How Often Should You Change Your Bed Sheets?

Are you one of those people that does not clean their sheets very often? Are you one of those people that leave the sheets on the bed for over a month? Don’t worry, you are not alone. It happens more often that you think. It’s many people’s dirty little secret. But how often SHOULD you change your bed sheets?

We get it. Changing sheets is painful. You have to strip the doona cover and wrestle off the fitted sheet. And then you have to get the new fitted sheet on every corner. This can be damn annoying if you are changing sheets on your own. 

But, at the same time, everyone knows that nothing feels better than jumping into bed at the end of a long day cocooned by clean, crisp sheets. If you ask anyone they are going to tell you that you love that feeling. 

We all know it feels good. But sometimes we just can’t be bothered. With this article we wanted to talk more about WHY you should perhaps be washing and changing your sheets more often. Specifically, we’ll be talking about the hygienic reasons for washing your sheets.

Remember, you spend a LOT of time in bed

Firstly, let’s think about how long you spend in bed each week. You are in your bed 7 nights per week – for somewhere between 6-8 hours per night. That’s somewhere between 42 and 56 hours you are spending in bed each week. Do you wear clothes or underwear for that long each week? I hope not!

Rest is important. You should be aiming for closer to 56 than 42 hours of rest each week. Either way though, that’s a lot of time to spend in bed. More importantly, that’s a lot of time to ensure your sheets are covered in a build up of sweat, body oils, shed skin and other gunk. It gets even worse if you have pets.

But let’s pretend that you’re in a pet-free home and you shower just before going to bed. It doesn’t matter how clean you are. You should wash your sheets more often than you do now. Every year you shed millions of skin cells. Every year you produce litres of sweat (it doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter.) If you leave changing your sheets for too long, then they can become pretty disgusting. 

how often should you change your bed sheets

Why should you wash your sheets more often?

How often should you change you bed sheets, you ask. Before we try to convince how often you should do it, lets take a deeper look at why it’s so important. You are taught about hygiene as a child. You’re taught about washing your hands, regular cleaning and changing your clothes. But, for some reason, washing your sheets becomes too hard for many. It’s time to make your sheets part of your regular hygienic maintenance. For your own health, you need to regularly wash and change your sheets. If you don’t, you are potentially increasing your risk of allergies, skin breakouts, asthma, and more. For your health and sleep quality, it’s important to keep things clean.

Bacteria 

There are some obvious areas where bacteria thrive – your head, your armpits, you groin, and your feet. This is especially so if you sleep on your side and are breathing over your pillow too. Let’s talk a little bit about bacteria and what it needs to thrive. Essentially bacteria needs three things to survive and thrive – moisture, a food source, and warmth. You sweat, you sleep in a warm cocoon, and you ARE the food source! 

Bacteria thrive on human skin and human oils. You are unlikely to want to be cold. The only thing that you can control is the moisture content. You will never stop sweating but you can control the moisture concentration in your sheets. You can do this in a couple of ways – by ensuring your sheets dry out if required (especially if you sweat a lot) and by washing them more often so any bacteria is killed and replacing them with dry sheets. 

If it were only bacteria that you had created yourself it wouldn’t be too bad. Most of this bacteria is probably harmless but it can lead to bad body odour. But you don’t live in a bubble. You do leave the house. This leaves you susceptible to picking up other bacteria in your daily travels. A bed with sheets that haven’t been washed for too long can be a breeding ground for this new bacteria and this is where the concerns mentioned above can thrive.

Dust Mites

 Another reason changing and washing your sheet often is a must, is that it helps prevent dust mites. Dust mites are generally harmless to most people. They don’t carry disease, but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their faeces. Yes, faeces. They literally live in your bed, eating your dead skin and relieving themselves wherever they please. Got problems with your skin or eyes? Wash your sheets!

Changing Bed Sheets Often Kills Dust Mites

So, how often should you change your bed sheets?

Don’t worry, despite all the talk of bacteria above, we are not suggesting that you should wash your sheets every day. For most people, assuming they are at home 7 nights per week, the answer to the question “how often should you change your bed sheets” is generally “once per week should be enough”. If you spend a few nights per week away from home, for work or visiting a partner, you may get away with washing your sheets every 2-3 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it any longer. 

There may be some cases where you should wash your sheets more often. For example, if you have pets. Especially so if you let those pets sleep in bed with you. You should probably change your sheets every 3-4 days. 

For some, it may be recommended that you wash your sheets more often in the warmer weather. With hotter weather you obviously sweat more. This means more moisture in summer months that can help bacteria thrive.

How Often Should You Wash and Change Your Bed Sheets

Credit: SleepAdvisor

So, how do you wash your bed sheets?

While questioning how often you should change your bed sheets is good, it’s also important to consider how exactly you should wash them too. We will outline some general tips for washing your bed sheets below but we need to remind you that it’s more important that you follow the instructions that are on your product label. The instructions on the label supersede any generic instructions mentioned below.

The first piece of advice we would give you is to wash your sheets in very hot water. Depending on the material they’re made of, some sheets can be washed in a machine as high as 90 degrees. As we’ve touched upon many times in this article, sheets can be a breeding ground for bacteria and hot water is more likely to kill off any bacteria that may be hiding in your sheets. Some people also iron their sheets as a last step in ensuring any bacteria is killed.

Many people will have 2-3 sets of sheets in the house, to ensure that they can change their sheets more regularly. This is because if you hang your sheets on the line, then it can take more than a few hours for them to dry. Most people don’t want to wait that long before putting new sheets on. Tumble drying your sheets can also help eliminate moisture, which further prevents bacteria from becoming a problem. 

What about your pillow cases, doona covers and other bedding items?

We have told you how often you should wash your sheets, but there are other items on your bed. And they should be washed regularly too. Here is some general advice on some of your other bedding and how often each piece should be washed.

  • Pillowcases – as often as your sheets (i.e. once per week.)
  • Doona Cover – once per month if you also use a flat sheet. Or once a week if you don’t have any barrier between you and your doona cover
  • Blankets & Doona – once every few months.
  • Pillows – If you can wash your pillow you should wash it every 3-4 months. 

As with your sheets, please make sure you follow the instructions for washing your bedding that appears on the label to avoid any damage. 

As a final recommendation, we also suggest that you make an effort to clean and launder your mattress twice a year. Do it every 6 months – in Spring and in Autumn. That way you are cleaning it just before summer when you will sweat more, and just after summer when you have had your sweatiest time of the year. This will extend the life of your mattress. 

We understand you are busy but we hope that this article has convinced you that you should wash your sheets more often. Aim to wash them at least once per week. If you would like to engage us as a cleaner in your home, we can add changing your bed sheets to our weekly schedule. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a no obligation quote.

Looking for more tips? Check out our other blog posts below or try this on about Year-Round Cleaning Tips for Your Bedroom.

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