• Instagram

Should You Wash Bed Sheets Before First Use?

The label tells you to wash new sheets before first use, but why? The sheets look so crisp and new and clean and inviting - we get it - but washing bedding before you first use it is a must.

Why You Should Wash Bed Sheets Before Using Them

Here are some of the main reasons for washing new sheets before you use them for the first time.

Stiff Sheets

Straight out of the packet, new bed sheets are quite stiff and uncomfortable. Sticking them through the wash will make them softer, more fragrant, and gentler to the touch.


Those sheets have come straight from the factory. Bed sheets will often be made in one country, stitched in a different country, and dyed in another. Different territories have different regulations on the chemicals that can be used in the manufacturing process.

A frequently used chemical for bed sheets is formaldehyde. This stops mildew forming on them while they’re being transported around the world. Other used chemicals are known skin irritants.

A pre-emptive wash will get rid of most chemical residue and drastically reduce any adverse effects that may occur.

Where Have They Been?

Chemicals aside, we’re talking about bed sheets that have been made in garment and textile factories that often have less stringent hygiene and safety regulations than in the EU.

It is entirely possible that these sheets have come into contact with all kinds of bacteria, germs and even fungi. There’s also the possibility of dust mites, lice and even contact infections like athlete’s foot - especially if sheets have been handled by customers in store.


New sheets may potentially rub dye off onto you, and some people will react to these dyes. This can lead to itching and rashes. Washing new sheets will drastically reduce the chance of that happening.


Can you not smell that? New bed sheets will often have a chemical smell - not ideal when you’re trying to drift off to sleep. A wash will make sure they’re nice and fragrant and you don’t have to try and fall asleep thinking about what chemicals and residues are creating that nauseating smell.

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin - and any of your children and little ones will - then this is a must. If you’re buying new sheets for a baby (this applies to towels, clothes and so on, as well) then a pre-emptive wash is essential.

You may be able to resist the irritation that new sheets can cause, but young, sensitive skin and baby skin definitely can’t.

Looking to shop for new sheets? Browse our full range of bedding, or see our duvet cover sets, bedspreads, and fitted sheets.

© The Mill Shop. All rights reserved. The Mill Shop, Stoney Street, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 4GH. Company registration number 02076957. VAT Registered 442282172.