Most of us spend a third of our lives in bed, leaving behind a slew of germs (yuck!). Thanks to dead skin cells, sweat, and body fluids, our beds can get pretty gross. So, just how often should you wash your bed sheets? Most experts recommend washing your sheets weekly, and here’s why.
What’s hiding between the sheets?
It’s not something we often think about, but humans shed 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every hour. With so much of our time spent in bed, I bet you can guess where a lot of those dead skin cells end up. That’s right: your bed. We don’t want you to lose sleep over this, but dead skin cells are an invitation for dust mites.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are pests usually found in carpets and furniture, such as couches and beds. Although dust mites are common and may be found in every home, they thrive in humid environments.
Why are dust mites a problem?
Because dust mites have enzymes that can cause common allergies, having them snuggled up in bed with us can trigger symptoms like congestion, snoring, and allergies, all affecting the quality of your sleep. Not to mention perspiration, pet dander, and body oil/fluids are also creating a hotbed of germs in our sacred place of slumber. Asthmatics may experience asthma symptoms if exposed to dust mites.
How often should you wash your bed sheets?
There are some factors to consider when determining how often to wash your sheets. Suppose your work requires you to spend a couple of nights each week out of town while traveling for business. In that case, you might only need to wash your sheets once every 10 to 14 days. The fabric can also be a factor when determining how often to wash your sheets.
How often should you wash bamboo sheets?
Shop for high-quality bamboo sheets and enjoy their luxurious comfort every night. Bamboo sheets are popular because their moisture-wicking properties keep you cool and are high-quality and durable. Depending on the season, you can wait up to 10 to 14 days to wash bamboo sheets.
How often should you wash cotton and microfiber sheets?
The general rule is to wash your bed sheets once every seven days. This is ideal for cotton and microfiber sheets unless there are other factors to consider.
How often should linens be washed?
Linen is a high-quality fabric that’s absorbent and withstands wear and tear. It’s a popular sheet fabric because it’s possible to get eco-friendly linen sheets that appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. Like cotton and microfiber, linen sheets typically need to be washed once per week.
Exceptions to the Once a Week Sheet Cleaning Rule
When should you wash your bed sheets more than once a week? If you are sick, sleep in the nude, go to bed without a shower, sleep with your beloved pet, or sleep with a partner, your sheets could need cleaning more than once a week.
Health issues are also reasons to consider washing your sheets every three or four days. Using clean sheets could reduce asthma and allergy symptoms by reducing exposure to allergens.
You should also wash your sheets more often when it’s warm. People living in areas with high temperatures may need a bi-weekly washing schedule year-round, while others may need to consider changing their sheets more often during the summer months.
If you're pressed for time, or you don’t have easy access to a washer machine/dryer, weekly washing might not always be possible. If you must forgo the recommended weekly washings and sleep in your sheets beyond one week, following these helpful tips can help keep your bedding fresh between washings.
- Shower before bed. If you are clean when getting into bed, your sheets will stay cleaner longer.
- Always wear pajamas.
- Make your bed. Shaking out your bedding removes dust and crumbs, and making the bed can help protect you from allergens.
- Change your pillowcases. Picking up extra pillowcases and changing them more often can keep dirt and allergens away from your face, making a big difference in your quality of sleep.
If you don’t have time for weekly washings, keeping an extra sheet set on hand can make it easier for you to replace your dirty bed sheets with clean ones.
How to Effectively Wash Your Sheets
When washing your bedding, it’s always a good idea to follow the care instructions. White and lighter-colored sheets can usually be washed in any temperature, whereas darker-colored sheets may require colder water to prevent fading. To kill bacteria, dust mites, and other germs, it is always a good idea to wash using the hottest temperature recommended by the manufacturer. Also, keep in mind if you don’t sleep with a top sheet, you may have some extra laundry to do to help keep all of your bedding clean and cozy.
Follow these washing tips to extend the lifespan of your sheets:
- Follow the care instructions
- Wash sheets separately from other items
- Pretreat stains
- Don’t use fabric softener
- Don’t use dryer sheets
- Use the delicate cycle
- Use low heat, no heat, or air dry when drying
- Store in a cool, dry closet when not in use
- Wash with vinegar to keep sheets soft and retain colors
How long do bed sheets last?
Many people don’t think about bed sheets expiring. They assume their bed sheets are good to use until they’re threadbare or have holes or tears. However, you may need to replace your bed sheets more often than you think. The fabric and frequency of use impact how long bed sheets last.
Lifespan if Used Daily Year-Round
Lifespan if Used Every Other Week
How to Freshen Sheets Without Washing
Sometimes, you want to freshen up your sheets but don’t have time to wash them. Fortunately, you can use some simple tricks to make your sheets feel and smell fresh and clean, including the following:
- Remove your sheet sets and shake them out. This removes dead skin cells and other debris from your sheets.
- Use a linen spray. Linen spray is a great way to help keep your bed smelling fresh between cleanings.
- Mix vinegar and water to make a spray solution. Use equal parts water and vinegar and shake it well. Spritz your sheets with the solution. Vinegar kills mold and eliminates musty smells from fabrics.
What’s the best way to keep sheets on the bed?
Keeping your sheets in place can be tricky. The best way to keep sheets on the bed may vary, depending on your resources and preferences. Using any of the following tricks can help you keep your sheets in their place on your bed.
- Use sheet suspenders. These stretchy elastic bands have clips that connect to the sheet. Use them under the mattress in the corners to keep your fitted sheet in place.
- Use binder clips. Use these clips to connect your mattress and fitted sheet to prevent your fitted sheet from sliding loose.
- Lay a sheet made with rougher fabric under your fitted sheet. Flannel and cotton sheets are ideal undersheets if your regular bed sheets are made of a smooth material, like silk. The rough fabric underneath keeps the sheets from coming loose.
- Use a mattress topper. Just like rougher fabrics, mattress toppers provide friction, and that friction keeps smooth sheets in place.
How often should you wash other bedding?
It’s natural to choose bedding that suits your bedroom aesthetic and supplement your sheets with other bedding to complete the look. Whether you invest in the best duvet covers or top your sheets with a cozy comforter, you’ll wash these bedding items regularly.
How Often to Wash
Every 8–12 weeks
Every 8–12 weeks
Every 2–4 weeks
Once a week
Every 16–24 weeks
Check out our great cotton sheets and choose your new bedding today. With an excellent care routine, you can enjoy fresh, comfortable, quality sheets that will last years.
Grabianowski, E. (2022). How Many Skin Cells Do We Shed Every Day?
Leverette, M. (2022). How to Clean and Care For Bamboo Sheets.