Laundry can be a huge hassle, so it’s natural you might be looking for ways to make the routine easier. Many people throw their sheets and clothes together in the washer to save time, but should you be doing this?
You can wash sheets with clothes, but most of the batch will be unevenly washed. This usually happens because the clothes often get tangled in the sheets and won’t be moved around as much as they should be. It can also wear your clothes and sheets out faster.
Although the idea of washing sheets with clothes might be appealing, there are still some pros and cons to consider that can tilt the decision in either direction. In this article, I’ll explain the benefits and drawbacks of washing sheets and clothes together and give you some general pointers on how to handle sheets properly.
Can You Wash Sheets With Clothes?
Like many other laundry “hacks,” washing sheets with clothes has both advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some of the key benefits of washing sheets with clothes:
- Your laundry loads will be more eco-friendly. Doing your laundry together requires less power and detergents, which can harm the environment over time. Bringing your washing machine up to the recommended capacity can also save energy and water, all while reducing the release of microfibers.
- You can save money by making your laundry more efficient. A lot of expense goes into doing a load of laundry, with the cost of water, power, and detergents all factoring into the overall price. More loads equal more money spent, so reducing frequency by combining batches can cut some costs.
- You save time. When you’re converting two half loads of laundry into one full load, you’ll be able to do it twice as quickly.
Alternatively, here are the main downsides of washing sheets with clothes:
- Your clothing and sheets have different care requirements. You’ll have to compromise your washing and drying settings when washing clothes and sheets together.
- It results in an uneven wash. Most of the magic in the washing machine comes from moving and agitating items around in its drum. Since washing clothes with sheets causes so much tangling, you rarely ever get a deep and proper wash.
- You might overload your washing machine. Washing machines can only manage so much laundry safely. Consistently exceeding the maximum recommended load will eventually damage the drum, reduce efficiency, and stress the bearings.
- You might damage your sheets. Unfortunately, many standard clothing features can cause fraying and even large tears when they catch on your sheets during a wash. If you need to wash your clothes and sheets together, you should avoid adding any items with zippers, sequins, buttons, or studs.
It’s almost always a better option to separate your sheets before washing them, but ultimately, the final choice belongs to you. Since finances and timing can sometimes be tight, wanting to save a few dollars or hours could tip the scale for many people.
Still, it’s also important to consider if the short-term savings outweigh the possibility that you’ll have to replace your sheets and clothes earlier.
Can I Wash My Towels and Sheets With My Clothes?
You can wash your towels and sheets with your clothes, but it’s not recommended practice. Such a large load would likely get tangled during the wash, and even if it doesn’t, you’d still end up with an uneven wash since all the items require different washing techniques.
Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t get any better when you add your load of towels, sheets, and clothes to the dryer. Sheets already make washing clothes much harder.
When towels are added to the mix, this effect worsens significantly.
Do You Wash Sheets in Hot or Cold Water?
You should wash sheets in hot water during cold and flu seasons for some added protection from pathogens. Otherwise, warm water is typically the best option. However, some materials might require specific temperatures, which may not be in line with standard practice.
This temperature might also change according to the owner. For example, if you’re prone to allergies or often experience irritation due to a condition like eczema, it might be worthwhile to wash your sheets more often at higher temperatures.
Here’s a quick visualizer for judging temperature needs when washing sheets:
|Wash on high temperature. Dry at low temperatures.
|Avoid fabric softener.
|Wash and dry at mid-range.
|Durable and can handle a wide range of conditions.
|Wash and dry at low temperature.
|Avoid fabric softener.
|Gentle washing with cold water. Air dry in soft winds.
|Only wash silk with silk.
If you can’t quite hit the right temperatures, using warm water for most types of fabric will usually get the job done. However, avoid doing this for silk or any similarly delicate material.
Which Wash Program for Sheets?
The best wash program for sheets is typically the standard wash cycle on your machine. Most sheets are relatively durable and will handle this well. However, particularly delicate materials like silk will need specialized wash programs with lower temperatures and gentler spin cycles.
While the wash program you should use for your sheets depends on their fiber and composition, there are three subcategories that can guide adjustments in how you treat the material:
- Manufacturer’s recommendations
- How dirty your sheets are
- Germ control
Typically, higher temperatures and heavier spin cycles correspond to increased cleaning but rougher handling of your clothes.
For a gentler touch, low temperatures and a light spin are the best choices, but this comes at the cost of decreased cleaning power.
Should You Wash Bed Sheets Separately?
You should always wash bed sheets separately if you can. Sheets are much larger than most other clothing and tangle when washed. As a result, the entire load ends up unevenly washed.
In very rare cases, washing your sheets and clothes together can be worth the risk. If you’re short on time or money, you’ll likely enjoy the savings that combining your laundry offers.
Still, if you want to keep your sheets, clothes, and washing machine in the best condition, you’ll likely find that washing sheets and clothes separately is the best fit for you.