Updated at: 05-05-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Every week, the majority of us sleep in our beds for anywhere from 49 to 60 hours. Our bodies require 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 during this long period of time.

Every aspect of one’s life benefits from maintaining good personal hygiene. A lot more emphasis is placed on our bedding than you may assume. Allergies, skin outbreaks, asthma, and allergies can all be aggravated or worsened by sleeping on filthy sheets. How often should you wash your linens to keep your health and sleep quality in mind?

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?

Once a week, the majority of people should clean their sheets. Once every two weeks or so may work if you don’t sleep on your mattress every day.

Wash Your Bed Sheets Every 1 to 3 Weeks (Take the Quiz!) - The (mostly) Simple Life

Sheets should be washed more frequently than once a week for certain people. It is recommended that you wash your pet’s bedding every three to four days if you allow them to sleep there. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, it may be worthwhile to increase the frequency with which you clean your bedding to see if it helps alleviate your symptoms.

You should also wash your bed linens more frequently in the summer, when you’re more likely to get sweat on them. Similar to this, washing linens more frequently may help alleviate allergy symptoms in the spring and summer.

Why it’s Important to Wash Your Sheets

Even while washing and making your bed once a week may seem excessive, it is definitely worth the effort. Sheets can acquire substantial levels of: even after only a few days of use.

  • Dirt
  • Decomposed skin cells
  • Oils for the skin
  • Sweat
  • In addition to mite corpses and fecal debris, dust mites

Despite the fact that most of us are able to put up with sleeping in our own filth and sweat, this last item is the one that many of us are most concerned about.

Every home has a slew of microscopic critters known as dust mites. Despite the fact that they aren’t poisonous, they can cause skin reactions like rashes and irritation, and in some cases, they can exacerbate allergies.

Dust mites reproduce rapidly and can survive entirely on the decomposition of human skin. Dust mites in your mattress and bedding can number in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands at any given time. The presence of thousands of dust mites in your bed may not be ideal, even if you aren’t allergic to them. Washing sheets on a regular basis can help.

How to Wash Bed Sheets

Sheets must be washed regularly, but how should they be done?

Care instructions may be included in the product’s packaging; if so, read them carefully.

Use the hottest water recommended by the label (cotton can generally handle hot water, while polyester and some other materials should be washed on warm).

Use a mild detergent in the washing machine to remove dirt and grime.

You may want to rinse the sheets a second time if you have extremely sensitive skin.

Many individuals find it more convenient to keep a few extra sets of sheets on hand due to the time it takes to wash and dry them. That way, you may remove the sheets from the bed, put them back on, and wash the soiled ones when it’s convenient for you.. 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 good example. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, humans shed between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells per day (AAD). Congratulations, but don’t forget that you spend a large portion of your life sleeping. These dead skin cells might be found in the same place.

Dust mites follow the trail of skin cells. A study from the Mayo Clinic claims that these microscopic organisms feed off of your dead skin cells. These mites have an all-you-can-eat buffet when it comes to unwashed linens and your entire bed.

Then there’s the possibility of sweat and body oils dripping onto your pillowcase and pillowcase lining while you sleep. Sweat, drool, skin oils, and other fluids from sexual activity are all included.

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 period of time, you’re sleeping in a cesspool created by your own neglect of washing your sheets.

The only exception to this is if you’re sleeping in someone else’s bed. If you do, you’ll also have to deal with their bodily fluids and dead skin cells. If you sleep with a pet, it’s possible that they’re contaminating your bed linens.

But what does all of this actually mean for your health?

Nothing is certain. To be clear, we’re not claiming that sleeping on filthy sheets puts you at risk of health problems. There is a chance, though, that it can harm your health, particularly your skin.

Your skin’s ecosystem can be damaged if you don’t wash your linens frequently enough. 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. Your skin microbiome is a critical equilibrium of bacteria.

How to wash sheets: How often should you wash your sheets?

Acne can be caused by changes in the skin microbiome, according to Dr. Bowe. Dr. Bowe explains that if your skin is very sensitive, this disturbance might exacerbate conditions such as 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.)

Then there are the mites. In addition to making it difficult to obtain a good night’s sleep, dust mite allergens like those found in beds can cause symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, making it difficult to fall asleep.

There’s also the possibility of ingesting stool particles if you sleep naked on unclean sheets and move your pillow back and forth often between your knees and under your head while you’re asleep. In the event that you’re in good health, this concept is the most upsetting of all. You may be more susceptible, however, to pink eye if your immune system has been affected by an illness like the flu, such as a cold or the common cold.

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.

  • Once a week: Pillowcases
  • Covers for duvets: every two to four weeks or every month.
  • Once every two to three months for comforters.
  • Once every two to three months
  • A few times a year: Pillows (if washable)

Care instructions from the manufacturer should always be checked, if possible. Occasionally, a piece of bedding will have a special design that has different washing and maintenance instructions than those listed here.

The mattress should also be cleaned every six months or so. Cleaning your mattress and bedding can help extend their usable life and improve your sleep quality and health. But even if you replace your mattress every 6-8 years or so, it’s still crucial to make sure that you’re getting the finest possible sleep.

FAQs

How often should you wash your bedsheets?

Ideally, you should wash your sheets once a week. For those who can’t wash their sheets weekly, there are still ways to keep bacteria from building up in your bed linens.

If you have a pet, don’t let them sleep in your bed, as their dander will simply add to the allergens. Eating in bed can also attract bugs and increase the likelihood of accidents due to crumbs that fall off plates. Finally, if you take a shower each night before going to bed, you can probably get away with washing your bedding every other week..

Do I need to wash new sheets?

The majority of bedding manufactures recommend that you wash your new sheets before you sleep on them, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. 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.

It’s still preferable to let it all wash out in the wash, even if these treatments are generally non-lethal. You can get a better idea of how they’ll fit on your mattress by washing them for the first time, as they usually shrink a bit.

Can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets?

Bedbugs aren’t interested in your soiled linens, but dust mites are. A widespread belief is that if you don’t properly wash your linens, you’re more likely to bring in bed bugs. However, these insects can only thrive if they’re close to their principal food source—blood.

While you’re out and about (they can be found anyplace from libraries to movie theaters), it is feasible for bed bugs to cling to your skin and then travel to 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, on average, it’s a good idea to have new sheets. Keep in mind, however, that sheet longevity depends on the materials used and the quality of the fabric used to make it.

How Often Should You Wash Sheets? You Just Might Be Surprised

When it comes to bedding, linen sheets are known to get softer and cozier over time. As a matter of fact, certain linen beds may withstand decades of wear and tear. If you’re looking for long-stretched cotton sheets, extra-long staple cotton is your best bet. Cotton and polyester sheet sets generally begin to pill and degrade after three years.

If my sheets do not look dirty, why should I was them?

The sheets are covered in more than just obvious dirt. In addition to dead skin cells, allergies, things like lotions and bacteria from your skin that can build up in the bed, pets are also a factor.

Do I really need to wash my sheets weekly?

If you shower right before going to bed, you may be able to put off washing your linens for a little longer than the recommended once a week.

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