How to Wash Bamboo Sheets & Pillowcases [Definitive Guide]

There are so many advantages that make bamboo bedding well worth the outlay and extra effort. 

Bamboo linen is: 

  • Soft and super comfy
  • Able to regulate temperature on hot and cold nights 
  • Great for the skin (hypoallergenic and antibacterial) 
  • Not in need of fabric softener and becomes softer and softer with every wash
  • A more eco-friendly alternative to other fabrics

If you want to maintain that first night’s bliss of sleeping on your bamboo bedding, then it’s best you know how to take care of it. 

Bamboo is delicate to the touch, and well-looked after bedding can be durable for season after season, night after night. In fact, the first point of care for your sheets and pillowcases is to prewash them before you use them for the first time.

That’s why I’m sharing this guide. If you’ve been wondering how to wash bamboo sheets and pillowcases to get the most out of them, you’ve come to the right place. 

Let’s take a look now at proper washing and care, drying, stain removal, and storage.

How to care for and wash your bamboo sheets

Look at the care label

When in doubt, follow the instructions. When not in doubt, follow the instructions anyway!

The people who made your sheets probably know best when it comes to how to take care of your bedding. The care label will be the best resource to find out the correct washing temperature, instructions for hand washing or machine washing, drying, ironing, and safe detergents. 

Care labels will generally say similar things when it comes to taking care of bedding, but it’s best to make sure about the specific instructions for your particular set and not make any assumptions. 

The washing process

Bamboo bed sheets and pillowcases are generally safe for machine wash (again, make sure that this is true for YOUR particular bed set in step one!). The best practices for washing the fabric of bamboo products are more-or-less the same, however. 

  • Wash at low temperatures - higher temperatures will shrink the sheets. A cool wash at no more than 30 degrees centigrade or 90 degrees Fahrenheit is generally safe for bamboo fabric.
  • Select gentle wash - bamboo is a delicate material so you should take care to not subject it to the rough and tumble that you would use to clean hardier fabrics, like cotton or polyester.
  • Wash your bedding separately - from other clothes. Zippers or buttons can hook onto the bamboo material in its most vulnerable wet state in the wash, permanently damaging the material. Bamboo also very easily collects lint from cotton or synthetic textiles. It would be annoying to have to wash it again after it’s just come out of the wash.
  • Use a mild, eco-friendly detergent - avoid bleach to whiten or remove stains because this can damage the sheets. If you want to know more about making a homemade stain removal paste for your sheets and pillowcases, skip ahead to the FAQ section.

Drying your sheets

  • The best way to dry your bamboo sheets is air-drying them naturally. The wrinkles and creases of the washing process will melt from the fabric after a few hours of hanging out on the line.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on your bamboo products. This can damage the fibers by breaking down the cellular structure of the bamboo, causing it to lose the natural softness.
  • Most bamboo sheets are safe for the dryer. Again, be sure to check the care label as to whether this is the case. If it is dryer safe, it’s common among all bamboo fabric products that the dryer should be set to delicate fabrics at a low temperature.

Storing bamboo bedding properly

To increase the lifespan of your bamboo bedding, it’s good practice to have a few sets in rotation. This is also a great opportunity to keep your bedroom looking fresh and spruced up with different colors and shades. How you store your bedding is a vital part of taking care of it.

  • Store your sheets in a cool and dry place
  • Don’t keep them in direct sunlight as this can stiffen the fabric
  • Don’t store them in plastic as this can cause mildew growth from trapped moisture
  • Dyes and residue from cardboard boxes can also be absorbed into the fabric

FAQ’s

How long do bamboo sheets and pillowcases last?

Care for your bamboo bed linen and they will last you a long time. That’s why it’s important to know how often to wash and dry them, and the right way to do this. If you proper care of them, they can last up to six years - that’s 2190 days and nights of soft bamboo comfort!

Do I need to wash my bamboo sheets before I use them?

Yes. Because a lot of bamboo linen on the market are manufactured using a chemical process, it’s a good idea to prewash them before your first use. Prewashing your new bamboo sheets and pillowcases removes the chemical residues that may still be present from the process of manufacture, not to mention the storage, packaging, and shipping. Prewashing will also remove the stiffness of brand new just-shipped bed sheets.

How often should I wash my bamboo sheets?

Generally speaking, you should wash your sheets every seven to ten days in the summer. In the winter or during cooler temperatures, you can get away with washing it every two to three weeks, tops. One of the best qualities of bamboo bedding is the more you wash it, the softer and plusher it becomes. 

I love my bamboo sheets more today than the day I got them!

How do I get rid of stains from bamboo sheets and pillowcases?

Because of the moisture-wicking properties of bamboo, you’ll find that they may stain more easily than conventional cotton or polyester bedding. 

First thing’s first - PUT DOWN THE BLEACH! Harsh chemicals like bleach, or even acidic reagents like vinegar attacks the cellular structure of the bamboo fibers. You may remove the stain, but you’ll also weaken the fabric beyond repair.

Instead, try mixing three to four tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with a quarter cup of water as a homemade stain removal paste. Apply this paste to the stain and leave it to soak in cold water for 20 minutes or so before washing. This is a gentle and environmentally friendly way to get rid of stains on your delicate bedding.

How do I whiten my bamboo sheets and pillowcases?

Avoid bleaching or chemically starching your bamboo sheets and bedding at all costs. Instead, try soaking your sheets in an eco-friendly and mild laundry pre-soak detergent. Bicarbonate of soda is a great homemade green option to save money and preserve your bedding. 

I've found that it is among the most powerful cleaning products, tackling even stubborn stains like:

  • Blood stains
  • Sweat stains
  • Food stains

Make a habit out of frequent washing and changing your bedding. Apart from extending the life of your bamboo bedding, it’s just good hygienic practice.

Do bamboo sheets shrink?

Yes. Bamboo bed sheets definitely shrink after the first spin in the washing machine. The best bed sheet manufacturers know this and deliberately make their bedsheets slightly oversized to accommodate this. You’ll notice the shrinkage, especially after your first wash. 

To prevent over shrinking, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, ESPECIALLY when it comes to washing temperatures. Washing on a high heat can cause excessive shrinking of your bamboo bedding. 

Do bamboo sheets wrinkle?

Bamboo bed sheets are prone to wrinkle. The good news is that the wrinkles and creases in the fabric are easy come, easy go. Just hanging the bedsheets on the line is usually enough to have those wrinkles fall away as easily as they arrived.

Is it safe to iron my bamboo bed sheets?

Simply draping your sheets over a line for a few hours is enough to get rid of the wrinkles and creases caused by washing or storage. However, if you absolutely must get rid of those creases and you have no time to spare, then ironing it on a cool setting is the way to do it. Always check the care label before you do.

Can I wash my bamboo bed sheets with other clothes or towels?

Definitely not. Bamboo sheets and pillowcases should be washed and dried separately from other fabrics. Buttons and zippers could catch on the material, while the material of other items can cause hard to remove lint balls to form on your sheets.

Can I put my bamboo bed sheets in the dryer?

Yes, but make sure that you read the label very carefully. Treat bamboo fabric as a delicate material, so any dryer cycle should be set to the cycle and temperature for delicate fabrics at a low temperature.

How do I wash bamboo sheets to remove hair?

The good news is that bamboo is a lot less sticky than other types of material when it comes to attracting your hair and pet hair. In fact, if you have an affectionate furry friend who loves jumping up onto your bed to show you some love, bamboo is a lot more resistant to retaining fur or hair. This is because bamboo textile itself is tightly woven, making it much harder for other strands to become woven in by friction.

But pets will be pets, and hair fall is what it is. Some strands of hair or fur will invariably stick themselves to your bedding.

To rid your bedding of any errant hairs, whether it’s yours of your pets, simply wash bamboo sheets as I’ve described in this guide. Alternatively, regularly using a household lint roller should be more than enough to keep them fur-free.

Final thoughts 

I hope you now have the knowledge you need to get the most out of your luxurious bamboo pillowcases and sheets. Take heed of the care instructions and they will take care of you!

If you’re still looking for new sets, I reviewed my favorite bamboo sheets here and my top picks for bamboo pillowcases here. 

Sweet dreams!

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