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BellaOnline's Frugal Living Editor

Buying and Cleaning Used Bedding

If you are like me, you get a thrill from discovering used luxury-level bedding and linens. I have a whole linen closet bursting with Egyptian cotton sheets, combed Pima cotton pillowcases, and the like. They feel luxurious with their superior cotton blends and higher thread counts.

And while they donít match exactly, they each have that look of faded roses that intermingles so well on my bed. I love looking at and touching each and every sheet, sham, duvet and pillowcase I find.

Of course, buying used linens comes with its own set of potential hazards. While you can outfit your bed on a bare-bones budget, you want to make sure the new-to-you linens are clean.

First, in the thrift store, or at the yard sale, give the sheets (or whatever) the Sniff Test. Do the sheets smell bad? Do they smell like urine? You donít want anything offensive for YOUR bed, but be aware a simple dirty sheet can be washed.

Then open the sheets and eyeball them. Are there any stains? Dirt or food stains can come right out, but you wonít want to buy anything used with blood stains on them, for sanitary reasons.

Once bought, take a good look at your finds. A good cold soak and subsequent cold wash will remove any chance of setting a stain from biological components like urine, vomit or blood. Presoak with laundry detergent before running the cycle. Use a tiny bit of bleach in your cold wash (remember, these are used sheets, and a small amount of bleach isnít going to harm them).

If you are worried about getting the sheets really clean, then follow up your cold wash with a good hot wash. The cold wash will help remove protein stains and the hot wash will assist with removing various forms of dirt and body oils that sheets can pick up. Hot washes make your bedding as sanitary as they can get.

If the sheets have a very high thread count, like 280 or over, you can decrease the amount of agitation they will undergo by using a delicate cycle option, and drying the sheets with low or no heat. This will prolong their life.

If you have run the sheets through both washes, you will end up with really clean luxury bedding that you do not have to fear to use.

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