Putting white bamboo bed sheets in the laundry machine to wash bamboo sheets

How To Wash Bamboo Sheets

There’s no denying that bamboo sheets can turn your sleeping space into your personal sanctuary. Keep it that way by regularly washing your bamboo sheets according to the manufacturer’s instructions. But what if your sheets don’t have care instructions or you want to know if there’s a better way to wash your bamboo sheets?

While there are several different types of bamboo fabrics that bamboo sheets can be made from, they can all be washed using the same method. That means washing your bamboo sheets on a gentle or delicate cycle in cold or warm water using a mild detergent. Avoid harsh detergents, fabric softeners, and bleach to keep your bamboo sheets soft and strong.

Proper care is key to helping your clean bamboo sheets feel soft for many years to come. We’ll provide a detailed step-by-step guide on washing your bamboo sheets, including how to remove stubborn stains without harsh chemicals.

a woman preparing used bamboo sheets for laundry

Why it’s important to wash your bamboo bed sheets properly

Just a few benefits of bamboo sheets are that they are soft, breathable, and highly durable. They are so soft that many people use the word “luxurious” to describe the feel of bamboo sheets. Moreover, bamboo sheets are great for thermoregulation and can wick moisture away from the skin to give you a more comfortable sleep.

Since bamboo sheets are some of the softest on the market, you want to ensure that you take care of them. By doing so, you’re ultimately helping your bamboo sheets stay softer and last longer.

Do bamboo sheets pill?

Generally, bamboo sheets are not prone to pilling, which happens when fibers get tangled. However, if your bamboo sheets are made with a blend of materials, pilling is more likely to occur. For the most part, as long as you machine wash your bamboo sheets on a gentle cycle and avoid high heat, pilling is unlikely.

How long do bamboo sheets last?

Bamboo sheets can last between 5 and 15 years, depending on the quality of the fabric, how much you use them, and how you wash and care for them. Reasons, why they may not last a long time, include if you toss and turn frequently in your sleep, if you take them out on adventures such as camping, or if you wash them frequently or on high heat.

Regardless of your sleep habits, you can make your bamboo sheets last longer by taking good care of them between uses.

How to wash bamboo sheets

We’ve put together step-by-step bamboo sheets washing instructions so you can get more use out of them and keep them soft for years to come!

Pouring the right laundry detergent in a washing machine to wash bamboo sheets

Step 1: Choose the right detergent to wash your bamboo sheets

Before washing your bamboo sheets, start with the right laundry detergent for the job. For the soft fibers of your bamboo sheets, use a mild detergent with no harsh chemicals or ingredients. There are a few reasons for this. First, bamboo fabric is often manufactured using a chemical process rather than a mechanical one. While the resulting bamboo fibres are incredibly soft, they can become damaged by harsh chemicals, which may compromise the fabric’s integrity, making it stiff and less comfortable over time.

Second, a mild detergent is better for those with sensory challenges, sensitive skin, or allergies. One of the best features of bamboo fabric is that it is a good option for those with allergies or sensitivities. Washing your sheets with a detergent with strong chemicals, fragrances, or other additives can cause allergies to flare up, so using a gentle detergent is always a good option for those with sensitivities.

Step 2: Wash bamboo sheets on a delicate setting

Bamboo sheets are naturally durable, but to help your sheets have a longer lifespan, you’ll want to treat them gently. It’s probably not surprising that hand washing may not be the best option for effectively cleaning your bamboo sheets. But you don’t need your washing machine’s toughest cycle to get your bamboo sheets clean, either.

If possible, opt for the “gentle” or “delicate” wash cycle. The gentle cycle prevents the fibers from tearing or getting tangled while still getting the job done effectively. No elbow grease required!

If your bamboo sheets are particularly soiled, you can pre-soak them in water with some detergent, then run them through the gentle cycle. Pre-soaking can help lift stubborn stains without damaging the fibers. You can also use an enzyme-based stain remover.

Step 3: Use warm or cold water when washing your bamboo sheets

When washing your bamboo sheets, it’s best to use cold or warm water. More often than not, cold is the better choice for both the bamboo fabric and the environment. You can always check the tag on your bamboo sheets for any particular instructions from the manufacturer.

There are a few instances when you may want to wash your bamboo sheets in hot water, for example, if someone in your household is sick. But in most cases, use warm or cold water to wash your bamboo sheets. If your tap water drops below 40℉, use the warm setting to maintain an effective clean. The good news is that most modern detergents are designed to work best in cool water!

Why shouldn’t you use hot water to wash bamboo sheets?

Hot water can cause the fibers of your bamboo sheets to shrink or break, so it’s best to avoid water temperatures higher than 86°F (30°C). There are very few fabrics that actually tolerate hot water. In fact, using hot water is a common way to help you deliberately shrink clothing or fabric. In worst-case scenarios, hot water can damage the fabric’s fibers and shorten their lifespan.

Another potential problem with hot water is that it can encourage dyes and colors to bleed. Even if your bamboo sheets don’t contain dark colors or dyes, other items in your washing machine might cause the dyes to change the colors of your sheets. The last thing you want is a rogue sock changing your beautiful sheets to an undesired color!

Finally, hot water takes much more energy per load of laundry. By using cool or warm water, you’re not only cutting energy costs, but helping the environment, too!

Hanging wet washed and clean bamboo bed sheets on a clothesline for drying

Step 4: Dry your sheets

Once your bamboo sheets are clean, you’ll want to dry them shortly after washing to avoid wrinkling or a musty smell. You can dry your bamboo sheets by either hanging them to dry on a clothesline outside (air drying) or by tumble drying them on low heat only. Once dry, you can return them to your bed or store them in a cool, dry location.

How often should you wash your bamboo sheets?

In a perfect world, you would wash your sheets at least once every two weeks, according to doctors. While some bamboo fabrics are naturally antimicrobial, not all of them are, and the best way to prevent buildup of bacteria or mold is by washing your sheets regularly.

In particular, there is no evidence that bamboo rayon, the most common type of bamboo fabric, maintains those antibacterial properties due to the chemical process used to manufacture it. So, if you have bamboo rayon sheets we recommend washing them every two weeks or more, depending on your climate and sleep habits.

However, if you have bamboo lyocell or bamboo linen sheets, which are naturally antimicrobial, you might be able to get away with washing less frequently. If you have a bamboo blend that includes other materials such as cotton, linen, or other materials, stick to washing them once every two weeks.

Depending on the season and your sleeping habits, you may want to wash more frequently. For example, if you sweat a lot it’s a good idea to stay on top of washing your bamboo sheets. On the other hand, you might be able to adjust your schedule to less frequent washing during the winter.

Besides accumulating microbes or bacteria, the main concern with long periods between washes is the fabric stretching and, in some cases, tearing. This is particularly true if you tend to toss and turn, which can add additional stress to the fibers.

Should you wash your brand-new bamboo sheets?

If you just bought a set of bamboo sheets, you might be confused if they aren’t as soft as you expected. Many manufacturers package bamboo sheets in an airtight bag to make them easier to transport and give them a sleek appearance. This isn’t the best way to store bamboo sheets and unfortunately, it can cause the fabric to feel a little stiff. If you just purchased bamboo sheets and noticed they are a little stiff, give them an initial wash to loosen them up.

Can you use fabric softener when washing bamboo sheets?

You shouldn’t use fabric softener on your bamboo sheets. To understand why fabric softener is bad for bamboo sheets, it helps to understand how fabric softener works. Fabric softeners (also called fabric conditioners) coat the fabric’s surface with electrically-charged chemicals, which cause the threads to rise from the surface. As a result, the coated material is typically softer and fluffier.

Used bamboo sheets and laundry detergents in a blue basket on the bed

Fabric softener was developed to counteract the strain placed on materials during washing. As the fabric is tossed around in the washing machine, the fibers can be squashed or bumped around, causing it to feel less soft. The fabric softener acts as a lubricant on the material and reduces static electricity.

Since bamboo fabric can feel stiff when fresh out of the wash, people often think they should be using fabric softener. However, once the bamboo sheets have dried they return to their soft, luxurious feel. Fabric softener, on the other hand, coats the bamboo fabric and leaves a residue.

Tip: to make your bamboo sheets feel extra soft, dry them with dryer balls.

Can you bleach bamboo sheets to get rid of stains?

If your bamboo sheets have acquired a stain or discoloration, you might be thinking about adding some bleach to your load of laundry to brighten the color. This is not the best idea. Traditional bleach is harsh and fortified with chemicals such as chlorine that can damage your bamboo fabric. Pure chlorine is a toxic, corrosive gas, so many household bleaches also contain hypochlorite, which helps release the chlorine.

If you use the right detergent to wash your bamboo sheets, you won’t need bleach at all to keep your bamboo sheets clean and fresh. However, if you have a particularly stubborn stain, here are a few ways to treat your bamboo sheets before washing them:

Lemon, baking soda, and vinegar used as natural cleaner for a stained bamboo bed sheet

Lemon juice and vinegar

You can soak the stained area with diluted lemon juice or white vinegar to remove staining on your bamboo sheets before washing. Don’t use too much white vinegar since it’s highly acidic and can do similar damage as bleach. You only need about half a cup diluted with water.

You can also use this method to help remove body oils from your bamboo sheets if you tend to sweat frequently in your sleep. Simply add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to the washing machine cycle.

Baking soda

You can create a baking soda bath for your bamboo sheets to treat stains or discoloration. Mix 1 cup of baking soda with enough water to cover your bamboo sheets (use a bucket or bathtub) and let them soak for 1 hour. Let drain then wash in the washing machine on the gentle setting.

Non-chlorine bleach

While regular bleach can be damaging to your bamboo sheets, there are some alternatives. Oxygenated bleach (sodium percarbonate) or enzyme-based bleach is better for those tough stains or discoloration. Oxygenated bleach isn’t as strong as chlorine bleach, but it’s much gentler on the fabric and is less likely to damage your bamboo sheets.

Still, don’t add oxygenated bleach directly to your bamboo sheets. Dilute a small amount with water before applying or add to the washing machine.

Can you wash your bamboo sheets along with other items?

While washing your bamboo sheets along with other items might seem like a good way to save time, it’s best to wash your bamboo sheets separately. Some fabrics and materials can cause abrasions or damage, especially if they have zippers, hooks, or buttons. These can cause abrasions or tears in your bamboo sheets.

Additionally, other fabrics can leave lint buildup on your bamboo sheets. Towels are notorious for doing this, and it may make your bamboo sheets less comfortable. However, if you have bamboo pillowcases or comforters, you can wash them together with bamboo sheets since they are made from the same material. Just make sure not to overload your washing machine, which can prevent your bamboo sheets from being washed properly.

How do you wash your bamboo sheets? We’d love to hear which method works best for you!
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: James Zimmerman

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