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My New Sheets Feel Like Sandpaper

It is terrific when you slide into bed with fresh sheets. The last thing you want is rough and stiff sheets brushing against your body. Soft sheets help you to have an incredible sleep experience.

Unfortunately, you may experience the opposite with your new set of sheets. But why should your new sheets be scratchy, stiff, or rough? It is a common issue with new sheets due to the chemical substances left over from the manufacturing process.

Welcome as we take you through various solutions on how you can soften your sheets for a luxuriously comfortable sleep at night!

My New Sheets Feel Like Sandpaper: How to Soften Them

The chemical substance manufacturers use to preserve the sheet’s structural integrity is the cause of the scratchy feel on your sheets, but it serves a crucial purpose. Regardless, it is not advisable to take your sheets out of the packaging straight onto your bed!

Wash the new sheets with detergent and water to eliminate the rough feeling. But will it solve the issue? We explore various ways you can get it right.

 Multiple Hot Water washes

The softening of new sheets requires you to stick to the basics if you are to witness the best results. Therefore, it is paramount not to combine them with other clothes or blankets when washing them.

That way, you will ensure the material doesn’t get affected and allow the washing machine to focus on the sheets while giving them enough space. For queen and king-size bed sheets, you may start with the bottoms before washing the tops for an efficient wash.

Run the wash cycle on high heat. Put in your bed sheets and let them go through the complete cycle to rinse away the harsh chemicals on the sheets. Although to entirely get rid of the scratchy feel, repeat the washing process 2-3 times.

Alternatively, you can use detergent and hot water to quicken the process.

Air Dry

The drying process is vital, like any other step, as it eliminates any problem linked with tumble drying. Save drying using a dryer for the future, but for the first time, find a nice spot to air dry the sheets and ensure the moisture escapes.

Baking Soda/ Vinegar

These are two simple ingredients that work wonders in the softening of bedding. To begin with, toss your new sheets into the washing machine while ensuring they’ve got enough room for the process to be effective.

Secondly, add a cup of baking soda to the machine instead of detergent. It is vital to omit the detergent as it locks chemicals into sheets, contributing to the sheet’s roughness.

Thirdly, set the machine to a regular cycle using warm water and turn it on. 

Fourthly, during the rinsing cycle, turn the machine temperatures to cold and add a cup of white vinegar to further aid in softening the sheets (optional).

Fifth, when the rinse cycle is over, take the sheets out of the machine and hang them outside in the sun to dry, enhancing the sheets’ softening. 

Only use a dryer if you don’t have space outside but do it on the lowest setting to avoid shrinkage due to high temperatures and prevent a post-wash stiff feeling.

Sixth, rewash the sheets once they dry using an average amount of detergent to soften them further, hang them outside, and finally, iron them before spreading them on the bed.

It is significant to remember that your sheets become softer after every wash; hence for ultimate softness, buy good quality cotton sheets with a high thread count.

Epsom Salt

Not all of us can afford washing machines. With the power of Epsom salts, you need not worry. Fill your laundry tub with cold water and add 50grams of Epsom salts. Stir for about 2 minutes.

Allow your sheets to soak overnight in the mixture, and the following day, rinse them thoroughly and hang them on a line outside.


Don’t undermine the power of this solvent, for it can help soften your sandpaper-like sheets. Add about ½ cup of turpentine to your washing water with the new sheets, then wash on a regular cycle using water.

Please do a thorough rinse to remove the turpentine and strictly hang them outside, for turpentine is combustible and could cause a fire; thus, drying them in a dryer is hazardous.

Fabric Softener

It is popular among many that this product’s purpose is to make your bedding as soft and silky as possible. All you need is to add the recommended amount of fabric softener to your machine together with detergent during the washing process or use it on its own, then run the bedding through a wash/ dry cycle.


Fill your tub with cold water and add some 6 tablespoons of borax to it; add the sheet to the water, mix them around, then let them soak overnight. The following morning, rinse them off and hang them outside to dry.

Sun-Dried Softness

Throughout the solutions, we have the essence of drying your sheets on a clothesline outdoors after washing the first time to soften the fibers further. If they remain stiff, rewash and dry them in a dryer without fabric softeners.

You may add a few dryer balls to help fluff up the sheets and keep them soft instead of fabric softeners that tend to leave behind a chemical residue.  

Should You Wash Your New Sheets?

Whether to wash your new sheets before use is a dilemma for most people after buying a new set of sheets. On the other hand, you perceive them as being clean as ever. However, it is not a bad idea to soften them a bit. 

While it is rare for your new sheets to cause any harm to your body, it is best to wash them before placing them on the bed. Remember, the manufacturing is in a factory despite their crisp, clean, and ready-to-sleep appearance.

There are reports of people itching and getting skin irritation when they sleep on unwashed new sheets. These effects are due to a starch referred to as “sizing” that assists in retaining the smooth and crisp shape of sheets in their packaging, for it keeps them appealing till the purchase time.

Nonetheless, sizing is why your new sheet feels like sandpaper despite being made of soft material. In this piece, we have shared how you can soften your new bedding to smell much more pleasant.

Ensure you explore the options even on your aged sheets that have the gash feel, and get to enjoy yourself to a sumptuous night’s sleep.