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How to Wash Bamboo Sheets

Bamboo bed sheets are popular because they are some of the softest and most breathable that you can buy.

Plus, they are great at regulating your temperature and wicking away moisture to help you sleep warm in winter, cool in summer, and help you to stay dry if you suffer from night sweats.

But if you care for them improperly, then you could end up damaging the material – leading to shrinkage, pilling, and a horrible sandpaper texture which can irritate your skin and snag your hair.

That’s why I’m going to show you how to wash your bamboo sheets safely in 3 easy steps below.

Let’s jump straight in.

How to Wash Bamboo Bed Sheets in 3 Steps

Detergent being put into a washing machine to wash bamboo bed sheets.

Image source: stock photo used with permission.

Much like silk sheets and satin bed sheets, you do need to take a bit of extra care when washing and drying your bamboo bed sheets to avoid ruining their unique softness.

However, once you’ve got the steps below nailed, the whole process will feel almost as easy as caring for your other types of linens.

Plus, you’ll also tend to find that your bamboo sheets will soften over time as you continue to wash and dry them because the fibers will loosen up a little.

Here’s what you need to do to clean your bamboo bed sheets properly.

1: Read the Label First

Regardless of the material, the golden rule when washing your bed sheets is to look at the care label before you do anything.

Because it’s here that you’ll find the specifics regarding the correct washing and drying temperature, ironing, if hand washing is required, and if bleach and fabric softeners should be avoided.

Do not skip this step.

2: Wash

The good news is that you’ll probably discover that the label for your bamboo sheets says that they can be machine washed – rather than having to be washed by hand.

You’ll also typically find that you’ll be instructed to wash your bamboo sheets in either cold or lukewarm water that doesn’t exceed 30 degrees centigrade because heat can cause bamboo sheets to shrink – so you should absolutely avoid hot water.

The cycle type will more than likely be specified as gentle or normal.

It’s best to use a mild detergent that does NOT contain bleach or optical brighteners because these chemicals can cause the fibers to break down.

Fabric softeners should be avoided too.

Be sure to wash your bamboo sheets separately to avoid lint and abrasions with zippers and other materials that could cause your sheets to pill, snag, or tear.

If your sheets come out of the wash feeling rough despite following the directions correctly – don’t worry because they will soften again once they have dried.

3: Dry

Because heat is bad for bamboo fabrics, it’s best to avoid the tumble dryer and instead hang-dry your bamboo sheets out of direct sunlight to avoid the UV rays that can degrade the fibers.

However, many manufacturers will state on their label that you can tumble dry their sheets on a low heat or no heat setting, but you need to be careful because you really don’t want your sheets to shrink.

Washing Bamboo Sheets FAQs

Woman sleeping on freshly washed bamboo bed sheets.

Image source: stock photo used with permission.

Washing your bamboo bed sheets is as simple as following the three steps above in conjunction with the specific instructions on the care label.

But here are some answers to the most common questions regarding the washing and care of bamboo bed sheets.

Should You Wash Bamboo Sheets Before First Use?

Yes, you can pre-wash your bamboo sheets before the first use if you wish.

Because as I said in my guide to buying the best bamboo bed sheets, the vast majority of bamboo sheets on the market are NOT 100% organic because they are manufactured using a chemical process rather than a mechanical one.

This means that it’s a good idea to wash your bamboo sheets before you use them for the first time to remove any chemical residues.

However, you should NOT perform this initial wash using a detergent.

Because the detergent can actually lock in the chemical residues.

I’ve consulted several reputable sources [1], [2], and they all agree that you should pre-wash your sheets by adding 1 cup of baking soda to begin the wash, and then add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of using a detergent.

This process is also recommended to help soften new bed sheets that are stiff [3].

Hang-dry or tumble dry your sheets as per the instructions on the label and your sheets should then be ready to use.

How Do You Remove Stains from Bamboo Sheets?

It depends on what the stain is.

But the general rule for removing stains from any kind of bed sheet is to start with the most natural and gentle methods, and then work your way up to the more aggressive techniques – providing that they don’t contradict the instructions on the care label (using bleach on delicate fibers for example).

If you’re trying to get blood out of bamboo sheets then start with the salt water method listed in my guide to getting blood out of bed sheets.

Otherwise, to remove more general stains from your bamboo bed sheets:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 4 tablespoons of cold water to create a spot cleaning solution.
  • Take a colourless white cloth and dab it in the solution.
  • Dab gently at the stain using the cloth – do NOT rub at the stain since this could damage the fibers and push the stain in further.
  • Wash the sheets as normal.
  • Check that the stain has gone BEFORE you dry them – since heat/drying can cause many stains to set.
  • If the stain hasn’t gone – repeat the process until you are happy and then dry as per the instructions on the care label.

Do Bamboo Sheets Wrinkle?

Yes.

One of the biggest problems with bamboo sheets is that they wrinkle pretty easily out of the wash – especially if they are made from 100% bamboo linen.

Sometimes, many of the wrinkles will drop out if you hang-dry them.

Otherwise, you can iron them on a low heat setting to remove the wrinkles.

Can You Iron Bamboo Sheets?

Often yes, the care label will say that you can iron your bamboo sheets on a low heat setting.

It’s really important that you don’t over-iron your bamboo sheets because excess heat can cause shrinkage.

Be sure to use a low heat setting and use long strokes to avoid the fiber being exposed to the heat of the iron for more than a few seconds.

Can Bamboo Sheets Shrink?

Yes, your bamboo sheets can shrink if they are exposed to hot or even warm temperatures when being washed, dried, or ironed.

In fact, unless the label states that your bamboo sheets have been preshrunk, then you should expect them to shrink up to 5% when washed for the first time regardless of the temperature used [4].

Keep this in mind when buying a fitted sheet for your mattress – you might want to go for a deep pocket fitted sheet to give you some leeway, so that you don’t end up with a sheet that won’t stay in place.

Can You Machine Wash Bamboo Sheets?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases the care label will say that you can machine wash your bamboo sheets.

But you’ll probably be told to do this in cold or lukewarm water on a gentle cycle to avoid shrinkage and damage to the fibers.

How Often Should You Wash Bamboo Sheets?

Due to the extra heat in the summer, washing your bamboo sheets every 7-10 days is the best option.

Because even though bamboo is good at wicking away moisture, washing more often to remove sweat and dead skin cells is going to result in a more hygienic sheet which can make it harder for dust mites to thrive in – plus it can remove pollen which may cause your hayfever to worsen if you have it.

However, over-washing your sheets can damage them.

So in winter, you can probably get away with washing your bamboo bed sheets every 10-14 days because you’ll probably be sweating less and pollen is less likely to be an issue.

When Should You Buy a New Bamboo Sheet?

How long can you expect your bamboo bed sheets to last?

Well, I’ve seen some crazy claims from manufacturers saying that their bamboo sheets can last more than 15 years!

But to be totally honest, I think that 2 – 5 years is a more realistic window for decent quality bamboo sheets if you wash and care for them correctly.

Are you ready to buy a new bamboo bed sheet set?

Then click the button below.

Because in addition to sourcing out the best bamboo bed sheets for night sweats, staying cool, softness, durability, allergies, and more – I’ve also debunked some of the claims regarding the eco friendliness and ‘organic’ nature of bamboo bed sheets.

It does go against the grain of much of the other stuff that you’ll read on other affiliate review sites but I’ve derived this information from reputable sources like the FTC.

Click the button to learn more and to shop with confidence now.


Sources and References

[1] GhostBed – How to Wash Bed Sheets. Accessed 12/2/20.

[2], [3] WikiHow – How to Soften Stiff New Sheets. Accessed 12/2/20.

[4] eHow – Instructions for Ironing & Taking Care of Bamboo Fabric. Accessed 12/2/20.

Important Disclaimer

Always check the label and/or care instructions for the exact terms for washing and drying your bamboo bed sheets properly – the information in this post is general and may not be correct for your bed sheets.

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