These bed sheet mistakes are making you smell – here’s how to fix them

4 ways to properly store your bedding, according to experts

Woman changing her bed sheets & rearranging pillows, sleep & wellness tips
(Image credit: Ron Lach / Pexels)

Changing the best bed sheets isn’t the most exciting task. But regardless of whether you hate making your bed or not, it needs to be done so your night’s rest is comfortable and hygienic. Itchy skin, sneezing and acne flare ups are just some of the things that happen when you don’t wash your sheets, but it turns out how you store your bedding could also be making you and your house smell.

As you put fresh bedding on the best mattress and best duvet, do you ever notice that your clean sheets smell a little musty and mouldy? This is because you’re not storing them right, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to keeping your sheets looking, feeling and smelling clean.

For National Bed Month, the experts at Happy Beds are sharing their tips with us on how to properly store your bed sheets to avoid dust, mould and unpleasant smells.

1. Wash & dry your bedding properly before storing

The first step to keeping your sheets fresh for the next time you use them is to wash and dry them properly before storing. This might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how often people hastily pack away their sheets when they’re still slightly damp or who don’t even wash the sheets after having visitors come to stay for the weekend. Doing either of these will leave your sheets smelling musty and mouldy, and can trigger allergies when they come into contact with your skin. So for starters, you should be washing your duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases in the best washing machine followed by a thorough dry in the best tumble dryer.

If you don’t own a dryer or you’re trying to save money on your energy, water and electricity bills, dry your sheets on a washing line or a clothes horse. To speed up the drying process, Happy Beds have a couple of drying hacks for you to try. “First, place your airing rack next to a radiator before adding half the sheet onto the rack and the other half slotted down the back of the radiator. As the sheet is tightly spread out, this insulates the warm air, allowing it to dry more quickly. Alternatively, add your sheets onto your curtain rail, which is even more efficient if your radiator is switched on underneath.”

Bamboo silk bed sheets

(Image credit: Panda London)

2. Avoid storing bedding in bathrooms or plastic containers

Two big no-no’s when it comes to storing your bedding are in the bathroom and in plastic containers. According to Happy Beds, cupboards in your bathroom “get extremely humid, causing mould and mildew to grow if left for long periods”, making your nice clean sheets dirty and smelly. The experts also say that storing bedding in any form of plastic material can cause chemical smells and yellow stains on your sheets. To solve this, choose a fabric or rattan box that “doesn’t have a lid, as no matter how dry your bedding may look or feel, there’s always going to be some moisture within the fabric, which when stored in an airtight container, can cause mould.”

3. Add laundry beads or coffee grounds to your storage cupboard

Once you’ve stored your bedding, keep it smelling fresh for longer by placing laundry beads or coffee grounds next to them. Happy Beds suggest putting “scented beads in an open cup or mesh bag” next to your bedding or if you don’t have booster beads, you can use coffee grounds instead. As coffee is an odour-repeller, fresh coffee grounds can keep bad smells at bay. To try this hack, “place coffee grounds in a covered cup with holes to allow the smell to escape”. To keep this coffee smell at its strongest, remember to refresh the coffee each month.

4. Fold your bedding inside your pillowcases

Finally, if you can never find which pillowcase goes with which duvet set, try this simple folding hack recommended by Happy Beds. All you have to do is “fold your bedding cover, matching sheet and one pillowcase into the remaining pillowcase. That way your sheets are protected from discolouration and you have your matching bedding stored together, saving you time and frustration down the line.”

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!