We all love the feel and smell of freshly laundered bedsheets, but how often do you need to change your sheets? While changing bedsheets can seem like a chore at the end of a long day, putting off the task can turn your cozy bed into an unhygienic, breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria.
So how often should you change your bedsheets? While you might think you’re changing your sheets regularly or when it looks a little grimy, most people are not changing their bedsheets often enough. Here, we ask the experts exactly how often we should change our bedsheets, and why it’s so important that we do.
Why do I need to wash my bedsheets?
Considering that we spend an estimated one-third of our lifetime snoozing or relaxing in bed, washing our bedsheets regularly is essential. Especially when you have a build-up of dead skin, sweat and grime that can linger in our bedsheets over days.
“The typical adult sheds 1.5 grams of dry skin a day, and with a large amount of time spent in bed, a high amount is found in the bedsheets,” states Malik Karman, Sleep Expert from Eachnight Mattresses. “These skin flakes attract dust mites, one of the most common causes of asthma and allergies. Dust mites have an ideal temperature of 15-21º (Celsius), which is also the recommended temperature for getting sleep. This makes bedsheets an excellent habitat for dust mites to live due to the perfect temperature and high supply of dead skin flakes.” By cleaning your bedsheets on a regular basis, this will eliminate dust mites, bed bugs and prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria.
In addition, having clean bedsheets will keep you healthier and improves sleep quality. “If you want a good night’s sleep then hygiene is a big factor, a clean bed aids sleep and in turn will make you feel healthier and more motivated,” agrees Lynsey Crombie, the Queen of Clean, “Sweating at night would result in moisture, increasing the humidity in your room and providing a perfect environment for fungi and bacteria, potentially worsening allergy reactions.”
How often should you change your bedsheets?
It’s the answer we’ve all been waiting for, and the experts recommend once a week. “The magic number that microbiology and dermatology experts recommend is once every week. This can change if you sleep alone to once every two weeks, but following the once every seven days rule is still recommended.” advises Karman. “When you are sick, it is essential to wash your bedsheets; if not, then the sickness might return.”
In addition to changing your bedsheets once a week, you should also include your bottom sheet, comforter, learn how to wash a pillow, and any other bedding. “This might seem excessive, but even after a few days, bedsheets can accumulate significant amounts of dirt, skin cells, body oils and sweat,” states Karen Yu, from Zinus UK . “Washing more than once a week could really benefit some people. If you have pets and let them sleep in your bed, a wash every 2-3 days (or even more) is recommended. If you experience allergies or asthma, it may be worth it to try cleaning your bedding more frequently to see if your symptoms improve.”
Changing your bedsheets once a week is not only more hygienic, reducing allergens, but also offers a more relaxing environment to rest in. After all, who doesn't like the fresh smell of clean bedsheets? “If we aren’t changing it once a week we are missing out on the bliss, the amazing feeling of fresh new bedding. It is more cozy, we feel more emotionally secure and it smells so good.” agrees James Wilson, a.k.a The Sleep Geek, Sleep Expert.”So I would say change it once a week, if possible dry it outside for that lovely fresh smell!”
How can I maintain my bedsheets?
Depending on the type of material, you can generally follow care instructions on the label. However, there are simple ways on how to make white sheets brighter , or you can add a laundry booster. “Your bedding needs to be washed with an added laundry booster or white vinegar to ensure all the germs and bacteria are banished,” recommends Crombie. “Ensure you use a good quality quilted mattress protector along with pillow protectors and wash every other week. Regularly vacuum your mattress, and freshen with a fabric refresher. If you have a cold or suffer badly with hay fever I would advise washing your pillow cases more often or swapping them around.”
While you’re doing that, you’ll probably need to know how to clean a mattress to remove stubborn stains, or how to clean a mattress topper. But if you prefer an upgrade altogether, check out one of the best mattresses to suit your sleeping needs.
So, if you really want to get the most out of your bedtime routine, and sleep hygiene, wash those sheets once a week, and have sweet dreams all year round.
Other tips to keep your bed fresher for longer
- Shower before bed
- Wash your face or remove traces of make-up before bedtime
- Increase the airflow in the room
- Avoid eating in bed
- Don't use fabric conditioner to prevent chemical build-up on the fabric
If you want to have a more organized linen cupboard, here's how to fold a fitted sheet in less than one minute to save time. Why not try out this bed-making hack that went viral to make your life easier as well?
You should also know that you’ve been making your bed all wrong — here, we take you through the right way.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features.
Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.
With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!