Airbnb owners have many questions about maintaining the linens in their rental units, especially when it comes to washing sheets and towels. Keeping your inventory of sheets and towels in circulation is important! You do not want to damage inventory that is expensive to replace.
It may seem like a good idea to wash sheets and towels together to save time and housekeeping costs, but is it really a good idea? Let’s take a look at the washing differences between sheets and towels, what damage can occur if sheets and towels are washed together, and how this impacts the lifespan of linens.
Think again! If you’re familiar with housekeeping, you’ve probably heard different opinions on whether you should wash sheets and towels together. Well, we’re here to provide you with a definitive answer: NO.
We spoke to some laundry service professionals from around the USA to learn why they separate their sheets and towels in their commercial laundry businesses. And, while you might not be running a commercial laundry business, you should be caring for your linens like a pro!
By weight, we’re referring to the thickness of the pieces. Their thickness can affect how long they take to dry in the dryer. Linens, a lighter weight, will dry faster than towels, which are obviously thicker. This means either towels won’t dry fully–which could lead to the formation of mold or mildew–or sheets will be over-dried resulting in damage and shortening their lifespan.
If you wash sheets and towels together it can make it difficult for your washer machine’s drum to move effectively during its spin cycle; this could lead to unnecessary wear-and-tear on your washer which may reduce its longevity over time if not corrected promptly. By separating your wash cycles into different loads based on temperature settings and material types (sheets vs towels), you ensure that both items are properly cleaned without increasing wear-and-tear on either item or your washer machine itself. Not only will you get cleaner linens faster with separate loads, but you’ll also extend the life of your linens by avoiding any potential damage caused by improper washing techniques.
“The dry cycle, not separating your sheets and towels is a one-way ticket to higher utility costs! The balance between linens in the dryer is like a dance. You can’t have one dancer dancing to a different song than the other. Everything will get tangled up! And tangled linens take forever to dry. Instead, limit your dry cycles to one type of linen so the tumble dance can be harmonious!” – Bill H, Clean Commercial Laundry Service
At first glance, this may not seem like a huge concern, but because towels are largely made out of cotton they’re more likely to produce lint. Because of the difference in material, your sheets can end up covered in lint, changing its appearance and texture, and damaging its lifeline. New towels in particular produce a lot of lint.
Sheets are typically made from a lighter fabric than towels, meaning they require a gentler cycle in the washer or dryer. Towels are much thicker, so they need a longer or stronger cycle in order to get them clean.
It’s also important to note that sheets can often be sensitive to certain laundry detergents or fabric softeners, so these should be avoided when washing them. On the other hand, towels are usually quite durable and can stand up to most detergents without any problems.
“Lint on sheets will get itchy! Whether you are washing your own sheets and towels at home or providing a service as a commercial laundry service, scratchy lint on soft sheets is a surefire way to lose sleep and lose clients! -Myles B, Cooper Laundry Services
Sheets require a lower temperature setting than most towels do. Sheets are generally made of a fabric blend that includes some natural fibers, so they need to be washed at a lower temperature to reduce shrinkage in the fabric.
That being said, there are also certain types of sheet fabrics (such as polyester microfiber) that will tolerate higher temperatures without shrinking or fading. Always read the care labels on your sheets before laundering them! Also, always use delicate laundry detergent for washing your sheets. Any harsh detergents or bleach can cause damage to the fabric over time.
Towels, on the other hand, need higher temperatures with harsher detergents to ensure proper cleaning. This is because towels tend to accumulate bacteria from frequent use and need strong detergents to kill germs effectively. Furthermore, high temperatures help remove oils from skin which may build up on towel fibers over time.
“Because towels come into contact with skin cells and dampness frequently, you should wash them with hot water to rid them of any lingering bacteria. However, sheets don’t need to be washed in hot water. In fact, if you do, it could damage the finer fabric.
Most people are afraid to wash in hot cycles. As a commercial laundry service, we know the benefits of hot cycle washes. But, you don’t want to process your delicate linens in hot cycles. These sheets can’t stand the heat like the towels can!” -Rose H, Commercial Laundry Pros
This is an important consideration, because it also affects drying time. If a towel becomes tightly wrapped in a sheet, it won’t dry properly resulting in mildew and mold. Additionally, if towels or other pieces of clothing are getting caught in sheets, they’re not rubbing up against other items of clothing which is an essential part of the cleaning process in a washer.
When washing sheets and towels together, it’s important to remember that towels can cause damage to sheets due to their size and thickness. This is because thicker fabrics will cause friction between them during the wash cycle which can lead to pilling or tearing of the delicate fabric of your sheets over time. It’s also worth noting that towels tend to collect lint during the wash cycle which can then transfer onto your sheets.
“Also, when you are heading to fold, it helps having all the sheets with the sheets and towels with the towels. When you are folding a lot of laundry, the consistency helps. Muscle memory takes over and folding get a lot easier!” -Mark V, The Folde Commercial Laundry Service
Despite its convenience factor, anyone who knows anything about commercial laundry would not recommend that Airbnb owners wash their sheets and towels together .
Different materials require different care instructions, which means mixing these two types of linen during one wash cycle can result in damaged linens over time. It’s a gradual decline that will slowly deplete all of your Airbnb linen inventory – causing you to replace linens quicker.
That is a big price tag caused by simple improper laundering techniques!
Separating linens into separate loads based on their material type (sheets vs towels) will not only give your linen a better clean, it will also help prevent unnecessary wear-and-tear on your linens and your washer – all while extending the life of your linens significantly!
As an Airbnb laundry service, we see a ton of sheets and towels. The cheap ones never last! If you are looking for a good ROI on your inventory investment, we recommend GhostSheets Bedsheets and American Soft Linen Bath Towels for all Airbnb laundry service customers.
The best way to launder your materials is to start by separating them into linens, clothing, and towels. Then you should check the labels on individual pieces. Labels will include important information such as what temp to wash them at, how to dry them, and if/how to apply bleach.
Next, make sure you’re familiar with your washing machine’s cycles in order to properly select the best method for cleaning your pieces. Other tips for washing towels and linens correctly include:
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