Can You Wash Sheets And Towels Together?

Washing sheets and towels together can spell bad news for you.

Since towels produce lint, your favorite sheets will be decorated with this unsightly substance. Putting them in the same load can also cause your sheets to come into contact with bacteria found on your dirty towels and vis versa, which doesn’t sound hygienic.  

So can you wash sheets and towels together? Yes, probably. But should you wash sheets and towels together? No, ideally not.

Let’s consider why you should take the extra time and separate your laundry and wash towels and sheets separately.

Can You Wash Sheets And Towels Together

Why Washing Sheets And Towels Together Isn’t A Good Idea

It’s definitely not the end of the world if you mistakenly put your sheets and towels together for a wash, but it’s best avoided for a few reasons:

Towels Produce Lint

The terry cloth from towels produces a lot of lint. This lint is bound to get stuck on anything you add to a load of towels, especially your expensive bedsheets.

The lint from the towels will stick onto your sheets, which isn’t harmful but does look incredibly unsightly. Lint really sticks to your sheets, which can be a real pain to take off. Who wants to do another load of washing?!

Towels Can Get Trapped In The Sheets

Fitted sheets usually have elastic on each side to fit snugly on the bed. So, towels tend to ball up inside the corners of fitted sheets in the washing machine. This means that the towels will not be washed properly and, if put in the drier in this state, won’t be dried fully either.

If you have no choice but to dry sheets and towels together, you can stop the dryer mid-way to rescue the trapped towels.

They Need Different Temperatures

It’s advised to wash dirty towels on a hot cycle because they constantly come into contact with moisture and human skin cells/oil.

A hot wash kills any bacteria (dryers do too), leaving your towels fresh and hygienic. Sheets, on the hand, should not be washed in hot water as the delicate fabric may be harmed.

Sheets And Towels Don’t Have The Same Material/Weight

Sheets are usually made from light materials such as cotton, synthetic, linen, and sometimes even silk. A popular one you might know is percale, which is a plain weave of cotton-polyester blend or cotton. These materials are soft and comfortable on the skin.

On the other hand, towels are made to absorb moisture, which is why they are made from stronger, absorbent materials. Most towels are made of all-cotton terry cloth. If you look closer at your towels, you will see they have small loops of fabric to absorb moisture.

Different fabric weights require different washing and drying times. Since the machine tosses them around during the wash cycle, the speed might tear your delicate bedsheets.

Should You Wash Towels Separately From Clothes?

washing towels separately

The short answer is yes, you definitely should.

Towels should be washed separately from other clothes as they lose threads and lint and absorb colors from other clothes easily. It would help if you only used half the usual amount of detergent, as towels may lose their absorbency if too much is used.

You should also reduce the amount of fabric softener you use, as this can also reduce your towels’ absorption ability. Softener should only be used every three washes to make your towels last longer, while keeping them soft.

Since towels absorb more water, they can take longer to dry. Not drying them properly can result in a damp smell and sometimes even mildew. However, you can easily dry them by using a tumble dryer or hanging them to dry on a clothesline.

You should shake the towels out, so the fibers expand and retain their flexibility. Hanging them in the sun also fights humidity and gives your towels a fresh smell. It also fights back on cost and energy usage, so try to do this where possible!

How To Wash Dirty Sheets

washing dirty bed sheets

Like towels, it’s always a good idea to wash sheets alone. It prevents possible damage from zippers, fasteners, and stops the accumulation of lint. You should always pre-treat stains before putting the sheets to wash.

Avoid using bleach and other harsh detergents as they will damage the fabric. If you need to brighten white sheets, you can add a 1/4 cup of lemon juice for effective results. Wash your sheets on a gentle cycle using lukewarm or cool water.

Hot water is not necessary unless you want to sanitize your sheets. Always check the care label on your sheets to ensure you don’t damage them by using the wrong cycle. You can reduce wrinkles by shaking out the sheets before hanging them dry or putting them in the dryer.

How Often Should You Wash Towels And Bed Sheets?

Washing your towels frequently and letting them dry completely is the best way to keep them clean. You should wash your bath towels after three uses, but wash cloths and face towels should be washed after every use.

On the other hand, bedsheets are a little more lenient and can be washed every two weeks. This is a reasonable timeline; however, there are some exceptions, such as if you’ve been sick. In that case, they must be washed as soon as you feel better.

In reality, you should wash sheets as often as you want and whenever you feel it necessary. There are other considerations, such as if pets sleep on your bed or after a crazy night out. If you love the feeling of relaxing on fresh sheets, you can do it more often, especially if you don’t use harsh detergents.

Keeping a regular washing schedule on your sheets and towels will keep everyone healthy and happy!


To prolong the lifespan and quality of your linen, sheets and towels must not be put in the same load. You must also wash clothes in a separate load from towels and bedding. Separating the laundry saves you the trouble of lint and poorly washed towels, ensuring all your items last for longer.

Shauna Stone