Care Instructions for Towels and Bedding

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Do your towels not absorb as well as you would like? Do you wish your down comforter smelled fresher?

Have you ever purchased new towels and been disappointed because they just didn’t seem to absorb well? There are a couple of things that might be causing this.

If the towels are brand new, it may take 3-4 washings before they gain their full absorbency potential as well as softness and fluffiness.

The most common deterrent to absorbency is fabric softener. I know all the commercials and ads tell you to use fabric softener on your towels to make them smell fresh. Every time you add fabric softener it builds up on the fibers and reduces the ability to absorb.

  • Wash deep colored towels before use to reduce their tendency to bleed.
  • Use 1 cup of vinegar when washing towels the first time as it will help set the color.
  • Wash like colors together.
  • Use warm water for colored towels. White towels can be washed in hot water.
  • Use non-chlorine bleach.
  • Use about ½ the normal amount of detergent.
  • Use Ό – ½ cup of vinegar in the rinse water to remove soap residue.
  • To fluff up the loop on your towels, shake them before you put them in the dryer and again when you take them out.

Decorated towels :
Wash in cold water for the first wash.
If you are adding decorative trim to purchased towels, be sure to wash both before applying to avoid shrinkage at different rates.


Many of the larger comforters and bedspreads should be washed using a commercial washer large enough to allow full soaking and aeration. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.

In hot and humid regions bedding will need to be changed more frequently than in cooler, dryer areas.



  • Wash in cool or lukewarm water that’s less than 104 degrees F.
  • Set wash cycle on “gentle”
  • Use less detergent — about half the recommended amount
  • Avoid using bleach as it breaks down fabric fibers


  • Dry sheets in the dryer only until they’re dry. Avoid over drying
  • Remove sheets from the dryer promptly and fold immediately
  • If sheets have cooled in the dryer and wrinkles have set, then tumble another 5-10 minutes with a washcloth that has
  • been slightly dampened.


  • Buy extra pillowcases as they will wear out the fastest.
  • Iron pillowcases for fresh, crisp good looks on your bed.
  • Change pillowcases at least twice a week in normal climates.


Buy extra bottom sheets for any sheet patterns you want to continue using, as these will wear out before the flat sheet.

Change sheets once a week in normal climates.
Use a mattress pad between the mattress and sheets. Wash at least every few months, or as needed.
If using sheets as fabric for decorative accessories, such as pillow covers, shams, bed skirts, tablecloths, curtain panels and the like, avoid washing them as they will lose body and become limp. Dry clean if necessary.


Machine wash with like colors.
Since deep colors may bleed, always wash before first use.
Do not use bleach on colored blankets
Tumble dry on low heat.

Decorated Blankets will be treated much the same as regular blankets.

Wash before using
Machine wash in cold water the first time you wash it. This will rid the item of excess dyes
Do not hand wash or rub colors together
Rinse thoroughly in cold water
Tumble dry on low heat

Washable Wool Blankets

Many companies are making washable wool blankets now. These offer all of the benefits of wool with the easy care of cotton. In general you can dry clean or machine wash cold on gentle cycle with mild detergent in a commercial front-loading machine. Tumble dry low briefly. Do not over dry. Do not bleach.

Placing a few towels in the dryer along with the blanket will help absorb moisture and minimize drying time. Long periods of tumbling can cause blankets to pill. The less time they spend in the dryer, the better.

[Comforter – bedding made of two layers of cloth filled with stuffing and stitched or quilted together.]
[Duvet (pronounced doo-vay) – a soft quilt usually filled with the down, usually with a washable cover, that may be used in place of a bedspread and top sheet.]

Use a duvet cover (or comforter cover) to protect your duvet/comforter. (Using a duvet and cover can allow you to eliminate the top sheet, so bedmaking is faster and easier.)
Wash the duvet cover regularly with the other bedding.
Small sized comforters/duvets can be laundered according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Down quilts should not be washed or dry cleaned too often.
Very large comforters/duvets may need to laundered or dry cleaned commercially since they are too large for most home washers.
Dry a comforter/duvet on gentle heat in the dryer, remove and adjust duvet so damp areas are exposed, then reinsert into the dryer for another cycle.
Use clean canvas sneakers or tennis balls in the dryer to return the loft to the down.
Be sure the comforter is completely dry before storing. Down can rot if stored while still damp.
Hang a comforter/duvet out to air dry for at least 24 hours to make certain all sections are dry before replacing on the bed.
Keep them fresh by airing them outside, especially in the summer. After a thunderstorm, the air is full of ozone, and ozone restores the lanolin around the down, which in return, refreshes the down.

Create a Care Instruction File

Many homemakers have benefited from having a place in the laundry room to keep care instruction tags. Some use a bulletin board, pinning new tags up as they purchase items. A very good way to organize is to use a file box. Keep the care instructions, extra buttons, lengths of yarn, or anything else that comes with a garment or household product that you may need later. Write what the item is on the tag (blue stripe sheets or dark green cotton sweater)

General Tips

Sort and launder items made of natural and manufactured fibers separately. Natural fibers can release oils which can be attracted to and stain manufactured fibers like polyester and nylon.
Using fabric softeners can reduce the effectiveness of flame retardant finishes on fabrics, as well as the absorbency of towels.
Chlorine leaves a residue that is hard to remove and can cause discoloration over time.

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