How to Sanitize Bed Sheets in the Age of Coronavirus

Sleep Safely during COVID-19 by Sanitizing your Sheets and Bedding

Woman lying with a sleeping mask in bed covered with sanitized white bed sheets in bright bedroom in the morning

With the coronavirus pandemic, many of us want to take extra precautions to make sure our homes are free of the dangerous virus.  At Sobel Westex, we work every day with hotels and resorts around the world to supply bed sheets and linens that are easy to care for, and easy to clean and sanitize for the protection of their guests. We’ve put together our best tips for sanitizing your linens at home. Whether you’re an essential worker coming home after a long day with potential exposure, or staying home but simply want those you love to have the safest night’s sleep possible, use these tips for sanitizing bed sheets and linens.

Why Sanitizing Bed Sheets Matters

The average household changes sheets once every week or two, usually without need for virus concerns. But, if someone in the household has suffered a cold or flu, most of us want to make sure the germs are washed out of the sheets before they are reused. The Centers for Disease Control has stated that the novel coronavirus can remain viable for several hours and perhaps days on materials such as bed sheets. It’s a good idea for anyone who is going outside the home to take extra precautions to keep linens and bedding clean during this time. This is particularly a concern of essential workers who may be exposed to the virus during their workday.

Handling Contaminated Sheets

hands with latex gloves placing soiled sheets in washing machine for sanitization during covid

Situations where someone in the home is infected may require more frequent washings such as twice weekly or even daily. If someone in the family is sick with COVID-19, stick with simple white linens during their illness, if possible. These are easy to clean and sanitize with the most effective agents, such as bleach.

If you suspect that the sheets might be contaminated, it’s essential to handle them with care. Experts recommend wearing disposable gloves and keeping them away from the body and face as much as possible. Don’t shake the laundry which can free up and spread virus particles. Separate colors from whites, washing and sanitizing them separately. For maximum protection of family members, don’t wash bed sheets and linens with clothing or other items. It’s also a good idea to sanitize your laundry basket or hamper after use for soiled items to keep them safe to receive the clean laundry after washing.

Sanitizing Tips

One of the best defenses and killers of bacteria and viruses is heat, so wash linens using the hottest water possible. Many modern washing machines have a sanitizing setting, which is ideal in the age of the coronavirus. In addition to detergent, you will want to add an additional bug-killing agent such as:

  • Chlorine bleach—Ideal for white sheets, just add 1/2 cup of bleach to the wash cycle. Color-safe bleach will work similarly, though slightly less effectively, for colored linens.
  • Oxygen Bleach—A good stain remover for laundry anytime, oxygen-based bleach is a good disinfectant and is less corrosive than chlorine bleach.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide—If you don’t care for bleach or have sensitive skin, you can add one cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic to the wash cycle.
  • Borax—A half cup of borax added to laundry not only boosts stain removal and neutralizes odors, it’s also an exceptional disinfectant.
  • White Vinegar—Adding one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle effectively deodorizes and kills residual bacteria.
  • Pine Oil—A natural disinfectant that is safe for colors and whites, 1/2 cup of pine oil is a safe alternative to bleach.

Drying your Sanitized Sheets

Bed sheet drying in the wind with forest in the background

Again, heat is your best friend when it comes to battling germs and infections like the novel coronavirus. If you’re using a traditional dryer, set it to the highest heat setting possible, and dry sheets for at least half an hour to kill most viruses. The sunlight is also a wonderful option, as the sun’s ultraviolet rays offer additional sanitization. However, if you have colored sheets, they may fade a bit after numerous sun cycles of drying. An alternative is to hang the sheets for half an hour in the sun for its ability to destroy viruses and bacteria on the fabric, then finish the process by drying them in the clothes dryer.

Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for laundering fine linens.  Most cotton and polyester fabrics will handle heat and disinfectants well so that you can make sure you’ve done all you can to make sure your family can sleep comfortably and confidently at ease on fresh, clean bed sheets next time they are used.

Sobel Westex Knows Bedding

Sobel Westex Sobella sheets with pinstripes neatly made up on hotel bed

It’s wise to choose durable bed sheets that will hold up to frequent washing and still look great. Sobel Westex bed sheets, pillows and other luxury linens are designed to feel and look beautiful every day while withstanding tough hotel cleaning regimens time after time. If you’re in the market for durable, stylish, luxurious bedding, take a look at our bedding collection today.