If you’ve taken the time to purchase sustainably sourced and manufactured bamboo bedding and sheets, there’s a good chance you want to make them last. Much like sheets from other natural fibers, it’s important to make sure you wash them regularly, and avoid letting them sit balled up in the laundry pile. Here are some tips for extending the life of your bamboo sheets, and keeping them fresh and soft for many years to come!
Read the Label
There’s a reason manufacturers put care instructions on products! Many fabric blends require special care, and throwing them in the washer on permanent press only destroys them fasters. With many bamboo blends, and 100% bamboo bedding, the material is prone to shrinking, but many bamboo sheets come pre-shrunk. It’s important to check these details before washing your bamboo sheets in warm water, as the fitted sheet may seem a little too fitted afterwards. If you don’t have the time or ability to handle the restrictions of 100% bamboo sheets and bedding, consider choosing bamboo blends to ease your concerns.
Even if your sheets are pre-shrunk, it is best to wash bamboo materials in cool water. The cooler temperature minimizes the wear on the fiber’s integrity, allowing the material to last much longer. This is true for many other materials as well, and washing in cold water keeps the material strong, and the color vibrant.
While we all love those heavy-duty detergents that knock out stains and make our whites brighter than clouds, they’re not so good for our clothes, and even worse for the environment. Look for natural laundry detergents that are free of bleach, phosphates, and 1,4 dioxane. Unfortunately, most of the major brands of detergent use some of these toxic chemicals, but there are popular options such as Seventh Generation, Clorox Green Works, Method, and Jessica Alba’s Honest, that are safe for use on your bamboo products. If you’re still not sure, consider whipping up a batch of laundry detergent at home.
Eco-friendly Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 bar of regular soap
½ cup borax
½ cup baking soda
Simply grate the bar of soap into an airtight container, add the borax and baking soda, and mix well. You only need about 1 tablespoon for normal loads, and 2 tablespoons for large loads or heavily soiled items.
You shouldn’t need any fabric softener for your bamboo sheets and other bamboo materials, as they are naturally incredibly soft and silky. Some people with very sensitive or dry skin prefer fabric softener for their bedding. Be cautious when using any type of fabric softener on bamboo sheets, and opt for a ¼ cup or ½ cup of white vinegar instead. The vinegar smell evaporates quickly and leaves your sheets feeling just as soft as if you’d used a cup of downy! Use the vinegar sparingly, about every other load, so as to preserve the integrity and strength of the bamboo fibers.
Whenever possible, you should try to line dry your sheets, and especially your bamboo comforters and duvet covers. Not only does it save electricity, and therefore money and energy, but it also helps extend the life of your bedding. If you simply can’t stand the feel of line-dry materials, try drying them on the line for a few hours, and then throwing them in the dryer for 10-20 minutes. When using the dryer, make sure you use the delicate, low, or permanent press settings.
While dried sheets are very strong, wet bamboo materials must be handled with care, as the moisture makes them much more delicate. The whole fibers of bamboo textiles have a smooth and tubular shape, and absorb a great deal of moisture, so these sheets may take longer to dry than their synthetic counterparts.