textiles and the overuse of detergents which will be what is necessary in order for the detergent to clean adequately.
To extract the moisture use a high speed spinning in a washer extractor for between 8 to 10 minutes.The moisture retention of cottons after extraction should be approximately 50% and can be reduced to 35% or more by tumble drying if required.
Make sure to use a cool or low setting on the dryer to dry your sheets and towels. High heat will not only cause the fabric to shrink but it will “cook” the yarn and cause the fabric to loose it natural softness. Half or less loads of towels will keep the towels fluffy and soft.
If ironing your sheets, extract the sheets when they are still damp between 25% and 50% moisture, and iron. If using a commercial roller iron use a hot plate temperature up to 392’F.The moisture content of the sheets ( after washing, extraction and possibly tumble dryer conditioning ) will influence ironer operating speeds.
If you are not ironing, dry sheets until slightly damp and fold them smooth right away. This action will often have the result of leaving the sheet’s appearance nice enough to not need ironing. Towels can be dried a little more, but in both cases, do not over dry. If you want to retouch the sheets, iron the cuffs of the top sheet and the pillowcase for a crisp look on the bed.