Most of us go through a great deal of effort to keep our homes clean. We start washing our clothes as soon as the laundry basket is full. We also clean our kitchen counters at the end of the day after doing the dishes and we vacuum the floor regularly.
Despite all our efforts to keep our surroundings neat and tidy, the majority of us are guilty of not giving our bedsheets as much thought.
According to a survey, the average person washes their sheets after 24 days and most people consider their sheets to be “truly gross” and overdue for a wash after 35 days of use.
We often don’t notice the sparse smell in our bedsheets due to our noses being accustomed to our own body’s odor. Smelly or not, unwashed sheets can lead to significant issues down the line such as acne, skin irritation, and an allergic reaction to dust mites.
Keep reading to find out how often you need to wash your sheets and the importance of timely washing.
This isn’t an exact hard-set rule, but most experts recommend washing your sheets at least once per week. This is a good schedule to follow as the washes aren’t too frequent, making the schedule easy to follow and stick to in the long run. Washing once a week helps remove all contaminants before they accumulate too much on your sheets.
However, this number can differ depending on a few different factors. If you sleep on your bed soon after taking a shower or if you don’t sleep on the same mattress each night, you may be able to extend this number to something like once every two weeks.
Similarly, the frequency of washes should be increased to a wash every 3 to 4 days if:
- Your pets sleep in the bed with you.
- You often eat in bed.
- You sleep without clothes on.
- You sweat a lot
- You have allergies or asthma
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it’s a good idea to clean your sheets more often to see if there is an improvement in your symptoms.
To prevent allergic reactions to dust mites, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests washing your bedding at a high temperature (130 degrees Fahrenheit) at least once every week.
Beddings should generally be washed more often in the hot summer months due to more chances of sweat accumulating on them. Additionally, increased frequency of washes might help alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies during spring.
The thought of doing laundry to clean your sheets very often may seem scary, but it is always worth the effort. If you sleep the recommended minimum of 7 hours a day, it converts into 49 hours of weekly contact between your skin (and potentially your food) with your bedsheets.
That’s a lot of time for sweat, oil, dead skin, dirt, and dust mites to accumulate on our bedsheets and bedding. Each hour, you shed approximately 200 million dead skin cells, which is greater than 1.4 billion cells per night for dust mites to feed on.
Dust mites are a very common existence in most homes. These microscopic bugs don’t usually bite or cause diseases, but their fecal matter and body can act as triggers for skin rashes, irritation, and cause year-round allergy symptoms in many.
Even if you’re fortunate and not allergic to these critters, you wouldn’t want to sleep on a bed filled with eight-legged skin-eating bugs.
Besides dust mites, your sheets are exposed to a dozen other things that you might have put on or picked up throughout the day such as lotions, make-up, pet dander, and dirt. You come into contact with all these substances when lying asleep on your bed.
A variety of problems can occur as a result of this exposure, from rashes and acne to some rare skin infections, especially if you are suffering from skin conditions that weaken your skin barriers like eczema and rosacea.
Lastly, moist environments like your pillows or other bedding can be the ideal habitat for harmful bacteria and fungi to grow in. Regularly washing your sheets can help you get rid of these bugs as well.
After discussing the frequency and importance of washing bedsheets, it’s time to discuss how they should be washed. Keep the following steps in mind to ensure your sheets come out as clean as possible after a wash.
- First and foremost, read through the product’s label to check for any specific washing instructions.
- Use the highest temperature of the water that the label recommends washing your sheets with. Materials like cotton are generally safe to use with hot water but polyester might need to be washed using warm water.
- Use a detergent to machine wash.
- If your skin is really sensitive, it is recommended to rinse the sheets an additional time to help remove any remaining detergent.
- Hang them dry or tumble dry on a low setting.
It might be more convenient to have multiple sets of bedsheets. This allows you the ability to cycle through your sheets when one gets sullied. You can just strip down your bed, fix it up with a new bed sheet and wash the dirty sheets whenever you find it convenient.
We now know that ideally, sheets should be washed at least once a week. But what’s the magic number for other bedding material? Here’s a table to help you with that.
|Pillows||At least once every 4 to 6 months if washable.|
|Pillow covers||The same frequency as sheets i.e once a week.|
|Blankets||Once every two or three months.|
|Comforters||Once every two or three months.|
|Duvet covers||Once every two to four weeks.|
These general guidelines are appropriate for most pieces of bedding. However, exceptions exist in this case too. That’s because some uniquely designed bedding materials require you to follow specific instructions when washing. Therefore, it is vital to always carefully go through the manufacturer’s instructions before washing.
Additionally, it is recommended to clean your mattress at least once every 6 months to increase its lifespan. It is also recommended to replace your mattress every 6 to 8 years, which makes sure that you get the best quality sleep.