Did you know that you typically spend upwards of 50 hours in just one week sleeping in your bed? During this time, your sheets and bedding accumulate dirt, body oils, dead skin cells, sweat, and other debris. This is not only unappealing to sleep in; this residue can create an environment that attracts dust mites, strain the fibres of the fabric. This can lead to problems such as allergies, skin irritation, and acne. These issues may also disrupt you from getting a restful night’s sleep, which is far from ideal.
Regularly washing your bedding and keeping your bed fresh can make a big difference in mitigating these issues and helping you get the rest that you need. The exact frequency of how often you should wash your sheets does depend on a few factors, however there are some general guidelines that everyone can follow. We break down our recommendations and why it is so important to keep your bedding clean.
How frequently should your sheets be washed?
It is generally recommended that most people wash their sheets once per week. If you don’t sleep on your mattress daily, you may be able to extend this to once every 2-3 weeks, depending on how often your bedding is used.
For some, washing your bedding more than once per week is recommended. If you have pets, and especially if they share your bed, it is recommended to wash your sheets every 3-4 days. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it may be beneficial to experiment with cleaning your bedding more frequently to see if it helps your symptoms improve.
If washing your sheets on a weekly basis is not practical for you, there are a few measures you can take to extend the time between washes. Firstly, make it a habit to wash your face and take a bath or shower right before going to bed. This can then help to minimise the amount of dirt, oil and sweat you bring into bed with you. Secondly, avoid bringing anything into bed with you that could compromise the cleanliness of your sheets, such as cuddling with a pet or having a snack in bed.
Why washing your sheets is important
While it may not seem necessary to wash your sheets every week, regular washing is definitely worth it. Even within a few days, bed sheets can accumulate significant quantities of:
- Body oils
- Dead skin cells
- Dust mites
The last point is the biggest concern when it comes to keeping your bedding clean. Your mattress and bedding can be home to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dust mites at any given time. Dust mites are microscopic creatures commonly found in most households. Although they don’t bite, they can cause skin rashes, irritation, and worsen allergy symptoms for many individuals. Dust mites reproduce rapidly and survive solely on dead skin cells. Washing your sheets frequently is the best way to keep dust mites at bay.
How to wash your bed sheets
- Carefully read the product label and tag to check for any specific care instructions.
- Wash the sheets using the highest water temperature as recommended on the label. Warmer water will do a better job at killing dust mites than colder water, although some fabrics, such as linen and wool, are best washed at cooler temperatures.
- Machine wash the sheets using a gentle detergent.
- If you have sensitive skin, consider rinsing the sheets for a second time to eliminate any residual detergent.
- Tumble dry the sheets on low heat or opt for hang drying on your clothesline or clothes horse.
Since the washing and drying can take a few hours, having multiple sets of sheets can be most convenient. This way, you can strip the bed and replace it with fresh sheets, while the previous ones are being washed and dried.
How often should you wash your other bedding?
Now we’ve established how often you should wash your sheets, let’s talk about the rest of your bedding! Typically,pillowcases should also be washed weekly. However, if you do regularly go to bed without washing your face or removing your makeup, it is advisable to change them more frequently, especially if you have acne or other skin concerns.
Doona covers and throw blankets do not require as frequent washing since they have less direct contact with your skin. Cleaning them once a month or two depending on use should be sufficient. As for pillows and doonas, it is recommended to clean them every three to five months to maintain their freshness. Learn more about how to wash your pillows.