How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets, Plus Laundry Tips
If you have been sinking into an existential crisis, with your mother telling you to wash your bed sheets every week, well then hold up, we’ve got you. How often should one wash their sheet? Weekly? Monthly? Fortnightly? Or are you a filthy wizard who’s been washing it every Christmas?
It does take forever to dry bed sheets, so it is understandable why one wouldn’t want to run it through the washing machine every other week and hey, think of all the water you save if you don’t wash it as often.
However, who doesn’t love the feeling of sinking their face into freshly washed bedding that is super soft, wrinkle-free and smells minty. While you would love to feel the bliss of fresh bed sheets every night, nobody has the time and energy to themselves through the chore every day, so how often do you do it?
How Frequently Should You Wash Your Sheets?
The best practice is to wash your sheets once every week. However, you can extend or shorten this period depending on how much use your sheets have been put through.
If you don’t sleep on the bed daily, you can extend the washing cycle to every two weeks. However, sweaty sleepers or folks who sleep with a pet should look to wash their sheets more often than a week. Also, be it a fitted sheet or a flat sheet, the recommended washing cycle remains the same – a week.
Here are a few factors that can help you decide if you must wash your bed sheets more than once a week.
- Showering Before Bed:
If you are someone who showers every night before bed, then your bed sheet won’t be as dirty as those who don’t. Taking a bath gets rid of the sweat, dirt and dead skin on your body that could have shed on your bed.
- Wearing Pajamas to Bed:
While a few believe in going to bed in their T-shirt and undies, some prefer wearing cozy pyjamas to bed. If you are the kind that swears by their PJs, then chances are that your dead skin cells are trapped in your pyjamas and don’t wind up on your sheets, ensuring they stay clean longer.
- Your Pets:
Well, we love our furry friends, but the bitter truth is they love to rumble in the dirt and giving them baths every day is frankly next to impossible. Hence, if you sleep with your pets, it is important you wash your sheets more regularly than others.
- Tossing and Turning
If you move around a lot in your sleep and are prone to tossing and turning, you will likely shed more dead skin cells on your bed. However, if you are a “dead-to-the-world-sleeper”, then you are less likely to shed cells.
If you wake up with a drool on your pillowcase every morning, then you most certainly need to be cleaning your sheets regularly.
- Skin Issues
If you deal with skin disorders such as acne and eczema, chances are that you may pass on the bacteria on to the sheets. Hence, it is in your best interest to change your sheets often.
How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?
You should aim to change your sheets weekly and put a washed sheet on the bed. Generally, it is a good practice to have three sheet sets per bed as you can have one on the bed, one in the laundry and one in the closet always ready.
However, our internal survey of 1,000 Australian participants tells us that majority of the population isn’t changing the sheets as often as they should:
- On average, Aussies change their sheets every 12 days or one week five days. It’s recommended to change sheets every week.
- Women surveyed reported changing their sheets every 9 days while men changed sheets every 15 days.
- In the surveyed group, Aussie couples were the cleanest, with 84% of them changing sheets every 8 days.
- Only 24% of Australians reported that they change their sheets weekly.
Why wash the sheets once a week?
Well, other than ensuring that you aren’t sleeping in filth and risking allergies, having unhygienic bedding makes you prone to illnesses.
- Sweat, pollen and dead skin cells:
Nobody enjoys sleeping in their own filth. An average human body sheds about 500 million skin cells per day and sweats 100 litres per day. This along with the pollen and dirt that get deposited everyday makes up for a toxic climate for sleep.
- Skin infections
Unclean sheets amass bacteria that can cause an imbalance in your skin’s microbiome. Changes to your skin’s microbiome can lead to acne and trigger eczema if you have sensitive skin.
- Dust Mites
Unwashed sheets are home to all sorts of pathogens, the main one being dust mites. They are common critters found in bed that feed on sweat, skin cells and seminal fluid one leaves behind on sheets. When we sweat, our sheets get moist, offering a perfect environment for dust mites to propagate on. Dust mites can pose severe health risks to those who struggle with asthma.
- Bed Bugs:
Dirty sheets home bed bugs that will literally suck the blood off you, leaving you itchy and with rashes. Washing your sheets regularly and airing your mattress is a good way to keep an eye out for bed bugs.
Well, the best-recommended practice is to wash your bed sheets every week. Yup, a weekly cleanse of bed sheets is necessary to ensure you have hygienic bedding to sleep in, unless you want to sleep in your drool and dirt for weeks only to wake up the following day complaining of pimples.
However, during the winters, you can stretch it to a 10-day cycle. In summers, as we sweat more, we tend to get our bedsheets dirtier sooner than in other times of the year and hence it is recommended that we wash sheets weekly. It also keeps your sheets free of dust and pollen that has a greater chance of ending up on your bed during summers and triggering your allergies.
Nobody dreams of doing laundry, so we understand how difficult it can get when you have several sheets to be washed and dried every week. The key to this is to have a couple of sets of bed sheets in your wardrobe. This way, you can change your bedding on a weekly basis without having to wait around for it to be cleaned and dried.
It is recommended that you wash sheets at 60 °C as washing at a higher temperature kills pathogens and gets rid of dirt efficiently. You can then air dry in sunlight, ensuring that all the microorganisms are killed when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Best Practices for Washing Bed Sheets
Yup, washing weekly isn’t enough. You must also ensure that you run your bed sheet through a cycle of hot wash, which is about 40°C or above – at least 60°C.
Here’s an ultimate guide of best practices that will keep your sheets allergen-free and super clean.
- Rotate your sheets for a fresh set every other week in order to reduce wear and tear, ensuring they stay clean and last longer.
- If you have linen sheets, use a gentle detergent, such as eucalyptus or other organic ones.
- Do not dunk the bedsheet in your top loader washing machine, until the detergent has been completely dissolved in the water. Undiluted detergent could end up staining your sheets.
- Avoid bleach or other fabric brighteners that could do more harm than good to the fibres in your bed sheet.
- A gentle machine wash of about 40°C is ideal for linen bed sheets.
- Ensure that you aren’t stuffing your washing machine. Allow room for water to rinse through the sheet.
- Complete a full cycle of wash to avoid chemicals building up on the sheet fibres.
- Allow enough room in the dryer for air to circulate and dry the sheet. Avoid tumble drying in the machine at all costs.
- Make sure your linen is completely dry, maybe air dry for a bit after the dryer, before placing it in your cupboard.
- Clean your pillow protectors weekly so that they remain hygienic for a good night’s sleep.
Bedding Hygiene Between Washes
We understand that not all days are the same, and some weeks it may seem too difficult to wash your sheets.
Here are a few tips you can follow to ensure you keep your sheets clean in between the washes.
- No Binge
Avoid eating or drinking on your bed. No matter how careful you are, you will end up leaving some crumbs of bread or chips or could accidentally spill on your bed. Hence, it is best that you keep your binge sessions off your bed.
- Remove Make-up Before Bed
If you sleep with your make-up on, you’ll end up staining your pillow covers and bed sheets with your lipstick, mascara or blush. To avoid such stains and also to keep your skin healthy, it is best to wash your face before bed.
- No Slippers or Shoes on Bed
This rule can seriously help your sheets stay clean longer. Even if you are used to wearing comfy slippers at home that you think aren’t dirty or you are too sleepy to remove your shoes, never wear them to bed. No matter how clean your house is, your slippers and shoes are exposed to all kinds of germs and dirt on your carpet and floor and must stay off your bed.
Wrapping it Up…
It is natural that bedsheets aren’t your priority when you flop into your bed after a long day’s work. While you would love the smell and feel of fresh and clean bedsheets and possibly even sleep better on them, your home doesn’t really offer the same luxury as that of a hotel room service.
However, you do sweat on your sheets, drool on them and do *you know what* in them, so it is an only basic protocol that you wash them regularly too, considering how long you spend on them.
While it may seem cumbersome, thanks to sustainable and affordable laundry services today, it isn’t that taxing to rotate between bed sheet sets regularly. It helps if you assign a day of the week to laundry, such as Sunday could be your laundry day. It is a small organisational habit, but you reap its benefits in fresh, clean sheets and sound sleep – isn’t that worth it?