Washing & Storing Your Winter Bedding & Linens
Tips and advice for washing, drying, and storing your winter bedding and linens for spring.
Hello spring! Man, I sure am excited for a new, fresh season ahead of us. I really enjoy cleaning, so this time of year just gets my gears going. Also, I am a big planner, so lately I have been enjoying making lists of all of the things that I am going to purge, dust, scrub, and store away. I am planning on starting my spring cleaning next week. One of my favorite things to do in the spring is to swap out our flannel bed sheets and any other winter bedding and linens we have, and exchange it for its lighter counterparts.
If you take proper care and planning before washing and storing your winter bedding and linens, you will most likely extend the lifespan of them. I am learning more and more every year to be more intentional with the things that we own; to invest in high quality products, and then to do my best to take care of them so that they can last and provide for us as long as possible. Then, maybe they can be passed down to our children and grandchildren someday. I did some research and tried to find the best tips and advice for washing, drying, and storing winter bedding. Some of them I knew but most I needed to be reminded of and I even found some advice I hadn't yet heard. I hope you will find them just as useful when you start your spring cleaning this year.
To start off, please remember that everything should be laundered before being put away for the season, you would never want to put away and store something that is dirty. Sometimes the task of washing all your bedding and linens can seem like a tedious to-do, but I promise it will be worth it! You don't always see the dirtiness, but your bedding and sheets can have unseen body oils, dirt, and other grime that your washer and dryer will take good care of. If your linens, bedding, throws, and blankets are dirty they may draw in unwanted bugs and insects. Also, the drying is just as important as the washing. Moisture can attract mold and mildew. We used to have a huge clothesline here at our house, that I really wish was still there. Our landlords took it out (it was pretty big, and clotheslines aren't as popular nowadays, kind of an eyesore to them I would assume). Whenever I wash our bedding I have to use every chair in our house to drape it over so that it can dry. Even though it takes up our whole house for a couple of days, it is worth it! I would hate to get mold or mildew. Someday, when we have our own place, I think I'd like to have that huge clothesline though.
Washing & Drying
It is best to always wash your bed sheets on the delicate cycle and in cold water; hot water can be degrading over time. Also, use less soap/detergent than what is recommended because too much can cause buildup in the sheets that will make them stiff. You will want to pull out soft, fresh bedding come Fall! With everything else, try to stick to the washing and drying recommendations that are on the label. If you don't have a large enough washer and dryer to handle your heavy comforters and bedding, you can either take it to your local laundromat and use the heavy duty washer and dryers there, or you can opt to utilize the pros at a local dry cleaner.
After washing, let your heavy comforters and blankets air out for a full day. Hang them over a railing or on the clothesline (or over all of the chairs in your house!), Even if you opted to take your heavy bedding to the local dry cleaners, take it out of the bags when you get home and let it air out before your store it. You don't want there to be any chance that mildew or mold might grow. In addition, it usually takes longer for the batting and stuffing to dry, so keep this in mind if you are storing a comforter, quilt, etc. When you are drying your sheets in your dryer, try not to over-stuff them. Keep it light, even if you have to do multiple loads. This will ensure even drying and will help prevent wrinkles.
Prepping Your Storage Area
First, clean your storage area. Pull everything out or off, and use a wet cloth or a vinegar and water solution to wipe down the area. Again, make sure it dries completely before placing your linens and bedding in there. To keep the area extra dry, fresh, and free from odors, you can place opened containers of baking soda inside. This will help keep any smells and moisture away.
If you already have linens in this storage area, go through them and purge any items you may not want or need anymore, anything that is not in good shape, etc. Maybe this would be a good time to start on being more intentional with your belongings and housewares. Throw out the old, worn, low quality stuff, and invest in bedding, sheets, and comforters that will last a lifetime (of course, only with good care!) Do this as well for the winter bedding and linens that you are about to store. I find that its better to get rid of these items at the end of the season before the following season, that way you are much more likely to purchase new linens if necessary, and not continue to use the worn out old pieces just because you already have them on hand. If you don't have them on hand you will HAVE to get the new ones.
Funny story, a few months ago I was washing our sheets (just a normal, weekly wash). Before I washed them I had washed our dogs' blanket and bed in the washer. So, I put our washer on the clean cycle with bleach beforehand so that it could get clean and sanitized before I washed our sheets. Well, the bleach must not have gone through or it didn't run its full cycle because when I washed our dark blue flannel sheets, they ended up completely bleached! I actually kept them and used them for about a month before I got new ones, even though they looked terrrrible. The bleach had turned the dark blue a yucky green and it was blotchy all over. I am telling you this because I kept these sheets around for far too long, I just couldn't throw them out! Now that I think back, I should have just thrown them out (or given them away), and got new ones right away. Its too easy sometimes to keep things around even when they are no longer needed or are not in good shape, ruined, etc. I want to work on not hesitating like that anymore; I don't want to be wasteful but I also want to have good quality things!
Now, where to store it all?! How about your linen closet, wardrobe, armoire, or dresser? Or even in a trunk at the foot of your bed?! I would opt for the armoire, they are so beautiful and such a good storage option. I have a whole Pinterest board just for the armoire/hutch; you can find it here! Here are some of my favorites from that board!
Just keep in mind that you will want to store the linens and bedding in a cool, dry place that is away from light. If you were to store them in a sunlit area, it would increase the likelihood of fading. Also, try to stay away from storing them in your basement, which can have fluctuations in humidity.
Something to keep in mind as well, if you are storing them in an area that has painted wood or cardboard, it may cause staining! Instead, you can purchase a few large, cotton pillowcases for cheap, and place the bedding lightly into them before storing. Try not to pack them too tight in there, you want good air circulation so that they stay good and fresh all season long. Remember to wash and clean the pillowcases beforehand as well.
Bag labeling or drawer labeling is convenient when opening them the next season because you will know exactly which room each bag goes to (or pillow case if you are using this option)
Finally, if you are dealing with heirloom quilts, or more delicate and special items, try the following: wash/launder, wrap in acid free tissue paper, fold and place in a plastic storage box, and then place the box in a plastic bag . This should keep insects, critters, and moisture out. We have had too many sheets, quilts, and bedding that have been disturbed by mice! Don't let that happen to your special quilts.
I hope that this has been helpful to you all and that you can move towards bedding and linens that, through proper care, will last you a lifetime. What are some ways that you have or will be freshening up your home for spring?! Do you swap out your fall and winter linens for the lighter fares? Let me know in the comments below!
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