That Bed Sheet Pet Peeve, How to Soften Hard Water for Laundry

It may not show up in The Top Tens Biggest Pet Peeves (yes, there is such a thing), but getting the corners right when putting on a fitted bed sheet ranks high in my mailbox.

Here’s the funny thing: Because it doesn’t bother me, I had no idea that quickly figuring out which corner goes where when putting on a fitted bed sheet was a major pet peeve for so many people! I guess I’ve lived my life just assuming that everyone knew the easy trick to get it right the first time, every time.

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Q: Putting sheets on my bed is one of my biggest pet peeves. The frustration and total waste of time trying to figure out which way that fitted sheet goes drives me absolutely crazy. Help!!

Bed sheets, both fitted and flat, have a tag sewn into or near one of the four corners. Typically, the tag gives care instructions, the manufacturer’s name, sheet size, and so forth.

Related: Best Inexpensive™ Bed Sheets

Find the tag then place it at the bottom right corner of the bed as you are standing at the foot of the bed looking toward the head. Right bottom corner. Visualize it. That’s all you need to remember for both the fitted and the flat sheet. I cannot confirm that this is universal tag placement protocol for all sheet manufacturers, but it’s true for the sheets I own now and have over the years.

Whenever I fold a clean sheet, I find its tag first, then fold the sheet so that the tag ends up on top. Now it’s a cinch to get that sheet on the bed the right way, first try.

Q: We have moved to an area with hard water. We cannot have a water softener. I’m at my wits’ end trying to find an additive to stop the destructiveness of hard water on my clothes. Have tried ammonia and vinegar. Any other suggestions?

Yes! For situations like yours where the water is extremely hard, add 1/2 cup washing soda to the wash cycle (this is in addition to your regular amount of detergent). Problem solved! Washing soda (sodium carbonate) should not be confused with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), although they are distant cousins.

Sodium carbonate (washing soda) “softens” water helping other cleaning ingredients lift soil from the fabrics and suspend the soil in the wash water. The washing soda binds to the minerals, which make water hard and allows the detergent to be absorbed into fibers properly to clean clothes.

Look for Super Washing Soda online or in the laundry aisle of some supermarkets and discount stores like Walmart and Target.


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5 replies
  1. Konna Shouse says:

    I learned to fold my flat sheets longways and wrong side out. Then you unfold the sheet and put the fold right in the middle of the bed. You unfold it across the bed and it is almost perfectly placed with no tugging and running around the bed. That would make it easy to see the label!

  2. Judi James Merrow says:

    When you put your clothes in the rinse cycle. Wouldn’t the wash cycle with the Super Washing Soda be wasted, because you are again washing in straight hard water?

  3. Mary Norton says:

    I would think that putting the fitted sheet and flat sheet on the bed the same way every time would make it wear out quicker in the areas used most. I try to rotate my sheets, blankets, etc. so they wear more evenly and last longer. I learned this the hard way when my flannel fitted sheet became so worn from my feet that it developed a huge hole.

  4. Jule barta says:

    I have problems with figuring out how to put on some blankets and comforters which have no label in the corner, so I put a small safety pin on the bottom right corner. Solves the frustration.

    • Eleanore Marsac says:

      Smart idea. I’ve done the same thing when I could find no label. I also use a permanent marker to put a check mark or any kind of a mark on the bottom rt. corner and the top left corner if fitted sheets. So easy to find and begin in the “right” corner.

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