When buying colorful bedding, often the package will state that the fabric is “colorfast.” That means the colors should not fade or run. In reality, everything will fade over time and many washes. However, adding one-third cup of salt to the initial (full load) wash will set the colors.
We have all seen our beautiful white linens come from the washer as a pastel pink when something red has found its way into the wash. Of course, the first recommendation is to carefully sort the wash prior to putting it into the machine.
Yet, sometimes we purchase brightly colored bedding, especially for our children. Recently, we wrote an article on the multitude of options for room decor a set of Sponge Bob Square Pants offers for a kids room. We strongly suggest that if you purchase bedding for kids that is multicolored you pre-wash the sheets and pillowcases prior to use. That is the best time to add a little salt to the wash. It will set the colors and keep them from running and fading with use.
Additionally, salt seems to neutralize the “sizing” that is in most bedding fabrics. The sizing is the chemical component that makes the sheets feels stiff and rough to the touch. The use of salt in the wash and fabric softener in the rinse should make any new bedding ensemble comfortable from the first use on.
Even if salt is added to the initial wash, it is always recommended that the dryer be set to low during the drying cycle. This will prevent shrinkage if the sheets are cotton and also help preserve the integrity of the colors.