This Cheap Laundry Hack Makes Sheets Feel Expensive

August 5th, 2020

There’s nothing like sliding into a bed with freshly washed sheets…until you realize those new sheets you just bought aren’t actually as soft as they felt in the store. Don’t despair. There’s a way to fix those sheets and make them feel much softer. (And don’t worry if your sheets aren’t brand new. This trick can help out those sheets, too.)

The first step to take is to put down your fabric softener. Yes, really! Fabric softener coats fabric fibers. For things like sheets, this makes them less breathable. Over time, it can even degrade the fabric. So it might seem counterintuitive, but you won’t need any fabric softener at all for this hack. 

In fact, you might already have the ingredients on hand. Don’t worry if you don’t, though. The materials will only set you back about $3 at any grocery store. 

So, how to get softer sheets? For brand new sheets, toss them into your washing machine with one cup of baking soda and a half cup of distilled white vinegar. Then, simply run the washer for its full cycle. For best results, experts recommend starting your washer on hot but finishing on cold during the rinse cycle. 

For older sheets, you can simply add baking soda and vinegar to the wash with about half the amount of your usual detergent.

Why does this work?

When detergent residue builds up on your sheets, it causes them to feel stiff. The combination of baking soda and vinegar counteracts that. Baking soda boosts the alkalinity of the water, making detergent more effective. It might surprise you to know that vinegar is a great fabric softener. This is because it’s acidic. Because detergents are alkaline, vinegars neutralize the fabric softener residues. And don’t worry—it won’t leave your sheets smelling like vinegar, either.

Just be careful about using it too often. With repeated use, the acid in vinegar can damage a washer’s hoses and seals, especially in front-load washers.

You might also notice your colors look brighter—a bonus effect from the baking soda. So, rather than spend money on new sheets, or on really expensive sheets, try this easy, inexpensive trick first. You’ll love the way your sheets feel, and how much you’ll save!

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