You typically spend upwards of eight hours in bed each day, which leads to the buildup of dirt, body oils, dead skin cells, sweat, and other grime on your sheets and bedding. All this residue isn't just gross to think about; it can also provide fodder for dust mites, put extra strain on the fabric's fibers, and trigger health issues including allergies, skin irritation, and acne—not exactly ideal for a peaceful night's sleep.
The average person changes their sheets about every 24 days, according to a recent survey by Mattress Advisor. But that's not the best schedule for optimal hygiene and freshness. How often you should wash your sheets depends on a few factors, but there are some general rules that work for most people. Read on to learn exactly how often to wash your sheets, as well as how to preserve their freshness if you decide to bend the rules a bit.
How Often to Wash Sheets
Washing your bed sheets about once a week ensures they stay fresh on a regular basis. Plan to add this task to your weekly cleaning schedule to help reinforce the habit. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need to wash sheets the same day as you strip your bed. Having a few different sheet sets on hand makes it easy to quickly swap.
While once a week is a good rule of thumb, how often you should wash your sheets depends on how quickly they get dirty. For example, if you travel often and don't sleep in your own bed every night, you can probably get away with going a bit longer between washes. On the other hand, if you or your sleeping partner tend to sweat a lot while sleeping, or if you share a bed with your pet, your sheets will become dirtier much faster. Allergy sufferers and individuals with sensitive skin might also want to change their bedsheets more often, such as every three to four days.
If washing your sheets weekly (or more frequently) isn't feasible, there are a few steps you can take to stretch the time between washes. First, wash your face and bathe or shower before bedtime to reduce the amount of dirt, oil, and sweat you bring into bed with you. Consider having your pet sleep elsewhere to avoid hair and dander on your sheets, and avoid snacking in bed. Owning multiple sets of sheets will also make this chore easier, as you can simply switch out your bedding and leave the laundry for another day.
How to Wash Sheets
To learn how to wash bedsheets, first check the care tag for specific laundry instructions. Certain types of fabric, such as cotton, bamboo, linen, and silk, might require special care.
Always wash sheets separately from clothing or towels to ensure the best clean and prevent damage and additional wear. Pre-treat stains before laundering, then wash sheets on a gentle cycle using cool water. Washing sheets in hot water is typically not necessary unless someone in your household has been sick or your aim is to kill dust mites to ward off allergies. Dry the sheets on a low heat setting and remove them from the dryer immediately after the cycle is finished to prevent wrinkles.
How Often to Wash Other Bedding
Now that you know how often to wash sheets, you might be wondering about other types of bedding. In general, you should wash pillowcases about once a week, or more often if you frequently go to bed without washing your face or removing your makeup or if you struggle with acne and other skin concerns.
Duvet covers, comforters, and throw blankets don't need to be washed as often because they typically have less direct contact with your skin. Once every month or two will likely suffice. Plan to wash or replace your pillows about every three to five months to keep them fresh and fluffy.