How to Iron Bed Linens

We all know the feeling of sliding into a freshly made hotel bed with cool, crisp sheets. This is one of the most anticipated luxuries of the hotel experience, so it’s no wonder we often find ourselves shopping for higher thread counts post-vacation in hopes of achieving the same pampered feeling at home. However, if you really want to impress your guests and achieve the same meticulous look as a five-star luxury hotel, the key is to properly starch and iron your bed linens. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove your linens from the dryer before they’re fully dry. Ideally, cotton linens will be slightly damp to the touch. This will make ironing easier.
  2. Spray each piece with starch. This is truly the key to achieving the same look and feel of a hotel bed. Starch goes above and beyond water by setting the fabric so that your linens stay crisp (but not stiff) longer. Starch also gives your linens more body so that they’ll feel nice and cool when you or your guests slip into them.
  3. Fold the sheets lengthwise into quarters. Doing this will speed the ironing process and provide you with a nice, manageable panel to work with. Since the sheet is folded lengthwise, the creases will not show once you make the bed.For the fitted sheet, secure the corners over the ironing board to avoid the elastic getting in the way as you iron.
  4. Iron on high heat. There’s something wonderfully satisfying in watching the wrinkles melt out of your bed linens as you pass over them with a hot iron. Wait until the iron is fully heated up before tackling the folded sheet—this will help ensure each layer gets a nice pressing.
  5. Don’t skip the pillow cases. Fluffy, smooth pillows are the centerpieces of a well-made bed. Each pillowcase should be carefully starched and pressed before inserting the pillows.
  6. Smooth and tuck. Make the bed with the freshly ironed linens, being careful to smooth each layer as you go. Tightly tuck in the corners of each layer as well as the pillowcases for that quintessential polished look.

Time-Saving Tips:

Don’t let being short on time keep you from the simple luxury of climbing into a perfectly made bed at night. Here are a few tips to speed up the process when time is of the essence:

  1. Starch and press the pillowcases. Since pillowcases are the most visible of all the bed linens, simply having the pillowcases starched and pressed will greatly improve the overall appearance of a made bed.
  2. Iron the (dry) sheets while they’re on the bed. While the final result may not be quite as crisp, this method is easier and faster than using an ironing board. You can still use starch to help eliminate wrinkles even faster. Warning—be sure to research your mattress material and appropriate heat settings before ironing sheets on the bed. We don’t recommend ironing sheets on the bed if heat can damage your mattress. If you choose to iron on the bed, keep movements quick and light.
  3. Focus on the top quarter only. You can still get the polished look of a hotel bed by starching and ironing just the pillowcases and the top quarter of the fitted and flat sheets—the only portion that’s visible when the bed is made. It may feel a little like cheating, but once you fluff the pillows and smooth out the duvet, you (and your guests) will be impressed at how luxurious your bed looks with minimal effort.

New to the idea of using starch in your ironing routine? Read our quick tips for how to get started using starch.