How Long Do Flannel Sheets Last?

Flannel sheets are a favorite among people who enjoy the soft, fuzzy feel they offer. They also tend to be seen as a staple of lumberjack chic in cozy cabins in the woods. With all the wonderful texture and softness they provide a bed, it's easy to want flannel to last forever. Alas, they don't. No sheets do. But, how long can flannel sheets last?

Flannel sheets are known for being long-lasting, even to the point that they get warmer and softer with every use. Like with most other types of sheets, flannel usually lasts between two to three years. However, there have been cases where well-maintained, high-quality flannel sheets lasted for as long as four years. 

Making flannel sheets last as long as you want them to isn't an easy task. (Well, it is, but you need to be consistent.) Wondering what you need to know? We have the full scoop on these winter weather favorites.

A beige blanket on the double bed in stylish wabi sabi bedroom of minimal style house, How Long Do Flannel Sheets Last?

When Should You Replace Your Sheets?

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The rule of thumb is that you should replace your flannel sheets every couple of years, which is fine if you are just looking to get new sheets for a new grey comforter. However, you might sometimes want to look for indicators that it's time to make a switch earlier. Some of the most common signs you need to replace your sheets include:


Did your flannel sheets once have a gorgeous red hue that made them look amazing? If you're noticing that your sheets' colors are starting to fade, that's usually a sign that you need to replace your sheets. This is especially true if you notice yellowing that won't come out with typical oil removal techniques you use in laundry. 

An Odd Smell

When linens and shirts start to get older in age, they may develop a musty smell that won't go away, even if the shirt in question is regularly washed. This is a sign that you might have fabric that's rotting or starting to get mildewy. It is not always salvageable if it gets to that stage of rot. 

A Threadbare Look

Flannel sheets are popular because they soften up the more you use them. This is because small bits of the fabric can pill up or rub away on things. At first, this can help trap heat in your bed. However, over the course of several years, this will lead to a threadbare, pilled-up look. If your sheets are threadbare and stretched out, you need new sheets.

On a similar note, old flannel can also start stretching out in odd places. This is usually caused by the material's strings being unable to retain their strength after years. So if your flannel sheets are starting to loosen up, it's time to change them.

How Do You Tell Good Quality Flannel Sheets?

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Flannel sheets are unique among sheet sets because of the way that you can tell their quality. Unlike most sheets, which are determined by thread count, flannel can be determined by weight. Flannel that is thicker and heavier will last longer and also keep you warmer. Heavier fabrics also have a tighter weave, which means less chance of pilling up. 

Is Flannel 100% Cotton?

Traditionally (like back in the 16th century), flannel was mostly made from wool and other heavy materials. However, things have changed since then. Most modern flannel sheets are made from pure cotton, with nothing else. Though it's usually safe to assume, you still should check the sheets' tags. 

What Is The Thread Count Of Flannel Sheets?

Believe it or not, flannel sheets aren't actually graded by thread count. You will never see real flannel sheets that are graded with a thread count. Rather, they will be graded by weight. This is often noted on the packaging by GSM (Grams Per Square Meter) or in ounces per square yard.

The best flannel sheet weights start at 160 GSM or 5 Ounces. If you want the flannel equivalent of a high thread count, you should look for weight ratings higher than this. 

How Do You Extend The Life Of Flannel Sheets?

If you're a fan of flannel, we've got good news for you. Flannel is relatively easy to care for. To make sure your flannel lasts as long as possible, it's best to follow these pointers when it comes to cleaning, storage, and protection.

Cleaning Your Flannel

A good rule of thumb to follow is to follow the cleaning instructions on your flannel sheet's tag or packeting. However, we all know that it isn't always doable. Sometimes, sheets don't come with cleaning instructions, even though they should. So, what then? It's often best to deal with traditional advice. 

The most common advice you'll hear is that you should never clean flannel on a hot setting. Rather, flannel does best with warm water, on a gentle cycle, using a gentle detergent that contains no bleach. If you want extra snuggliness, you can also use a gentle fabric softener. Avoid harsh chemicals at all costs.

Click here to get gentle detergent from Amazon.

When you need to dry your flannel, use the lowest, gentlest setting to dry it. Or, if you want to go au naturel, leave your flannel out to hang. 

Storing Your Flannel

When you're not using it on your bedsheets, it's important to prevent flannel from being exposed to moisture and pests. Placing your bed sheets in a protective plastic bag or storing the sheets in an area with mothballs can help. Cedar chests, in particular, are good for this option. While cotton might not attract moths too much, wool flannel can easily start looking like Swiss cheese if you don't store it well. 

Click here to get sheet protectors from Amazon.

Worried about the musty smell that sheets sometimes get? While you can always use a spray-on fabric refresher, a better solution for flannel would be to use a scented sachet tucked between the sheets' folds. It may be an old-school method, but it's remarkably useful. 

Click here to get scented sachets from Amazon.

Address Stains As They Come

If you're prone to staining bedsheets, it's important to address stains as soon as you notice them. Stains don't just make your sheets look bad. They also can damage the fibers in your sheets. When working with flannel, it's best to try gentle cleaning methods before you go to a professional. 

Most stains on flannels can be removed with the use of vinegar or dish soap with water. If you can't dab out the stain on your own, using a wool-friendly stain remover is typically seen as the best option.


As people become increasingly interested in having long-lasting, high-quality goods, flannel sheets were bound to make a comeback. It's not surprising, considering that these sheets have been popular for over 500 years. Of course, not all flannel sheets are going to be equal in quality. Investing in 5-Ounce flannels will give you the heavy, soft feel you love along with the durability you need.

While flannels have a similar lifespan to other sheet types (that's to say, two to three years), extending their life beyond that with the right care is possible. So, when you do get that new set of flannels, make sure to grab some gentle detergent and treat them well. Your sleeping experience will thank you.

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