Bed sheets can quickly gather dirt and dead skin after each night’s sleep, inviting unsightly bacteria to live amongst your cosy bedding. With the average person spending almost a third of their life asleep, regular washing is essential for our sleep hygiene. While not all dirt is visible, concerning amounts of unpleasant microbes can linger for weeks on end – so how often should you be washing them away?
How often should you change your bed sheets?
Changing your bed sheets can feel like a time-consuming chore after a long day, but avoiding it could make your beloved bed a rather unhygienic place to sleep.
While you may think you are changing your sheets regularly, experts at the Sleep Foundation claim that most people are failing to do it often enough.
Switching lived-in sheets for fresh linen is an unbeatable feeling, but it’s time to stop treating it like a luxury.
Although busy schedules can complicate your laundry routine, the Sleep Foundation says that any less than once a week simply won’t cut it.
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A study conducted by Hammonds Furniture revealed that a shocking 30 percent of Brits admit to washing their bedding just once a year – a far cry from the recommended weekly wash.
While once a week may seem excessive for busy households, experts say that this is one laundry task you should never skimp on.
Rob Davey, sleep expert at Snoozel Green told Express.co.uk: “In general, during winter, you do bring in a bit more dirt to your household as the days get wetter.
“Inevitably some of this additional dirt will make its way into the bedroom, so be sure to up your vacuuming schedule and wash your sheets regularly to avoid the accumulation of dirt and dust in your bedding.”
Rob suggests washing bedding once a week at 60 degrees to ensure a thorough cleanse.
Why is once a week recommended?
Hidden dirt and bacteria is the number one cause of under-washed sheets.
While your bedding may look clean, it is highly likely that you’re sharing your bed with nasty microorganisms feasting on dirt, skin and oil.
Leaving your bedding on for more than a week is an easy mistake, but the Sleep Foundation has warned against the revolting consequences.
The Sleep Foundation said: “Even after a few days, bed sheets can accumulate significant amounts of dirt, dead skin cells, body oils, sweat, and dust mites – including their carcasses and feacal matter.”
Dust mites can multiply at a rapid rate, feeding solely off of dead skin cells.
At any given time, there can be tens of thousands of dust mites living in your mattress and bedding – but washing sheets regularly is the best way to get rid of them.
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Washing your sheets more than once a week should be done if you suffer from:
- Dust mite allergy
- Seasonal allergies
Allowing pets in your bed or frequent bed-time snacking is also a valid reason to increase your laundry cycle.
Be sure to change bed sheets every three or four days and vacuum mattresses weekly to banish dirt dust.
Rob added: “Ideally you should try to change your sheets at least once a week and wash at 60 degrees.
“Keep several sets on hand to reduce the need to wash and dry immediately and try to dry bedding naturally in the sunlight as the UV light helps to kill microorganisms.”
Top tips for washing bedding
Washing sheets is the obvious way to keep your bed clean, but many of us forget to clean elements beneath the cosy linen.
- According to the Sleep Foundation, the best timings to wash your bedding are as follows:
- Pillowcases – once a week
- Duvet covers – once every two to four weeks
- Comforter/ duvet – once every two to three months
- Blankets – once every two to three months
- Pillows – once every four to six months
- Mattress – every six to eight months
Keeping the contents of your bed fresh and hygienic is easily done with the right method.
For cleaner bedding, you should:
- Rotate fresh sets to avoid wear and tear caused by over-washing (keep two or three sets spare)
- Avoid using bleach or optical brightening products while washing
- Always was at 40 degrees or above
- Always wash on a full cycle
- Air dry sheets
- Use pillow protectors
- Use a mattress protector
- Add half a cup of vinegar to each wash to naturally soften bedding