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Your mother-in-law is set to land in 2 hours and you’ve only just realized you’re out of fresh linens and towels! We wish there was better news, but if you want to take care of your fabrics as much as mother dearest, you’ll need to tell her to wait to take a shower or fib that her favorite floral bed set spontaneously combusted between visits. It may be convenient to wash everything together, but take a few things into consideration next time you’re thinking of washing your sheets and towels in one go - it may spare you some hassle and money!

Just like your delicates, certain fabrics around your home need to be treated a little differently to live a long and soft life.  Your bed sheets for example are a thin, soft material that shouldn’t be subjected to the same environment as a thick, heavy towel, and should be washed separately.  While towels may be able to endure the long cycles needed to cleanse their thick fabric, and high heat needed to permeate and thoroughly dry them, this kind of treatment would surely reduce the lifespan of a thin sheet.  Over time expect piling, thinning of fabric, and eventually holes in your sheets if you make a habit of washing these two things together. 

It’s not just about the longevity of your fabrics - the washing and drying process itself can be headache enough to end the co-mingling of these household items!  If you are using a fitted sheet (and who isn’t), by the end of your dryer cycle you will probably end up with a perfect sack of towels to put on a stick and hitchhike the country with.  The elastic edges of sheets will collect towels and eventually twist, turn, and engulf them, causing them to stay in an unrinsed ball in the wash, and a never drying mass in the dryer. What’s more depressing than expecting fluffy, warm towels straight from the dryer and instead finding them with a freshly used appearance?

It’s understandable that separating and washing so many different fabrics might seem environmentally unfriendly with all the utilities going into each load.  Consider combining everyone’s laundry from your household! The sheets and pillowcases from several family members or roomies should be enough to run at least a small load without guilt, and towels are on the thicker, more space consuming side, so filling your washing machine with these should be no task. Remember to throw some Wool Dryer Balls in with your towels to cut the overall time down, and from now on leave the sheets for a different cycle!


  • Will your detergent pods clean very dirty chef’s whites and aprons ???
    I tried eco products before and they didn’t clean at all.

    Mary burger
  • With the price of quality linens, towels, etc., I certainly want to care for them in the best way possible. However, until this evening, this “experienced”, “mature” mother, grandmother and nurse would have continued to neglect and/or cause harm to my beautiful, thoughtfully chosen and costly linens! Thank You for this useful information.

  • I was taught to separate like fabrics as well as colors by my mother. Towels were always washed alone, and separate from other items. For reference, I am 70 years old. I only run full loads of laundry, which might mean twice a month for towels, once a month for sheets, and weekly for clothing…..

    Kate Kassouf
  • Thanks for the tip. Who knew??

    Joann Wieland
  • Interesting. I’ve been doing laundry for 54 years and don’t remember anyone telling me not to wash these items together but I don’t. I don’t buy new linens very often either.

    M F Moore

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