Most of us spend between 49 and 60 hours a week in our beds, on average. Our bodies need this much sleep to flourish, but we also have plenty of time to build up dirt, perspiration, oil, and other crud on our sheets and bedding over the course of that period.
In all aspect of one’s life, it is critical to practice good hygiene. It’s more vital than you might imagine that we pay attention to the quality of our bed linens. Allergies, skin outbreaks, asthma, and allergies can all be aggravated or worsened by sleeping on filthy sheets. To maintain good health and a good night’s sleep, it’s critical to keep your bedroom tidy. But how often should your sheets be washed?
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Washing your sheets once a week is a good rule of thumb. For those who don’t sleep on their mattress every night but rather only once or twice a month, you may be able to go longer.
It is recommended that some people wash their linens more frequently than once each week. A wash every 3-4 days is recommended if you have dogs and let them sleep in your bed. Cleaning your bedding more frequently may be worth a try if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
During the hot summer months, you should wash your sheets more frequently because they are more prone to be soiled with sweat. If you suffer from spring or summer allergies, washing sheets more frequently may help alleviate symptoms.
Why it’s Important to Wash Your Sheets?
It may seem like a lot of work to wash and fold your bedding once a week, but it’s worth it. Dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on bedsheets in just a few days.
- Dead skin cells
- Body oils
- Dust mites, including their carcasses and fecal matter
Many of us find it difficult to accept the idea of sleeping in our own filth and perspiration, but this last item is the most upsetting to many of us.
Most homes include dust mites, which are minute critters. Despite the fact that they don’t bite, they can cause rashes on the skin and increase allergy symptoms in certain people.
It is possible for dust mites to proliferate rapidly and survive entirely on dead skin cells. At any given time, your mattress and bedding may be home to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dust mites. To be honest, even if you don’t have a dust mite allergy, sleeping in a bed full of them is probably not something you want to experience. Washing your linens frequently can help.
How to Wash Bed Sheets?
Why do sheets need to be washed weekly, and how frequently?
- Make sure you pay attention to the care directions on the product label.
- Using the warmest water recommended per the label, wash your clothes (cotton can generally handle hot water, while polyester and some other materials should be washed on warm).
- A gentle detergent can be used in a washing machine.
- Consider rinsing the sheets a second time if you have sensitive skin in order to remove any remaining detergent residue.
- Low-heat tumble drying or hanging drying are both options.
Many individuals like to have two sets of sheets because it takes a few hours to wash and dry one set of sheets. That way, you may remove the sheets from the bed, put them back on, and wash the soiled ones when it’s most convenient. See our buyer’s guide if you’d like to purchase a second set of sheets.
Unwashed sheets accumulate a lot of unappetizing stuff.
Dead skin cells are a prime example. Our skin cells are constantly being shed, according to research from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Well done, since not only are you impressive, but you also waste a good deal of time lying in bed. A lot of the dead skin cells are found in this area.
Dust mites follow skin cells everywhere they go. According to the Mayo Clinic, these microscopic creatures feed on your dead skin cells. An all-you-can-eat buffet is what these mites see in unwashed linens (and your entire bed).
Finally, the amount of wetness you’ll spread on your bedding at night. This includes everything from perspiration and drool to the oils on your skin and the fluids secreted during sexual activity.
Microbiologist Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., a professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at The Medical University of South Carolina, tells SELF that if you sleep naked, you may even be adding dry fecal matter to the mix. That means that for an extended amount of time, you’re sleeping in a cesspool created by yourself.
The only exception to this is if you’re sleeping in someone else’s bed. That includes their body fluids and dead skin cells as well. Having a pet that sleeps with you in your bed might contaminate your sheets, as well.
But what does all of this actually mean for your health?
Nothing is certain. We’re not implying that snoozing on filthy bedding will cause you to suffer any negative health consequences. However, it has the potential to negatively impact your overall health, particularly the health of your skin.
The bacteria that accumulate on your bedding if you don’t wash them frequently enough might disrupt the delicate balance of your skin. The Beauty of Dirty Skin author Whitney Bowe, M.D., talks SELF about her experience as an Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center assistant clinical professor of dermatology. The skin microbiome is another name for this delicate equilibrium of microorganisms on your body.
Acne can be caused by changes in the skin microbiome, according to Dr. Bowe. Dr. Bowe warns that if you have particularly sensitive skin, this disruption could exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema. (If you have eczema, your skin’s top layer is unable to protect you as well as it should against irritants, bacteria, and allergens.)
Dust mites are another consideration. In addition to causing allergy symptoms such as runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezing, dust mite allergens can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Another thing to keep in mind: If you sleep naked on soiled sheets and repeatedly shift your pillow from between your legs to under your head, you could theoretically come into contact with particles of stool. In healthy people, this concept is more upsetting than anything else. However, a weakened immune system, such as that caused by the flu, makes you more susceptible to diseases like pink eye, which are spread by bacteria in feces.
Again, getting sick from sleeping on filthy linens isn’t a given. Washing your hands frequently is still a good idea just in case.
What About Other Bedding?
The best number of times per week to wash sheets has been determined. There’s also the issue of other bedding.
- Throw pillows: every other week.
- Once every two to three weeks to a month for duvet coverings.
- Every two to three months for comforters.
- Blankets: every two to three months or so.
- A few times a year: Pillows (if washable).
If at all feasible, refer to the care instructions provided by the product’s maker. Occasionally, a piece of bedding will have a special design that has different washing and maintenance instructions than those listed here.
It’s also a good idea to vacuum your mattress around once every six months. Keeping your mattress and bedding clean not only helps them last longer, but it also improves the quality of your sleep and your overall health. To ensure that you enjoy the finest night’s sleep, it’s still essential that you change your mattress every 6-8 years.
How often should you wash your bedsheets?
Ideally, you should wash your sheets once a week. Some things you can do to reduce the quantity of bacterial accumulation in your bedding, though, if you can’t wash your linens once every week.
Keep your dogs out of the bedroom, no matter how tempting it may be. Their dander just adds to the allergens in your home. Keep food out of the bedroom for the same reason, as crumbs might attract bugs and/or increase the danger of accidents. Last but not least, if you take a shower before going to bed, you may be able to get away with washing your bedding only once every two weeks.
Do I need to wash new sheets?
Most bedding manufacturers recommend that you wash your new sheets before you sleep on them, but there are others that don’t. Before putting a new pair of sheets on my bed, I always wash them to remove any chemicals or dyes that may have been used during the manufacturing process.
Even though these treatments are generally safe, it’s preferable to let them all wash out in the sink. Running the sheets through the first wash cycle will give you an indication of how they will fit on your mattress, as most sheets shrink a little after the first wash.
Can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets?
Bed bugs, on the other hand, aren’t particularly fond of your filthy linens like dust mites are. A prevalent belief is that if you don’t properly wash your bedding, you’re more likely to bring in bed bugs. However, these pests can only thrive if they’re near their primary food source—blood.
When out and about (they may be found in everything from libraries to movie theaters), bed bugs can still adhere to your skin and make their way into your bed when you get home. Pest Control should be contacted as soon as possible if you feel bed bugs have infiltrated your sleeping quarters.
How often should you replace your bed sheets?
Every two to three years is a good rule of thumb when it comes to changing your linens. Keep in mind, however, that sheet longevity depends on the materials used and the quality of the fabric used to make the sheet.
When it comes to bedding, linen sheets are known to get softer and cozier over time. In fact, certain linen bedding can be used for many years.. If you’re looking for long-stretched cotton sheets, extra-long staple cotton is your best bet. In general, a cotton or polyester sheet set will begin to pill or break down after three years of use.
If my sheets do not look dirty, why should I was them?
On the sheets, there’s more than just the obvious dirt that can be seen. When dust mites (dead skin cells) accumulate, along with other allergies, lotions, and germs from your skin, your bed can become a breeding ground for all of these things.
Do I really need to wash my sheets weekly?
If you shower just before bed every night, you may be able to wait a bit longer between washes, even if the recommendation is to wash sheets once per week.