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A Clean Bed: How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding?

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Sadly, we still wake up as mortals every morning. However, maintaining a clean bed certainly helps us feel one step closer to being the lords of our lives. People spend on average forty-nine to sixty-three hours in bed, on their sheets. Build up of sweat, oil, dirt and makeup as a result of this can lead to increased allergy symptoms, breakouts and the possibly even fungal infections. How often you should wash your bedding depends on how much direct contact with your body there is. Every night there is direct contact between your skin and your sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers. Fabrics that are frequently in direct contact with your skin should be washed the most often. Other bedding like blankets and comforters can be washed less frequently as they do not have much contact with your skin.

Keep your bed clean, wash your sheets and duvet covers

Balance is the key when it comes to anything in life. Washing sheets too often can make them wear out faster. Not putting them in the washer often enough can lead to a build-up of dirt and allergens.

Sheets and duvet covers are both is constant direct contact with our skin while we sleep and therefore need to be washed more often than other pieces of bedding.

How often you need to wash your sheets depends on you; there is no definite rule. People who sweat a lot while they sleep will want to wash their sheets at least once a week. Others may be able to stretch it to every two weeks.

One definite rule is to toss your sheets in the washer as soon as you can after being sick. Sheets collect anything that comes off our bodies. Our skins transfer dirt, oils and dead skin from our onto our sheets as we sleep. Dust mites feed on this dead skin and can worsen allergy symptoms. Infrequent washing can also cause a build-up of bacteria and pathogens. Sleeping on sheets with lingering germs can just lead to you getting sick again.

Clean bed basics, the mattress covers

Mattress covers are life savers. Quite literally, as they can significantly extend the life of your mattress. Covering your mattress helps to prevent damage to the mattress, reduces allergy symptoms and just generally keeps it clean and comfy. There is no need to not wash mattress covers as often as sheets. The reason for this is quite simple. Mattress covers does not come into direct contact with the skin. Giving it a wash once a month will do.

How often should you wash your pillowcases?

Pillowcases come into direct contact with our faces every night. Oil and dirt from your hair and face collect on the pillowcase. The skin on your face is more sensitive than in other places, and the gunk on pillowcases can cause breakouts.

Skincare experts generally recommend washing your pillowcase at least once a week. People that are prone to breakouts and have sensitive skin should also choose the detergent they use carefully. Avoiding those with fragrance is a good rule of thumb.

Tossing all your pillowcases in the wash once a week is also a good idea if doing all your sheets every week is too much for you. Inhaling dust mites is another possibility if the washing of pillowcases is left for too long.

Wash your pillows monthly

Oils, dirt and residual makeup from your face and hair can penetrate into the pillow, soaking into its filling.

Using pillow protectors underneath pillowcases is a good idea. When pillow protectors are in use they should be washed monthly, while the pillows themselves will only need to be washed three times a year.

Pillows that do not have protectors will need to be washed monthly if possible. If that is not possible, washing them every other month will do.

Wash your blankets separately

Blankets often experience varying amounts of use. Some blankets are for decoration and merely sit at the end of the bed. Blankets can also be used daily.

Seldomly used blankets only need to be washed every few months. However, those that are used more often can be put on the same washing schedule as sheets. Washing them weekly or biweekly will be a good idea.

When it comes to washing a blanket, be careful of colour bleeding – especially with those used less often. Washing it alone is always an option if you are particularly worried about that.

Wash your Comforters twice a year

Comforters generally do not come into direct contact with your skin, thanks to duvet covers. As a result, they only need to be washed once or twice a year. However, if there is not a separate cover, the entire thing will need to be washed every week.  Wash duvet covers and sheets weekly. Using a top sheet can extend the time between washes for your duvet cover to every two or four weeks.

Five Dangers of dirty bedding

Tugging a fitted sheet off the bed every week can be annoying and folding it after a wash even more so. However, it is essential to push through any inconvenience for the sake of your health. Here are a few ways that dirty bedding can affect your wellbeing:

1. Breakouts:

All the bacteria that accumulate can lead to clogged pores and cause acne. When you are having trouble with your skin despite maintaining a good skincare regime, your dirty bedding is probably to blame.

2. Allergies:

Bed sheets can hide many common allergens. Particularly dust mites and pet dander. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America notes that humans shed enough dead skin to feed a million dust mites a day. Bringing pets into the bed invites not only more dust mites, but an array of other allergens, germs and bacteria. Not washing your bedding regularly enough can lead to quite the build up.

3. Eczema:

For people with eczema, allergens and other irritants hidden in sheets can set off triggers for dry, itchy skin. Treating your skin with heavy, greasy creams in retaliation can end up making the problem worse. Heavy creams are hard to absorb and transfer to your sheets. This causes a build-up on the sheet, exposing you to more bacteria.  Using ointments that will not rub off and absorb quickly is the safest thing to do. Doing that will help avoid a germy wasteland of a bed.

4. Asthma:

Similarly to eczema, allergies, dust mites and pet dander can trigger asthma.  During the night, as you breathe in, you inhale all the icky germs in your sheets – this includes dust mites! Dirty sheets can cause coughing, laboured breathing and difficulty sleeping.

5. Infections:

After the worst is over and the sniffles are gone, toss your bedding into the washing machine. A good wash ensures that you will get rid of lingering germs. Failure to do so can result in you getting sick again. Germs that remain can also spread the cold that you caught to others in the house.

Being lazy is easy when it comes to washing your bedding can seem like such a troublesome thing. Stripping the bed, washing everything, hanging it up to dry, folding the sheets and then making the bed again. Looking at it like that can make it seem like a lot. However, keeping your bed sheets clean is vital to your wellbeing and health.

Instead, think of washing your bedding as giving yourself a gift. Slipping between clean, fresh sheets is a fantastic feeling that just cannot be beaten. Every time you wash your bedding, you are committing an act of self-care. With that kind of thinking, you might even start looking forward to laundry day!

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