Properly cared for, sheets should last three to five years. For the longest wear, follow these rules.

By Christine Camean
Updated August 18, 2004
  • Avoid very hot temperatures when washing and drying; they weaken fibers.
  • Use mild detergent (such as Wisk or Arm & Hammer dye-free formula) and wait until it’s diluted before putting sheets in the washer. Undiluted detergents can discolor fabric. And don’t overdo the detergent: If it isn’t completely rinsed out, sheets will feel stiff. Use half the manufacturer's recommended amount, and add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse water to remove all traces of detergent.
  • Avoid brighteners and other bleaching agents; they weaken and discolor fibers. To brighten whites, add 1/4 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle instead of bleach.
  • Dry on the low or medium heat setting; overdrying sheets weakens fibers and bakes off finishes.
  • Store laundered, completely dry sheets in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep three sets of sheets for each bed and rotate weekly.
  • To keep sets together and the linen closet neat, store each set in a matching pillowcase.