How to Wash Bedding Without Compromising Colours

Kiran Singh

It’s widely accepted that washing bedding regularly helps us to stay healthy. Just over a third of the UK opts to launder pillowcases, sheets and duvet covers once a week*.

A hot wash (60 degrees) is often recommended by cleaning experts/microbiologists to rid our sleeping environments of dust mites, dead skin cells, bacteria and other night-time nasties. But this can be bad news for colours – especially in cheaper fabrics. Where colours will fade naturally over time, hot water and frequent washing speeds up the process and can quickly result in faded, less vibrant fabrics.

Wash Bedding

So how do we keep brightly coloured bedding fabrics vibrant?

The technical team at luxury bedding brand Appletree uses advanced dying and printing techniques on its gorgeous fabrics to ensure colour stays put. It tests its products rigorously in industry standard laundry processes to ensure the highest quality, colourfast fabrics. Appletree’s Jackie McLoughlin has this advice on washing bedding while keeping colours bright and beautiful! 

Know Your Bedding

“It sounds obvious, but always read the care label when washing a fabric for the first time, paying particular attention to the recommended temperature.  Some fabrics (usually those that are better quality) will stand up to regular washing better than others – this information will always be included on the label.”

Launder Once a Fortnight or Rotate

“Bi-weekly washing is enough to keep pillowcases and duvet covers clean, especially in winter time. If you prefer to wash weekly, then alternate with a cold cycle every other week.  Or switch over to a spare set of bedding each week – which also gives you more options for décor and design!”

Wash Low and Wash FAST

“While hot water kills germs, it also opens up fabric fibres allowing the colour to escape.

We advise washing at lower temperatures where possible, 40 degrees should really be warm enough to kill germs and other nasties without fading colours.

“If you’re really concerned about hygiene, introduce a laundry cleanser to destroy bacteria and allow you to further reduce the temperature.

“Duration is another consideration, choose the shortest cycle to limit colour run.”

Use Products to Keep Colours Bright

“Colourfast technology has really advanced in recent years, specially formulated detergents will ‘lock-in’ and keep colours vibrant. Alternatively, salt is a fantastic locking agent (as is vinegar) – include half a cup of either in with the wash to fix colours in place when washing fabrics for the first time.”

Laundry Isn’t All Black and White

“We all know to separate darks and lights but there’s a myriad of colours between the two ends of the spectrum. The ideal situation would be to wash bedding sets on their own to limit ‘dulling’ from other garments, but if that’s not workable then arrange colour washes in terms of intensity; separate pastels and brights and keep similar colours together.”

Go Inside Out

“Turn pillowcases and duvet covers inside out when washing AND drying, especially when drying outside.  This is really important, where the sun will certainly help to dry your sheets quickly, it’s also a major culprit in causing colours to fade.”

Limit the Rub a Dub Dub

 “To reduce pilling, use fabric softener to lubricate the wash, as this limits how much it rubs against itself (potentially damaging the surface of the material).  In addition, where it’s often a helping hand during the winter months, the tumble dryer is an abrasive process that will undoubtedly cause the fabric to pill (bobble), so try and hang laundry out to dry naturally where possible.

Quality Over Quantity

Investing in quality bedding is the best way to ensure it stays looking new for longer – buy well and you won’t have to replace it for years.  The price often reflects the sophistication of the manufacturing process where colours will be printed to higher standards than cheaper products, meaning they can be laundered without fear of colour run.

Many of our Appletree bedding sets feature vibrant patterns and colours. The visual impact of the designs are enhanced by the use of high quality fabrics eg: 100% Cotton Percale and our meticulous dying and finishing processes also mean our designs are better at withstanding regular washing without fading.

Better quality fabrics will also have a tighter weave which helps to prevent pilling – the accumulation of small bobbles of broken and tangled fibres that appear after pillow case fabric is rubbed during sleep and in the washing process.

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