For probably as long as we have had bed linen one of the most time-consuming jobs for the home-maker was ironing it all out. The best looking beds are generally freshly made and pressed, and yet many choose not to take on this arduous task due to how labour- and time-intensive it is. Many of us have fond memories of their mothers slowly working their way through piles of linen as they rewatch a fond old favourite show or movie of a Sunday afternoon, but although some have continued in their mothers’ footsteps and enjoy both the process and the result of ironing their bedlinen, many are put off by the thought of having such a routine themselves.
So should you iron or not?
If you have no problem with a wrinkly-looking bed, of course you have no need to iron, and probably have things you would much rather spend your time doing. And if you enjoy regularly ironing your bed-things then of course you should do what you love. If you do choose to iron your bedlinen, whether you dry your it by hanging or in a tumble dryer it is best to iron it while it is still slightly damp and with a very hot iron. If you do not have the time or energy but can afford a laundry service or a good dry cleaner, you can of course have them iron your sheets for you. To cut costs a little, you can iron pillowcases yourself since they are fairly quick to do, and not bother with ironing or having ironed your fitted sheet since it will be covered up and mostly flatten out once on the bed.
If you cannot afford such services, but cannot or would like not to spend a day ironing bed linen, hanging your sheets out to dry in a soft breeze will avoid most wrinkles. Not using a tumble dryer will also be less noisy, save you some money and be beneficial to the environment. It does take more time, however, so you may want to compromise by tumble drying your linen until it is only slightly damp then hanging it up to dry flat.
Using fabric softener when washing has been shown to reduce wrinkles, and a nifty little last-minute trick for smoothing out your wrinkled-looking bedlinen when on the bed is to combine fabric softener and water and spray a little of the mixture onto wrinkles in the sheets, then to stretch flat the sheets and leave them to dry. If you like the feeling of starched sheets, feel free to add some to this mixture.
Of course, choosing a material (particularly for your quilt cover) that is less prone to wrinkling or looks fine wrinkled will also make things easier, though potentially more expensive up-front in the case of linen or flannel. Higher thread count cotton sheets also, being heavier, have been known to be less prone to wrinkling than lighter cotton sheets.
Ultimately what is best for you will depend on what method for which you have the money, time, energy and – last but not at all least – preference.