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How often should you wash your sheets? Everything you need to know

Reclaim good-as-new sheets with our no-nonsense approach to the cleanest and freshest bedding.

Updated

There's nothing quite like getting into a bed with freshly laundered sheets. So why are so many of us not washing them enough? Don’t put off washing your bedding any more! Our essential guide explains how often you should wash your sheets, pillows and bulky bedding, leaving no room for excuses.

How often should you wash your sheets?

While it may be tempting for two-thirds of the population to leave their bedsheets unwashed for that extra week or two, it’s not advised. So, how often should you change your sheets? Experts say we should wash our bedding once a week for optimum freshness and hygiene. While your bedsheets may not look or smell dirty, they can harbour an array of unwelcome guests, including dust mites, sweat, skin and bacteria. Washing your bedding regularly will get rid of these hidden nasties and can help combat any allergies triggered by your dirty sheets.

Note: If you or anyone sharing your bed is unwell, make sure to wash your laundry more regularly to get rid of germs.

How often should you wash your bedding?

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It depends on the item – you won’t need to wash your duvet, pillow and mattress topper as frequently as your sheets – but they shouldn’t be overlooked either. Despite being protected by sheets and covers, dust mites, dirt and germs can still transfer on to these, so we recommend following our below guidelines to keep them hygienic, clean and fluffy.

Has your lifestyle during the Covid-19 lockdown affected the type of stains you get on your clothes?

Duvets: at least twice a year

A duvet being put into a washing machine

Duvets should be washed at least twice a year to keep them clean and dust-free. Most duvets are washable, but if yours isn’t, you can take it to a specialist dry cleaners – or a launderette if your machine isn’t big enough (you’ll need enough space for it to move around in the drum). Read our step-by-step guide on how to clean a duvet.

Pillows: every four months

Two pillows in a basket

Pillows should be washed around every four months to keep them clean, hygienic and in good condition. They’re where we lay our heads every night, so they absorb a lot of sweat, skin and oil – and can even provide a home to head lice. Read more tips about how to clean a pillow here.

Pillowcases: weekly or bi-weekly

Pillow cases drying on an outdoor washing line

While for many of us it’s sufficient to wash our pillow cases with our sheets on a weekly or biweekly wash, if you tend to suffer from breakouts, it’s advisable to wash them every two to three days. This will help get rid of any build up of dirt and oil from your face, which can lead to blemishes or skin sensitivity.

Mattress topper: every couple of months

A mattress topper

It’s best to wash these every couple of months to keep them fresh and clean. Aside from protecting your mattress from dirt and stains, they absorb dirt and sweat from your sheets, so shouldn’t be overlooked. You can learn how to clean a mattress topper in our guide.

Throw blankets: every three months

Throw blanket in a basket

Generally, washing throw blankets every three months will keep them clean and fresh. If you have a pet that likes to sleep on them, you’ll need to wash it more frequently to get rid of hairs, stains and smells. Wash them separately on a gentle cycle in cold water and line dry them if possible.

Mattress: every six months

Hiding under sheets and blankets, mattresses can often get neglected. But germs, bodily fluids and spillages can make these a breeding ground for bacteria and bad odours, so it’s advised you clean your mattress at least every six months. For more, read our guide on how to clean a mattress.

Can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets?

Bed bugs aren’t attracted to dirt. They live in the walls or furniture near a bed, coming out at night to feed off sleeping humans. Clean sheets will help you to kill any initially, but to get rid of the entire problem you’ll need to call in the pest controllers.

How to change bedsheets: top tips

A fitted bedsheet being put on a bed

For many of us, the job of changing bed sheets is way down on the list of satisfying chores. Grappling with those pesky elasticated corners can be time consuming and frustrating, and it can feel like hours that we get lost in the abyss of an unbuttoned duvet cover. Follow these simple steps to make this unavoidable task a whole lot easier:

  1. Remove all pillowcases and sheets.

  2. Pull your fitted sheet over the bottom right corner (from standing at the foot of your bed) and stretch up to the top right corner, pulling across to the other two corners once secured.

  3. If you have a top sheet, place over the fitted sheet, tucking under the end and sides.

  4. Place the inside-out duvet cover over the bed with the duvet on top. Roll the duvet and cover together like a sausage, to the end of the bed. Reach into the opening of the duvet cover and flip it over one end of your rolled duvet. Repeat on the other end (the correct side of your duvet cover will be exposed), and flip over the middle of the duvet cover.

  5. Then, simply unroll the duvet to the head of the bed.

While you’re at it, why not find out how to get your sheets smelling great too, or learn how to fold a fitted sheet in seconds?

Originally published