This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Sheets

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets

Photo: Paul Strowger/Getty, Art by Candace Napier

There’s no feeling quite as gratifying as jumping into bed after a long day and cuddling up in your sheets. While your cotton nest feels heavenly in the moment, it’s also home to a nasty buildup of body oils, sweat, body products, dirt from outside and dead skin cells that attract dust mites. This accumulation causes odors, will make your room feel stuffy and possibly make sleep more difficult by holding on to allergens. Doesn’t sound so attractive anymore, does it?

While it seems obvious that you need to wash your sheets, the reality is that many of us still have not made doing so a regular habit. A Women’s Health survey done with about 1,200 women earlier this year revealed that 31 percent of women wash their sheets twice a month, 16 percent wash their sheets only once a month, and 32 percent never switch out their pillows. Yikes.

“Think about it: We wash our clothing after one or a few uses, and if we don’t, the clothing will inevitably smell,” notes Melissa Maker, host of popular YouTube channel “Clean My Space.” “The same holds true for sheets.” We turned to the pro to break down everything you need to know about keeping your bed comfy and clean.

Flat sheets and fitted sheets
According to Maker, flat and fitted sheets should be washed weekly or biweekly. “Any longer than that and you’ll notice that ‘dirty linen’ smell,” she explains. “Since they are so close to your body, you lay enveloped in them for eight hours a night, you sweat and shed during your sleep, they essentially sponge up your bodily excrement and hang onto them until laundered.”

Pillow Cases
Wash pillow cases weekly. Just think about all the days you decided to skip a shower and loaded up on dry shampoo to cover your greasy strands—you don’t want that on your face. That’s just a breakout waiting to happen.

Maker suggests washing duvets and comforters a couple of times a year, and spot cleaning as necessary. “I have always been a fan of duvet covers and duvets since the covers can be easily washed without affecting the integrity of the duvet itself,” she adds.

Keep in mind one last tip from Maker: Don’t jam the washing machine and dryer with all of your sheets. You won’t get an even wash or dry, and some wet patches will accrue a mildew smell. Now get to it—you have a lot of laundry to attend to.

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