Ok, let us review the major steps from my General Care Instructions:
- Read the “Care Label”
- If necessary, separate bedding pieces to avoid damaging decorative edges or patterns.
- Separate bedding from all other laundry.
- Warm, gentle cycle.
- NO pouring detergent directly onto fabric. And NO fabric softener!
- Hang dry, or machine dry on LOW heat
- Store or make the bed.
- Lights out.
Now that your instructions have been turned into “Spark Notes” let us get to the real focus of Part Two of this blog series: All things washing! Washers, washing detergents, washing temperatures, and fabric softeners.
As mentioned before in the General Care Instructions, all washing recommendations are based on the average performance of a commercial washing machine. We’ll save the industrial machine talk for another day of blogging. Per those averages, you should find that your washing machine (front or top loader) generally washes your belongings at a temperature of 104°F on the WARM setting. *That’s pretty high considering the CDC recommends that bedding infected with bed bugs be washed at 120°F.
How do they know that? You’d think that washing machine manufacturers are the ones spending all of their time researching that topic, but believe it or not that information is more important to people like myself who manufacture textiles and detergent companies.
You see, detergents need a minimum water temperature of 65°F in order to activate their ingredients. Soil removal and soil suspension is very poor in cold water, so therefore they recommend the following to achieve the whitest whites, and the cleanest colors:
- Whites and Heavily Soiled Colorfast Items wash on HOT (120-140°F)
- Most loads on WARM (85-105°F)
- Only very bright colors with light soil on COLD (65°F or below)
- *NOTE: Detergent manufacturers and care labels define COLD water as 80-85°F. So here’s a good rule of thumb to practice (pun intended): If the water temperature is too cold for your hands, the detergent is probably not getting warm enough to activate the ingredients and clean your laundry.
Also important to note about detergents, if you overload your washer, the residue, soil, and lint cannot be rinsed away and will instead be deposited on the fabrics. Although you may not see it, you can most likely feel the sticky residue or see the residue it the item is then ironed. This is why we recommend that your bedding and sheets also be laundered separately. Exposure to these chemicals to your skin can sometimes cause irritation or a rash.
If you are noticing detergent staining or streaking, your machine may have residue buildup in the tub and/or the dispenser. This happens commonly and can be fixed by adding 1 cup of Calgon (http://www.calgon.com/) to a full tub of hot water. Run through a wash cycle with no clothes and this should remove any deposits from detergents or laundry additives.
So why NO fabric softener, again? Not only is it a threat to the wicking-efficiency of Wicked Sheets, fabric softener gets a bad rap for most things that it can and will do to your washer and dryer. Inside your washing machine, rinse-added fabric softeners have a chemical reaction with your detergent. The suds that are created during the wash cycle, then get trapped in the folds of the fabric and deposit white residue which shows up after drying. From a Wicked Sheets stand-point, the chemicals in the fabric softener are sticky and start to deposit into the pores of the fabric, blocking the pores from moisture absorption. When the pores are clogged, little-to-no sweat, water, or moisture can be wicked (taken in) to keep you and your mattress dry.
Well, my friends, that’s about it for my piece on washing itself. Remember to check out Part Three of this blog series, as we discuss all things drying. Although a very important step in the cleaning process because of its powers of “sterilization”, we’ll take a look at how hot it actually gets inside, as well as the do’s and don’ts of drying.
Until then, sleep wicked! – A