There is nothing quite like a new set of flannel sheets; they are unmatched for warmth and comfort. But often, after a few washes, even the best set of flannel sheets can become pilled and uncomfortable.
Few people realize that, like a cast iron pan, flannel needs to be ‘seasoned’ in the washing process to keep it soft and long-lasting. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to do.
When making flannel, a combing process is used to raise the nap of the cotton and create a fleecy feel. This process makes the fabric much cozier, but also it makes it susceptible to pilling if not cared for properly.
‘Seasoning’ Your Flannel Sheets (The First Two Washes)
- It is essential to wash your new flannel bedding before using it to help remove loose fibers from the napping process.
- Wash no more than one sheet + one pair of pillowcases at a time.
- Wash your flannel bedding in as much water as possible – on your machine’s largest load setting, and the gentle cycle.
- Use a small amount of gentle soap (like Woolite).
- Shake your flannel bedding well to open it up before putting it in the dryer and, as with washing, dry no more than one sheet and one pair of pillowcases at a time. You want each piece to have as much room to tumble dry as possible.
- Use medium heat, never hot. You may need to clean the lint trap halfway through, as the excess fibers will be more prevalent.
- Never use dryer balls when drying flannel; aggravating the flannel will cause pilling.
Long Term Care:
After the first two launderings of your flannel sheets, they are ‘seasoned’! Congrats! You can now wash an entire set of sheets together. Be careful not to add anything else to the load as other items can scour the surface of the sheets.
Note: Synthetic components in nightwear can also pill cotton. Luckily, most of us sleep in comfortable garments made with natural fabrics (cotton, modal, silk, etc.) but blends with polyester can lead to pilling.