My name is Mathew and I have been trying for some years now to find the right kind of bed linen because I know how much it can be frustrating and difficult. That is why I have decided to write a short tutorial which – I hope – will help you save your time and the time of your family in the search of the right pillow and blanket cases.
At the beginning I would like to emphasise that the choice of the appropriate set is not that easy as it might seem. The right choice will provide you with a comfortable and healthy sleep, improve your mood and secure your vitality and humour on a daily basis.
Table of contents
- Types of material which bedclothes are made of:
- Summary: what sheets for what time of year?
- With buttons or zipped?
- What kind of seams?
- With what finish?
- Washing and protecting the colors of bed linen
- How to refresh bed linen
Types of material which bedclothes are made of:
The most popular one: cotton bed linen
Cotton bed linen is the most frequent choice, especially if it is made of 100% natural cotton fibres. The structure of cotton ensures air circulation, thus does not accumulate moisture, allows the skin to breathe and it is pleasant to the touch. An additional advantage it is the possibility of washing it in an ordinary washing machine.
By searching the shops both real and on-line ones, we can choose from thousands of bedclothes available. It is worth noting that cotton bed linen is also ideal for kids – young or older due to the themed prints, e.g. Minions, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, Pokemon’s and ease of washing (when the child is still small and wets him- or herself frequently)
Any faults? Cotton bed linen creases easily and requires pressing after every washing.
Please pay attention to the descriptions of of the products in which the producer clearly stated what material was used for their manufacture.
Flannel bed linen.
Flannel bed linen is a light fabric with a fuzzy finish that makes it soft to the touch, similar to that of cotton bed linen. It is resistant to mechanical damage an insulates heat well by limiting air circulation, which makes it suitable for cool evenings.
I myself have several sets of this kind and used them last winter. I have already replaced them with the cotton bed linen but I sometimes think it was too early.
You must remember to wash the flannel sheets according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which will help preserve the strength and long life of the material and ensure the durability of the colors and prints.
Sateen bed linen
Sateen bed linen or cotton satin otherwise, it is another type of bed sheets available on the market. It is soft to the touch, thin and has an impressive glittering appearance.
A lot of people say that cotton satin is cold – if not icy – when you feel it. In my opinion it is not true but you remember that you cover yourselves with it and you should be sure where you like it tor not.
Certainly, sateen bed linen does not insulate heat in the same way cotton linen does, that is why it is more suitable for warmer seasons, e.g. spring and summertime.
Seersucker bed linen
Seersucker is a kind of puckered fabric use for bed sheets production. It does not crease and it is universal but not suitable very cold nights. Apart from that you can use it all year around.
Damask cotton bed linen
Bed sheets produced from this fabric are thick, warm and really durable – ideal for the winter. This bed linen is usually ornamented with shimmering patterns on a matte background or a matte pattern on a shiny background.
This fabric is produced in its cotton option too. Such bed linen is usually durable and of good quality. Depending on the manufacturer it can be either thin or thick and therefore it can be used throughout the year if we purchase the right model.
Batiste bed linen
Batiste is a fine thin fabric made of cotton or linen (you need to look for the information on the label while shopping or read the product description). It is used for embroidery, lace or whole cases. It is suitable only for the spring and summer seasons.
Percale bed linen
Percale is a kind of fabric with a linen weave. It resemble satin to the touch however it is slightly thicker. Bed sheets produces of percale are usually of high quality and is long-lasting.
Mako or Egyptian cotton sheets
It is a kind of long-fibre cotton of very good quality. Originally from Egypt but it is also grown in the USA and Sudan. Ideal for chilly nights but its price is quite high.
Taking all the information above and your personal experience, adding to it your desire to try other types of materials our bed sheets are made of, we should be cable of choosing the right kind of bed linen. One that not only will present itself nicely on the bed but will also meet that practical function, i.e. we will fell comfortable and get enough sleep every night. While choosing the right fabric, we should also take into account health issues because when you are allergic to any of the materials, we can develop a rash.
Summary: what sheets for what time of year?
Type of bed linen should primarily suit the season of the year. It is really important in houses and apartments in which the temperature changes are strongly experienced during the particular season.
Bed linen for the autumn and winter: flannel, batiste, Damask cotton, linen, bamboo, wool.
Bed linen for the spring and summer: satin, seersucker, percale, silk, linen.
The question may seem funny but are you sure? Buttons and zippers are two kinds of fasteners used in bedding. Buttoning usually takes more time. If the manufacturer was not careful enough and the buttons were not properly sewn, they may eventually fall off. Moreover, dust gets easily through the gaps between the buttons.
Of course, low-quality zippers may cause problems too, however, they are still a better option.
When buying buttoned bed linen check if the buttons are visible or are hidden by the manufacturer.
What kind of seams?
The stitches should be strong and the seams should not shred or spread apart. A good manufacturer protects the seams and laminates them: uses special laminate which reduces the risk of getting ripped. Shopping on-line allows to read the auction description and follow the suggestions of the people who have already bought that product.
With what finish?
When selecting bed linen remember that the more sewn items on the cases the more difficulties during washing (e.g. they require only hand washing). Follow the principle which says that nicer does not mean practical.
When selecting the size, you need to keep in mind that the size of our bedding in order not to buy a set too small or too big and avoid extreme discomfort. The fact that we have bought a wrong size will be discovered quite quickly as we will not be able to properly put the bedding inside the cases or the cases will be too loose, not entirely filled with a blanket.
Various manufactures offer their bed linen which fit the following bed sizes:
When checking the size we must remember that the first number refers to the width of the bed, the second one to its length.
The most popular size is the 160×220 one, then subsequently 220×200, 200×220, 140×200, 180×200 (the smallest selection of bed linen).
The sizes of both the sheets and mattress are usually given in cm. If we have the biggest one (220×200) we can alway rotate it 90 degrees and get a 200×220 set. Remember that rotation will change the pattern configuration (it will also be rotated by 90 degrees) as well as the opening position (buttons, zipper or flap).
The 140×200 size is sold as a one-man option and is the most popular for children’s and youngsters’s beds. Usually, it includes one pillowcase and one blanket case.
Bed linen of 140×220 or 160×200 sizes fits the 80×200, 90×200 and 100×200 beds. Convertible sofas 120×200 big should be equipped with 160×200 or 180×200 bed linen.
Double queen beds 160×200, 180×200 and 200×200 big should go with the bed linen of 220×200, 200×220 sizes or two sets of 140×200 or 160×200 sheets.
The size of bed linen you are about to buy should be bigger than the mattress in order to comfortably wrap yourself in it.
The above information is intended to make you aware of the sizes of bedding available on the market. If we are looking for a right pillowcase we might as well ensure our comfortable sleep through selecting the suitable bedding.
Washing and protecting the colors of bed linen
Just like in the case of selecting all kinds of fabric bed linen is made of, each of them requires an individual treatment afterwards.
On average we spend half of our life in the bedroom, that is why we should take special care of the character of that place. Purchasing bed linen we want it to be with us for a long time, therefore we need to take into consideration the way it should be washed. In case you have forgotten to ask about that in the shop, the following information might be useful to anybody who cars for the beautiful and vivid colors of their bed sheets.
Washing of bed linen made of cotton and satin.
What to use and how to wash it? The procedure is not too complicated but following some rules will ensure a long life of both the colors and fabric of your linen.
- Sateen and cotton bed linen should be washed in in a washing machine at approx. 40-60 degrees C.
- In case of cotton satin bed linen we should follow the manufacturer’s instructions as they may vary quite often.
- We should avoid bleaching agents because they may affect the vivid colors of the overprints.
- Steen bed line does not need ironing.
- To avoid rumpling of bed linen we should forget about the spin and hang out the wet sheets until they get dry.
Washing flannel linen:
As I have already written, flannel linen is as popular as cotton and sateen sheets. If you happen to be the owner of such a linen set you might want to adhere to the following guidelines.
- Flannel sheets can be hand or machine washed
- The temperature of washing should not be lower than 40 C and not higher than 60C. When in doubt check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Do not use bleaching agents.
- Select detergents very carefully as they might cause fading of the colors.
- In order to secure softness after washing, use fabric softener.
- Always remember to check the manufacturer’s recommendation before every wash.
Washing seersucker linen:
Seersucker linen is most often chosen by people who do not have time for special treatments as it is very practical and easy to maintain. A lot of us use it all year around so it seems reasonable to know how to care for it.
- I recommend – as always- that you check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- The linen should be machine washed at the temperature of 40-60C. Some manufacturers recommend that the temperature of 40C is necessary.
- We should neither spin nor iron the seersucker linen.
Washing white bed linen
White sheets require washing in an ordinary washing powder used for white fabric at the temperature of 40C.
Before washing we should check the fabric the linen is made of and follow the above mentioned manufacturer’s guidelines which are usually written on the label.
Washing anti-allergic linen (Click here for more)
If you are a person prone to allergies and use anti-allergic linen, it requires a special care.
- It should be washed as often as possible
- It is the best way to get rid of mites and their droppings.
- We always follow the manufacturer’s instructions written on the label or packaging.
- Anti-allergic linen is usually washed at the temperature of 40C-60C.
- Fabric softeners are not recommended
Should newly purchased bed linen be washed?
Yes, of course yes. Each fabric we sleep under should be washed. We ought to wash every type of bed sheets, pillow cases, etc., before we used them for the first time. It is especially important if we want to cover our children with them. Brand new bed linen is not soft enough to the touch, it usually smells in a specific way and may carry some invisible residues as a result of the production process. If the fabric allows it we might use fabric softener which will provide fresh smell and soft texture for our new sheets.
Can we wash bed linen with other items?
Bed linen should not be washed with other things. Because of the structure of fabric, colors and specific feel bed linen should be washed only with bed linen. If we washed it together with e.g. towels, the particles form them might adhere to the sheets. And towels might need higher washing temperature.
- Before washing, segregate bed linen by its colors – dark with dark, light with light.
- Do not wash bed linen with underwear, wipes, towels or other items which might change the color of the sheets or make them rough to the touch. If it happens we will have to wash them again.
- Before washing fasten all zippers and buttons – it will protect the sheets from destruction.
- Carefully select the detergents. Not all of them are suitable for a particular fabric. A wrong choice can ruin the fabric or its colors.
- Bed linen should be washed at low temperatures in order to avoid its deformation.
- There are kinds of bed linen which must be dry cleaned (check the label)
- After washing, the sheets should be hung out and let them dry.
- Remember about ironing. It will eliminate pilling and make the sheets serve us longer time.
How to refresh bed linen
Another element of the bed linen care is its refreshing between successive washings. As all the things in our apartments and houses, bed linen collects dust.
The first way to protect it from dust is using special bedspreads which will ensure our bedroom a unique look (we only need to choose the right one that matches the decor of the place).
II. Airing bed linen
One of the ways of refreshing our bed linen is airing it. It does not mater where we do in the full summer sun or when it is freezing outside. Each season is good.
In the summer, the sun rays produce heat which kills all the germs including the most important mites among others. We should take the sheet out into the sun at least once a week or – the most optimistic option- every day.
Similarly, in winter when it is freezing outside, all microorganisms get “frozen”.
Bed linen becomes moist as the result of the absorption of our sweat and create an ideal environment for dust mite development. After waking up we should open the window and leave the sheets spread out on the bed for about 20 minutes , hang it out outside or put on the windowsill.
After this treatment, we can cover the bed linen with a bedspread or put it in the bed drawer.
III. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Another method of refreshing our bed linen is sprinkling it with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). It should be left like that for several hours and then thoroughly vacuumed. This treatment will restore both the fresh smell and look to the sheets.
However, be cautious and check whether it is safe for the bed linen to be treated with baking soda.
Careful selection of the bed linen and its proper care is not that difficult as it might seem to be. All we need is to remember about several most important rules which I have mentioned in my post.
I am planning to post my ideas as well as the ideas of my friends, all referred to on-line shopping.
If you are thinking about buying bed linen on-line, please visit my blog as often as possible.