Real Egyptian cotton sheets are some of the softest and most luxurious that you can buy and they are great if you have night sweats, hot flashes, or tend to sleep warm because the sheets are highly breathable to help cool you down and regulate your temperature – whilst also absorbing moisture to keep you comfortable and dry.
And the extra-long fibers combine with a tighter weave to make for a highly durable sheet that can last you for many, many years.
However, real Egyptian cotton sheets aren’t cheap – so you really need to know how to care for these sheets to ensure that you don’t end up damaging them and wasting your money.
To wash Egyptian cotton sheets without damaging them, read the label and follow the exact care instructions listed, then either machine wash or hand wash the sheets at the specified temperature, before hang drying or tumble drying them as directed.
The rest of this article walks you through the details of washing your Egyptian cotton bed sheets step-by-step.
Alternatively: if you need to buy some new sheets, check out my list of the best Egyptian cotton bed sheets to buy online now.
How to Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Much like silk bed sheets, satin bed sheets, and bamboo bed sheets – you do need to take a bit of extra care when washing and drying your Egyptian cotton sheets and pillow cases.
But once you’ve followed the steps below a few times it will become second nature and you won’t have to expend too much effort each wash day.
Here’s what you need to do to care for your Egyptian cotton sheet set properly.
1: Read the Label First
The first order of business is to read the care label attached to your sheets to find out the appropriate method and temperature for washing, drying, and ironing them.
It’s important that you do this because the guidelines will be specific to your sheets and will supersede the advice given in this guide.
2: Wash Your Sheets
Although hand-washing is more forgiving, you’ll probably discover that the label for your sheets says that they can be machine washed – which will save you a bunch of time.
And if you have bought real Egyptian cotton sheets – rather than a cotton or synthetic blend – then the care instructions will likely mirror the recommendations made by the Cotton Egypt Association .
Which are as follows:
- Wash at no more than 40 degrees.
- Don’t add any additional products.
- Use a gentle wash cycle.
- Air-dry if possible.
- Iron on a low heat.
I would also add that you should always wash your Egyptian cotton sheets on their own.
Because washing with other clothes can cause damage to the sheets through abrasion with things like buttons, zippers, and even just other types of materials.
Plus the extra space in the drum will allow for a more thorough wash and to limit creasing.
You’ll also want to use a lower temperature – or cold water – for washing to prevent your sheets from shrinking.
I would also go for a mild detergent that doesn’t contain chlorinated bleach to avoid the risk of damaging the fibers.
It might also be a good idea to use half of the recommended amount of laundry detergent if your sheets aren’t heavily soiled because excess detergent can lead to wrinkling and pilling.
And because Egyptian cotton sheets naturally become softer with each wash, there’s no need to use fabric softeners – which could potentially damage the natural fibers and reduce the breathability of the sheets due to coating.
Don’t leave your sheets sat in the machine – take them out immediately once the cycle is complete to limit wrinkles.
3: Dry and Iron Your Sheets
It’s quite likely that the label for your sheets will say that you can tumble dry them on a low heat.
But if you want to follow the advice of the Cotton Egypt Association then you can opt to hang-dry them – which will allow the creases to drop out.
To remove the wrinkles, you’re best off ironing the sheets on a low heat when they are still slightly damp.
Also, when you’ve applied the fitted sheet and the top sheet to your bed, you can spray them lightly with tap water using a spritzer bottle – then tuck the sheets to create surface tension.
You’ll then find that the sheets will dry wrinkle-free.
Washing Egyptian Cotton Sheets FAQs
As you can see from the steps above, washing and drying your Egyptian cotton sheets is pretty simple.
However, to make this guide more thorough, I’ve provided the answers to the most common questions regarding the proper care of your sheets.
Should You Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets Before First Use?
Brand new Egyptian cotton sheets tend to feel stiff due to the fibers and the treatments used in the manufacturing process.
To fix this, wash them as described on the care label but do NOT use detergent – since this can lock in chemical residues if they are present.
Instead, add 1 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the drum.
How Do You Remove Stains From Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach to try and remove the stains from your Egyptian cotton sheets.
Instead, add one tablespoon of baking soda to the drum of your washing machine and wash your sheets in cold water using a gentle cycle.
You can then add 1 cup of white vinegar (NOT apple cider vinegar since this can cause the sheets to turn brown) to the rinse cycle.
This should remove most mild stains from your sheets.
If this doesn’t work, check out my guides to whitening yellow sheets and removing blood from bed sheets for more aggressive methods that you can use to remove discolouration and stains.
Do Egyptian Cotton Sheets Wrinkle?
One of the most annoying things about real Egyptian cotton sheets is that they wrinkle heavily after washing.
If your sheets aren’t wrinkling, then you may have purchased an Egyptian cotton sheet that’s blended with other types of cotton or with synthetic materials – since combining cotton with materials like polyester is actually a very effective way to make wrinkle free bed sheets.
Some of the things that you can do to limit wrinkling include:
- Washing your sheets by themselves to create more space in the drum and reduce the crumpling that leads to wrinkles via the reconfiguration of the cellulose bonds.
- Use half of the recommended amount of detergent – since residue can lead to wrinkling.
- Air-dry instead of using the tumble dryer to allow the creases to drop out.
- Put your sheets back on the bed when they are slightly damp – or spritz them lightly with water – and pull them tight so that they will dry wrinkle free.
Can You Iron Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
Usually yes, the label will say that you can iron your Egyptian cotton sheets on a low heat.
It’s best to iron your sheets when they are still slightly damp to help get rid of the wrinkles.
Can Egyptian Cotton Sheets Shrink?
Yes, Egyptian cotton sheets are liable to shrink.
Here’s a few things that you can do to limit the chances of this happening:
- Wash at a low temperature.
- Air-dry to avoid excess heat.
- Iron on a low heat.
But even if you follow the above advice, you may still find that your sheets will have shrunk by around 5% after the first wash.
To account for this, you might want to go ahead and buy a deep pocket fitted sheet if your mattress is around 12-14 inches thick so that it won’t keep popping off the mattress during the night.
Can You Machine Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
In nearly all cases yes – the label will typically state that you can machine wash your Egyptian cotton sheets.
This will typically need to be done in water that’s below 40 degrees centigrade and on a gentle cycle.
How Often Should You Wash Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
Normally, you should wash your Egyptian cotton sheets every 7-14 days to remove the sweat and oils that might otherwise cause your sheets to turn yellow.
However, you may decide to up this to once every 5-7 days in the summer when you’ll typically be sweating more often.
More frequent washing may also be advised if you have allergies to ensure that you’re getting rid of the dust mites, pollen, and other allergens that may become ingrained in the sheets and cause a flare up.
When Should You Buy a New Egyptian Cotton Sheet?
I have seen some manufacturers say that their sheets will last 40 years or more.
But I think that it’s more realistic to say that a high quality Egyptian cotton bed sheet will last you in the region of 5-10 years or more when properly looked after.
If you need to buy a new Egyptian cotton sheet set – or just want to make the switch to this luxurious and incredibly soft type of bed sheet – click the button below.
And you can see my reviews for some of the best rated Egyptian cotton bed sheet, duvet, and comforter sets that you can currently buy online.
Sources and References
 Cotton Egypt Association – How To Wash And Dry Your Egyptian Cotton™ Bedding. Accessed 28/2/20.
Always check the label and/or care instructions for the exact terms for washing and drying your Egyptian cotton bed sheets properly – the information in this post is general and may not be correct for your bed sheets.
Image Licencing and Attribution
Main image: ‘Drying White Sheets’ by kn1 (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.