The average person spends 26 years of their lives in bed. That’s a lot of time to get the rest our bodies need, but it’s also a lot of time for dirt, sweat, oil and dust to build up in your sheets and bedding.
Most of us won’t even think twice about washing our clothes whenever the laundry basket is overflowing, or we have run out of things to wear. We’ll wipe down the kitchen bench after washing the dishes or run a cloth over the table when you notice a light layer of dust. Yet, when it comes to our bedding, most of us will climb right in for 12 hours a night without giving our sheets a second thought.
So, just how often should you be washing your sheets and bedding?
Once a week.
Yes, that’s right, most people wash their sheets once a week. However, some people need to wash their sheets more often than once a week due to a range of factors, including:
- People who suffer from allergies or asthma need to wash their bedding more frequently to reduce your symptoms
- Pet owners, particularly those who let their pets sleep in their bed, need to wash their sheets every 3-4 days
- In the warmer summer months you should wash your sheets more, as you will likely sweat more
- People who suffer from seasonal allergies are recommended to wash their sheets more regularly to help relieve symptoms
- People who sleep naked and those who don’t shower before bed should also was their bedding at least twice a week
- Anyone who eats in bed should be cleaning their sheets more often. Besides, who wants crumbs in bed?
Why it’s important to wash your sheets regularly
Washing your sheets once a week may seem like a chore, but it is necessary. Even after a few days of sleeping in the same sheets, they start to accumulate large amounts of dirt, dead skin cells, body oils, sweat and dust mites, including their carcasses and fecal matter.
While most of us can live with sleeping in our own skin cells and sweat, it’s the dust mites and co. that’s a bit of a shock to us all. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are common in most households. They are mostly harmless, but they can lead to skin rashes and irritation if you are exposed to them for long periods. And, you probably don’t want to be sharing your bed with thousands of them, so washing your sheets often will help.
Leaving your sheets too long between washes not only exposes you to little nasties like dust mites, but you’ll also leave yourself exposed to funghi, bacteria, pollen and animal dander. While none of this will make you sick, it could trigger eczema in people with the condition, or worsen symptoms of people with asthma or allergies. Even if you’re not part of these groups, you could find yourself waking up with a stuffy nose or sneezing after a night between unclean sheets.
How to wash your sheets
So you now know that your sheets should be washed weekly, but do you know how they should be washed?
Before washing we always recommend taking a careful look at your sheet’s product label to ensure you follow any specific instructions, then wash your sheets on the hottest temperature that your label permits (e.g. cotton can handle hot water, while synthetic material should be washed warm).
Then follow these steps:
- Machine wash with a mild detergent
- Rinse your sheets – especially if you have sensitive skin
- Hang dry, or tumble dry on low
- Iron your sheets, if you have time to get that crisp hotel sheet-feel
Washing your sheets can take longer than a Marvel film, so many people buy themselves some extra time by having a spare set of sheets. That way you can strip the bed, re-make it with the spare, clean sheets and then wash the dirty sheets at a time that’s convenient for you. Not everyone has hours to spare each week washing sheets, so for time-strapped people having a couple of pairs of sheets is a good option.
What about your duvet and pillowcases?
Thought you could get away without washing your duvet and pillowcases? Think again. Your duvet cover and pillowcases will need to be washed alongside your sheets once a week in order to keep them fresh and clean.
You duvet, or doona, on the other hand won’t need washing as often. As long as you don’t spill anything on your doona insert, then it will only need to be washed at least twice a year, but ideally you’ll throw it in the wash every 2-3 months to keep it as fresh as possible. And, the same goes for your pillows, they will need to be washed every 2-3 months. But, unlike doonas, which can last for decades with a cover, pillows need to be replaced every year or two.
How to make your bedding last longer between washes
Wanting to know how to make your bedding and sheets go the extra mile? We’ve got a couple of cleaning tricks up our sleeves to help save you some time, because let’s face it, no one likes constantly washing sheets.
- If you use a mattress protector, air it out in the sun for an hour a week to air it out. You can do this while your sheets are in the wash
- Avoid cramming ALL of your bedding – sheets, doona and all – into the washing machine at one time, as it won’t be able to deep clean them
- When changing your sheets, leave your bed unmade for an hour or more to allow your mattress to breathe
- Invest in some spare sheets and pillowcases, so when washing your sheets you can simply pop them on and take the time pressure off
- Remove debris or dirt off your feet or socks before climbing into bed
- Avoid climbing into bed after a particularly sweaty gym session without showering first
Just like scrubbing your favourite coffee cup each morning, or washing your clothes, washing your sheets can become a part of your regular routine.
While it may seem like a bit of a chore at first, like anything, eventually washing your bedding each week will become second nature and you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it your entire life. You’ll sleep better, breathe easier and feel fresher.
And, if you’re looking to reap the benefits of clean sheets without any of the additional effort, you’ll be happy to know that Calibre Cleaning offers a laundry service and bed-changing as part of our house cleaning service. Explore our flat rate house cleaning prices and book your clean today.