Wrinkles in your dress shirt are unseemly. Wrinkles around your eyes might mean it’s time for a new skincare routine. Wrinkles on your sheets, well... is that really so bad? It seems like options for living a wrinkle-free life are everywhere, from your clothes and face creams all the way to your bed linens.
We’re a society that loves convenience, and what could be more convenient than pulling your sheets out of the dryer and putting them straight on the bed without even a thought of ironing? But there’s a cost to that wrinkle-free magic. You want to feel comfortable, cozy, and safe when you lay your head on your pillow at night, but those wrinkle-free linens could be harmful to your family’s health.
Wrinkle-free sheets don’t grow out of the ground. Nope, they get there with the help of chemicals, chemicals that then surround you while you try to get a good night’s rest. Sleep well?
Once upon a time, laundry drying on the line was a common sight. Sun-warmed linens made their way to Grandma’s ironing board for a final loving press, and we went on with our days. Over the years, we’ve all gotten busier, though, and science has stepped in to make life a lot easier. Less ironing is undoubtedly convenient, but could that “wrinkle-free” life be making us sick?
The process of treating wrinkle-free linens, known as finishing, happens when a manufacturer coats fabric fibers with a resin that makes those fibers stay in place. Thanks to that resin, the sheet appears wrinkle-free. Applying the resin can be achieved by either soaking or gassing the fabric with formaldehyde and then baking it in. So why does formaldehyde sound so familiar? Well, remember frog dissection day in science class? Yep, that formaldehyde, best known for its use as a preserving chemical, specifically in embalming. So while your sheets will look crisp and pretty, that magical formaldehyde treatment can actually leak out of those fibers through regular washing, wearing, and using.
Formaldehyde exposure has several potential side effects. Because it can be breathed into your lungs or absorbed through your skin, symptoms can include nausea, skin irritation, and respiratory issues. Exposure and sensitivity can vary, but severe or prolonged exposure can lead to cancer and other serious illnesses.
Moreover, there is no required label disclosure in the United States indicating which chemicals--including potentially dangerous ones, like formaldehyde--are used in textile processing.
So, are you stuck choosing between wrinkles and toxins, and what can you do to keep your family safe and comfortable?
The most obvious solution to inadvertent chemical exposure while you’re just trying to sleep is to avoid buying wrinkle-free sheets in the first place. Stay away from products that are touting wrinkle-free, wrinkle-resistant, or perma-press in their descriptions. Those are the sheets that have been chemically treated for easy care. Thanks to the magic of marketing, it might seem like a selling point, but you know better now. For a truly peaceful sleep, opt for linens that aren’t labeled wrinkle-free.
Buy percale sheets. Percale is a woven cotton that’s naturally cool against the skin, crisp, and long-lasting. And don’t be fooled by thread count misrepresentations. Thread count is the number of vertical and horizontal threads that cross in a square inch of woven fabric. Some manufacturers make claims of 1,000 thread count, but those claims are misleading. Using thinner, inferior thread might lead to claims of a higher count, but that doesn’t mean higher quality. Our soft and luxurious percale sheets are made using only single-ply, ring-spun yarn, fine enough to manufacture true 500 thread count sheets.
You’ll also want to be cautious of falling into the “feel the fabric” trap before purchasing new linens. What feels soft in the store might actually be chemical additives that wash out in the first load of laundry. Soft, natural Supima cotton becomes more and more comfortable with each wash, and that’s a quality you can feel safe snuggling into at night.
When you’re buying sheets that aren’t wrinkle-free or wrinkle-resistant, there are a few things that you can do to minimize your worry:
- After washing and drying your linens, take them promptly out of the dryer, and get them on the bed. As you’re making the bed, smooth the sheets out. This quick step will help minimize the wrinkling that you’ll find in any natural, untreated cotton.
- Pull out the iron. Channel your grandma, but maybe enjoy a podcast while you dial in the cotton setting on your iron and set to pressing. Your sheets will be crisp and wrinkle-free, and ready for bed.
- Our favorite option? Embrace the wrinkles! Lean into the comfort and luxury, and get cozy with their natural appeal.
The benefits to not being wrinkle-free--at least in bed--are obvious. After all, we spend one-third of our lives in our sheets, and we should want that time to be comfortable, healthy, safe, and luxurious. Don’t unnecessarily expose yourself and your loved ones to toxins in your linens. By avoiding those “wrinkle-free” and “wrinkle-resistant” tags on sheets, you avoid formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and other unwanted chemicals. Protect your family and gain the comfort and luxury you want by buying naturally beautiful sheets and bedding.
What to Do
- Make the switch to non-wrinkle-free sheets now, opting for quality and durability.
- Shop smart. Try a proven brand that has been researched and has glowing customer reviews.
- Spread the word. An informed public is a safe public.
- If you’re experiencing any of the issues associated with formaldehyde exposure, you can have your home tested by a reputable environmental testing company or even with an at-home test kit that you can administer yourself.
Our sheets are made from beautiful 100% Supima cotton with a 500 thread count percale weave, researched and tested for the highest level of quality and durability. Take a look, check out what our happy customers have to say, and sleep well!