How to Wash Sheets: Best Way to Clean and Disinfect Your Bedding - Rolling Stone
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Washing Your Hands Is Great, But Are You Sanitizing Your Sheets?

Running your sheets in the wash gets rid of odors, but here’s how to disinfect your bedding to remove allergens, germs and bacteria too

Asian man is cleaning his bedroom with warm summer light in his apartment.Asian man is cleaning his bedroom with warm summer light in his apartment.

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Let’s be real: for the amount of time we spend in our beds, we’re probably not washing our sheets enough. The general consensus is that bedding should be changed every two weeks, though that also depends on the type of sheets you’re using, the time of year, and your overall health and hygiene.

If you’re sweating through the night, suffering from allergies, or eating in bed, you should be changing your sheets more often. The same goes for people with thicker sheets like wool or flannel, which can often trap dust and dirt (and crumbs) in its fibers. And if you’ve been feeing sick: you should definitely be washing your sheets, stat.

According to the CDC, proper disinfection and sanitization methods are necessary to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Germs can spread not only through human contact, but through contact with soiled sheets and blankets as well. Washing your sheets in hot water and drying on high temperatures may remove some of these germs, but to really eliminate bad odors and built-up bacteria, you’re going to want to bring in some reinforcement.

We’re rounded up some of the best ways to disinfect your sheets. These detergents and appliances work deep into your bedding to get rid of stains, remove lingering smells, and eliminate bacteria that can cause allergies and illnesses. What you get: peace of mind, cleaner sheets, and a more comfortable sleep.

1. Hex Performance Laundry Detergent

Most detergents will get out surface stains and light odors, but to really penetrate into your sheets, you’re going to want a more high-powered option. We’ve been using this HEX Performance detergent, which uses the company’s proprietary “HEX Molecule” (a small, synthetic-based molecule) to dig deep into fabrics. The molecule works to loosen gunk, while the liquid detergent deodorizes and saturates fibers for a deeper, more thorough clean.

HEX detergent was formulated for workout gear, to help remove sweat stains and bacteria; that means it’s heavy duty enough for your sheets as well. The protective formula also helps to keep your sheets fresh, and prevents them from losing elasticity or their shape.

hex laundry detergent review


Buy: HEX Performance Laundry Detergent at $23.99

2. Lysol Laundry Sanitizer

A good detergent is great for a first pass, but how sanitized do your sheets really come out of the wash? To get rid of lingering odors on your fabrics and eliminate harmful bacteria, consider adding a capful or two of this Lysol laundry sanitizer to your next washing machine cycle.

Lysol is known for its germ-fighting products, and this gentle formula is no different. It doesn’t contain any bleach, and even activates in cold water to kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria. It’s safe to use on whites and colors, and on delicate items like baby clothing and bedding too. Add it to your fabric softener compartment, or throw it into the tub just before the rinse cycle.

lysol laundry sanitizer


Buy: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer at $5.99

3. Powerizer Complete Multi-Purpose Detergent and Cleaner

The latest CDC guidelines cite hydrogen peroxide as a “stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate surfaces.” This multi-purpose cleaning powder contains sodium percarbonate, which turns into hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water.

Add a scoop of this to your laundry to replace both your detergent and bleach (you won’t need fabric softener either). The powerful all-in-one cleaner penetrates deep into your sheets to eliminate build-up and residue, while getting rid of stubborn stains and smells. It’s all done through a biodegradable plant-based formula that’s so safe, you can even use it on your dishes.

powerizer review cleaner


Buy: Powerizer Complete Detergent and Cleaner at $19.57

4. Rowenta Digital Display Steam Iron

Hot ironing your sheets isn’t just a good way to keep them pressed and wrinkle-free — it’s also a way to eliminate bacteria. This Rowenta Steam Iron is one of the most powerful units in the market, with a durable steel plate and 1800 watts of cleaning power to tackle even the thickest sheets and blankets. This isn’t a regular iron – it’s an industrial-strength steam machine.

Use it as an iron or as a steamer; Rowenta’s unique “steamforce technology” pumps out 30% more steam than regular units, while the heavy-duty iron is German-made for toughness and durability.

A digital display lets you know when the iron is heated and ready to go. Safety features include an automatic shut-off system after being left untouched for eight minutes vertically, or 30 seconds face down or on its side.

rowenta iron steamer


Buy: Rowenta Digital Display Steam Iron at $129.99

5. LivePure Ultramite UVC HEPA Allergen Vacuum and Sanitizer

Your sheets may be clean, but to really ensure that your bedding is safe, it’s important to take care of your mattress too. That’s where a good mattress vacuum comes into play.

We like this one from LivePure, which uses UV technology to eliminate dust mites, bacteria, viruses and allergens from your mattress, bedding, furniture and fabrics. The powerful UV light removes up to 98 percent of dust mites and 99 percent of E. coli, staph and salmonella. A rolling brush and suction cup sucks up dirt, hair and other small particles. The vacuum’s HEPA filtration system, meantime, traps 99.9 percent of particles, including dust, pet hair, mold spores and even microscopic particles from smoke.

This UV vacuum and sanitizer is a no-brainer to ensure that you’re sleeping on a safe and spotless bed.



Buy: LivePure Ultramite UVC Vacuum Sanitizer at $149.99

6. Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

It may sound strange, but your washing machine could actually be harboring a lot of germs, and it requires its own cleaning after every few loads. Toss in one of these tablets and run a cycle on hot water (no clothing please!) to clean and refresh your washing machine drum. The foaming tablet dissolves in water to slowly remove built-up residue and soap scum, leaving your washer looking and smelling fresh and clean.

affresh washing machine cleaner


Buy: Affresh Washing Machine Cleaning Tablets at $11.98

7. Mellanni Bedding Set

If your bed sheets have seen better days, it may be time to replace them. We like this bedding set from Mellanni (a Number One bestseller on Amazon) which gets you a flat sheet, two pillow cases, and a deep fitted sheet with an all-over elastic band (not just at the corners).

The sheets are made from a super soft brushed microfiber material that is hypoallergenic and easy to clean. They’re also stain, shrink and wrinkle-resistant, and will hold up to repeated washing (even in hot water!) without losing its color, shape or softness. Choose from more than 30 different colors and patterns online.

best bed sheets


Buy: Mellanni Bedding Set at $37.97


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