How to fold perfect sheets (even the fitted ones)

Sep 22, 2010 at 6:36 p.m. ET

Laundry day can be a less than pleasant task when you find yourself faced with a mountain of freshly laundered linens to fold and stash away. Folding towels and clothing tend to be self-explanatory, but folding sheets—especially fitted sheets with rounded corners—can be a daunting task.

Sheets on a clothesline

1. Lay it flat

The first mistake a lot of people make is to hold their sheet in the air and try to fold it by matching the corners together. Folding a sheet can actually be a lot easier when you start by laying it out on a flat surface to smooth wrinkles and help you be more accurate when folding your linens into sections. To prevent wrinkles altogether, don't delay in folding your laundry—fold sheets immediately upon removal from the dryer, when they are still warm.

2. Fold them in half, horizontally

It may seem intuitive, but the first step in folding any size sheet is to fold it in half horizontally. If you're folding a fitted sheet, turn it inside out and tuck the rounded top corners into the rounded bottom corners.

3. Fold lengthwise

Smooth the edges flat to prepare for the next step, as you want the four corners to match up as you continue to fold your sheet into a smaller bundle. When you fold sheets lengthwise, be sure that all four corners match. For fitted sheets, slide the top set of corners into the bottom set. From this point on, simply fold in halves, matching up the four corners until you've folded the sheet into its desired size.

4. When sheets behave badly

Some materials, such as silk and satin, can be trickier to fold than standard cotton sheets. While the laying flat method might be simple, when your sheet simply won't cooperate, you can fold it standing up. Hold your fitted sheet by two adjacent corners and bring the corner of sheet in your right hand up and over the one in your left. Take the corner hanging out in front up and over your left hand. Repeat this action with the remaining three corners until you have a bundle that is tight enough to fold into a smooth rectangle.