A close-up of a pair of hands setting up a clean white bedsheets on a mattress with two pillows in clean white pillowcases.

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets and Bedding?

Yes, we get it's a chore. But we still have to do it. Read on to find out how often you should be washing your sheets and bedding.

 

Everyone has their own routine when it comes to how often they change their bedsheets. There are some of us who may do it every week, some change their sheets once a fortnight. And then there are those who are happy to sleep on the same sheets for months (including this author). And this begs the question, how often should you really be washing your bedsheets?

There is really no right answer to this because everyone has different requirements, standards and lifestyle. But we must keep in mind the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy bedroom environment that is conducive for good sleep. Afterall, our beds are our personal sanctuaries. This is the place where we sleep, read and watch TV (or scroll through our mobile phones for many of us now), enjoy our breakfast in bed, and have sex.

A clean and neat bedroom with neatly folded blanket and neatly placed pillows in clean white pillowcases on the mattress. A lamp sits on a sidetable and is turned on, emitting a warm yellow light in the otherwise brightly lit room with daylight coming through a window.

 

 

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?

The short answer is you should be washing your sheets once per week. This is because your sheets and bedding can harbor allergens, sweat, bodily fluids, oils, dead skin cells, fecal matter, and dust mites, creating an environment ripe for bacteria and germs to thrive. And sheets are the first line of defense between you and your mattress. Without regular cleaning, the buildup of these nasties in your bed will not only affects the sanitation of your sleep environment but can also exacerbate allergies, skin irritations, and respiratory issues.

While experts have recommended for weekly wash for your sheets, you can consider stretching the frequency of wash, depending on a few factors. One factor is how often you may sweat during sleep. When you sweat, the sweat is absorbed into the fabrics of the sheets. The accumulation of the sweat over time may lead to an unpleasant smell. You can probably get away with washing your sheets every other week if you do not tend to sweat a lot during sleep. But if you do, you should try to keep up with the weekly routine. 

Another factor to consider is who you might be sharing your bed with (this includes your pets too!). Two people sharing the same bed means there other twice as much sweat and dead skin cells compared to one person. So, it's important to increase your washing schedule accordingly. Do also consider the need for more frequent wash if you or your sleep partner sleep naked. 

A woman in grey sweatpants is putting on a grey fitted sheet on a mattress as she makes the bed

 

 

What about Other Bedding?

In addition to your sheets, other bedding items like pillowcases, mattress protectors, duvets and blankets also require regular cleaning.

 

Pillowcases and Pillow Protectors

Pillowcases come into direct contact with your face and hair, absorbing oils, sweat, and bacteria overnight. To maintain a clean sleeping surface and prevent skin irritations and acne breakouts, it is recommended to wash your pillowcases no longer than once a week. The use of pillow protectors can provide an additional layer of defense against dust mites and allergens and prolong the lifespan of your pillows. Pillow protectors should be washed as often as your sheets as well. 

 

Mattress Protectors

Mattress protectors play an important role in safeguarding your mattress against spills, sweats, stains, and allergens. Mattress protectors should be washed every two months, or more often if you have allergies. If preferred, you may consider waterproof mattress protectors offer added protection against liquid, making them ideal for bedrooms with young children or pets. Investing in a high-quality mattress protector can provide peace of mind and keep your mattress in pristine condition.

 

Duvets, Blankets and Comforters

Duvets, blankets and comforters should be washed every one to three months. Since these bedding articles do not come into direct contact with your body, they can go a bit longer between washes compared to sheets and pillowcases.

  

Tips for Caring for Your Sheets 

Experts have established that washing sheets once a week works for most of us. They also agree that how you wash your bed sheets is just as important as how often. Here are some tips to help you keep your sheets in the best condition.

  • Water temperature: Use cold or warm water for most washes. While hot water helps kill germs, dust mites, and bacteria, it can also damage delicate fabrics and cause colors to fade. Use hot water only when necessary. 

  • Detergent: Choose gentle, detergents free of harsh chemicals and fragrances to minimize skin sensitivities and respiratory irritations.

  • Fabric softeners: Follow the manufacturer's wash instruction. Use liquid fabric softener sparingly.  
  • Dry thoroughly: Proper drying of your sheets and bedding prevents the growth of mold and mildew. Follow the manufacturer's drying instructions. If possible, tumble dry on a low heat setting or air-dry in the sun. Use the lowest temperature possible on the dryer to avoid shrinkages.  
  • Rotate bedding sets: Owning multiple sets of sheets allows you to rotate them regularly, reducing wear and tear and extending their lifespan. You may have at least two sets of sheets per bed.
  • Vacuum mattresses and pillows: Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to remove dust, debris, and allergens from your mattress and pillows between washings.
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