How Often Should I Change My Bed Sheets?
The bedroom is often our sanctuary amidst the chaos of a busy home – the place where we can go to wind down, take off the day, and enjoy everyone’s favourite activity, sleep. We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important that our bedroom is conducive to relaxing in a healthy and hygienic way, starting with our bedsheets.
Whether you sleep with a top sheet or not, love to lie down, are a serial napper or just sleep to get by, washing your bedsheets on a regular schedule is imperative. Here’s our run down of when, how and why (in case you need some convincing…) you should wash your bedsheets.
When you should clean your bedsheets
While we’re sure all of you stick your sheets in the washing machine every now and then, the stats don’t lie – some of us are more vigilant than others. In fact, in the UK, a recent study conducted by Hammonds Furniture showed that one-third of people only deigned to dump their bedsheets in the washer once a year.
In stark contrast to once every 365 days (or 366, every so often), the recommended time between washes is actually one to two weeks. Although there’s really no straight answer, this is an estimate that’ll ensure you’re keeping the beds in your home clean and are creating a stress-free sleeping environment for your whole family.
If you’re co-sleeping with kids, have pets or shower in the mornings, you might like to wash more regularly (once a week) than someone who doesn’t fulfil any of these criteria. This also goes for people who work outside, people with allergies, people who experience night sweats and people with chronic illnesses like asthma or who are currently unwell. Essentially, if there’s room for you to sweat, cough, sneeze, shed or anything else that feels a little gross (but is, assuredly, completely normal) then you should make washing your sheets weekly a priority.
Why you should clean your bedsheets
Regularly cleaning or changing your bedsheets might seem like an arduous task, but it’s preventing bacteria, fungus and microbes from building up. The average human spends 56 hours in bed a week: sweating, losing dead skin cells, and leaving behind body oils. This is a totally natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to sleep in it for months on end.
Here are a few handy facts that might help convince you to pick up the detergent and pack up the dryer a little more regularly:
- The average person produces roughly 26 gallons (a whopping 98 litres) of sweat in bed in a year. That’s 98 litres of sweat soaking your bedsheets…
- The moisture in your bed creates an ideal place for fungal and bacterial reproduction. These bacteria can then infiltrate your body and cause disease – no, thank you!
- The average bed is housing a huge range of microbes, from pollen and lint to dust mites and more, and sleeping with these for an extended period will increase your chances of getting sick.
- If you eat in your bed, food crumbs can attract bugs – even if they’re microscopic.
- Gravity can draw dust and fibres from your ceiling and walls onto the surface of your sheets and comforter.
- Sleeping in a bed full of dust mites can cause severe reactions even in non-allergy sufferers, with symptoms like eye irritation, coughing and wheezing.
How to clean your bedsheets
Now that we’ve, surely, thoroughly grossed you out, we won’t leave you hanging without a solution. Keeping your bed clean, comfortable and conducive to happy, healthy sleep is easier said than done – but once you’ve got the routine down pat (and gotten over the mental fatigue of putting on another load of washing) it’ll become a stress-free part of life. Here are some general tips for washing your sheets in a way that’ll maximise cleanliness and minimise stress.
Step 1: There’s a little more to washing your sheets than just throwing them in the washing machine and hoping for the best, but the process is pretty simple once you’ve caught on. Start out by examining your sheets and identifying any marks, stains or soiling. Treat these with a stain remover or spray of your choice – if you’re unsure, a good rule of thumb is to use a gentle product unless you are working with cotton, which can take a little more in the way of chemicals.
Step 2: Load the washing machine with your sheets – and just your sheets, to give them enough space to move around and get properly clean. Ensure they’re not tangled to prevent against further knotting during the wash cycle.
Step 3: Add your detergent of choice, and following the care instructions on your sheets’ label, configure your washing machine’s temperature settings. As we’ve learned, cotton sheets are the most durable, so you can wash them with warm or hot water to kill germs and bacteria. However, if you’re working with silk or linen, you’ll need to use cold water. Darker colours also need to be washed in lukewarm (not hot!) water to prevent them from fading.
Step 4: Set your washing machine to a cycle that’s long enough to give your sheets a thorough clean – some machines have a ‘bedding’ cycle, but if that’s not the case, you’ll likely want to wash them for between 1.5 and 2 hours.
How to dry your bedsheets
Once your sheets are dry, there are still a few steps to complete for the perfect clean… after all, the drying stage is just as important as the actual washing to ensure your sheets are spic and span, and that they stay that way.
Step 1: Remove your sheets from the washing machine and place them in the dryer. If you’re lucky enough to have a clothesline big enough to hang your bedsheets, and to live in a sunny climate, you might prefer to air dry them this way – just be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight if they are made of a delicate fabric or are a dark or bright colour.
If you’re going with the dryer route, load in your sheets, trying to untangle them from one another as best you can. The fewer pockets there are that are tough to get dry, the better.
Step 2: Following your sheets’ care instructions, set the drying temperature. If there are no instructions or you’re unsure, cooler is always best, as super-hot temperatures can cause shrinking, wrinkling and premature wear and tear on your sheets.
Step 3: If your dryer is small, add dryer balls before setting the machine to work. These will prevent wrinkling and promote even drying – they’re a must-know hack if you have problems with mussed sheets, or are working with an unruly fabric like linen.
Step 4: Set off the dryer for the requisite length of time – many newer machines will just run until they think your items are dry, but if you have to set a time, start with 1.5 to 2 hours and reassess, extending this time if necessary.
Our final tips for keeping your bedsheets clean
We’re not your mum, so ultimately, the only person who can keep your bedsheets clean is you. Sometimes this can feel like a hugely overwhelming task, but by simplifying and planning out the process, it’ll feel a little easier to tackle at regular intervals of one to two weeks. After all, the effort is worth not sleeping in close to 100 litres of your own sweat… right?
It’s time for you to go and wash your bedsheets (no excuses!), but before you do, we’ll leave you with a few last minute pieces of advice that’ll turn you into a cleaning goddess or god in no time.
- When you purchase new sheets, always wash them first. This will soften the fabric for a comfy night’s sleep, and prevent the colour from running if you ever wash them with other items.
- Always keep at least one, if not two or three, backup sets of sheets handy. They’ll serve you well when you can’t be bothered to wash your sheets, or if you accidentally spill something on your bed and need to go into emergency mode.
- If you have a washing machine that loads from the top, don’t wrap the sheets around the agitator (the tube in the middle that cycles your washing around the machine’s barrel) to avoid tearing or fraying your sheets.
- When in doubt, wash once weekly, on a cold or lukewarm cycle and with gentle detergents.
Now, it’s your turn! It’s time to strip the bed, load up the washing machine and, ultimately, revel in one of the nicest feelings in the world – a freshly made bed with deliciously clean sheets, and a bedroom that feels like home.
Then, when your bedsheets are feeling clean and comfy, why not spruce up the rest of the bedroom? Discover Brosa's full range of bedroom furniture and shop today with Australia-wide shipping and flexible payment options.