A Definitive Guide to How Often You Should Wash Your Sheets and Bedding

Your bed gathers all sorts of dirt, oil, and sweat while you sleep. Learn how often to wash bedsheets so you can sleep soundly on fresh bedding.

You typically spend upwards of eight hours in bed each day, which leads to the buildup of dirt, body oils, dead skin cells, sweat, and other grime on your sheets and bedding. All this residue isn't just gross to think about; it can also provide fodder for dust mites, put extra strain on the fabric's fibers, and trigger issues including allergies, skin irritation, and acne—not exactly ideal for a peaceful night's sleep.

According to a recent survey by Mattress Advisor, the average person changes their sheets about every 24 days. But that's not the best schedule for optimal hygiene and freshness. How often you should wash your sheets depends on a few factors, but some general rules work for most people. Read on to learn exactly how often to wash your sheets and how to preserve their freshness if you decide to bend the rules a bit.

white bedroom with striped navy accents
Seth Smoot

How Often You Should Wash Your Sheets

Washing your bed sheets about once a week ensures they always stay fresh. Plan to add this task to your weekly cleaning schedule to help reinforce the habit. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily need to wash sheets the same day as you strip your bed. It's helpful to have a few sheet sets on hand makes it easy to quickly swap.

While once a week is a good rule of thumb, how often you should wash your sheets depends on how quickly they get dirty. For example, suppose you travel often and don't sleep in your own bed every night. In that case, you can probably get away with going a bit longer between washes. On the other hand, if you or your sleeping partner sweat a lot while sleeping, or if you share a bed with your pet, your sheets will become dirtier much faster. Allergy sufferers and individuals with sensitive skin might also want to change their bedsheets every three to four days.

If washing your sheets weekly (or more frequently) isn't feasible, you can take a few steps to stretch the time between washes. First, wash your face and bathe or shower before bedtime to reduce the amount of dirt, oil, and sweat you bring into bed with you. Next, consider having your pet sleep elsewhere to avoid hair and dander on your sheets. Also, avoid snacking in bed.

laundry room with built-in storage
Laura Moss

How to Wash Sheets

To start learning how to wash bedsheets, begin by checking the care tag for specific laundry instructions. Certain fabric types, such as cotton, bamboo, linen, and silk, might require special care.

Always wash sheets separately from clothing or towels to ensure the best clean and prevent damage and additional wear. Pre-treat stains before laundering, then wash sheets on a gentle cycle using cool water. You don't necessarily need to wash sheets in hot water unless someone in your household has been sick or your goal is to kill dust mites to ward off allergies. Dry the sheets on a low heat setting and remove them from the dryer immediately after the cycle is finished to prevent wrinkles.

How Often You Should Wash Your Comforter and Other Bedding

Now that you know how often to wash sheets, you might wonder about other bedding. Generally, you should wash pillowcases about once a week. However, it's different if you frequently go to bed without washing your face or removing your makeup. In that case, you should change them more often, especially if you have acne or other skin concerns.

Duvet covers, comforters, and throw blankets don't need to be washed as often because they typically have less direct contact with your skin. Once every month or two should be enough. Plan to clean or replace your pillows every three to five months to keep them fresh and fluffy.

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