It’s time to put on the laundry, but should you change your bedding weekly? ‘How often should you wash your bed sheets?’ is a matter of national debate. Some people say that it’s a weekly chore. While others say that you can strip down and wash those bed sheets every other week.
There’s also other bedding to think about when you’re cleaning your bedroom. What about the duvet and duvet cover? Should mattress toppers be put through a wash occasionally? And what about mattress protectors?
You should wash your bedding once a week
The general guideline is that those sheets and pillowcases should be stripped off and you should change your bedding at least once a week. Think about it. If you stay in a hotel for a week, they may strip your bed and put on fresh sheets every day or every couple of days. So if it’s good enough for the Ritz, it’s good enough for your home!
Some people ask if it’s okay to change bed sheets once a month. If you don’t sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch it to two or three weeks.
The time of year also has a bearing on how often you wash your bed sheets. During the summer, you may find that you sweat much more than in the winter months. If your sheets feel damp and ‘clammy’ after a night’s sleep, it’s well worth putting them through a wash and dry so that they’re fresh for the next night.
If you’re going through menopause and hot flushes or night sweats are part of your hormonal torment, popping fresh sheets on can make you feel better. Plus, it can help you get a better night’s sleep, too.
Some medical conditions require that your bed is as clean as it can be with no bacteria or dust to trigger allergies. If you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, or a respiratory condition like asthma, they may be aggravated by dust or bacteria. Therefore, you should wash your sheets as often as possible.
What happens if you don't change your bed sheets?
Your bed sheets fill up with bacteria, dead skin cells and dust pretty quickly. Not only can this trigger allergies, but it can also make the spread of infections easier. In an age where infections are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, hygiene is crucial. That includes your bed linen. Bacteria on pillowcases can cause acne flare-ups too.
If you don’t wash your bed sheets and pillowcases regularly, they can also become stained and unsightly. So not only is it hygienic to fire up the washing machine regularly. But it could also be more cost-effective as you don’t have to replace stained sheets.
How to choose the right bed sheets
- Get the right size – it’s a basic point, but if your bed sheets don’t fit, you could end up having a very uncomfortable night. Too small and they’ll untuck and bunch up. Too large and you could end up with lumpy edges and corners or wrinkles in the sheet.
- Get the best you can afford – the better the quality, the more comfortable they’ll be. Look for a high thread count (the number of threads per square inch). This will indicate how smooth the sheets will feel against your skin.
- Go for natural fibres – the ultimate has to be 100% Egyptian cotton. But new natural fibres like bamboo and other types of cotton will give you a soft touch and exceptional durability. They can also be washed on a hotter wash cycle to make sure you kill off any bacteria.
- If you have young children then buying several sets of easy-care sheets is a great idea, just in case of any little night-time accidents.
- Fitted sheets are quick and easy to put on and take off. But they’re not always of the same quality as traditional sheets. Decide whether you want convenience or comfort and durability.
Duvets should be washed twice a year
These days, it’s common to have ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ duvets so that you can swap between them. The changeover between the two is the perfect opportunity to pop your duvet in the washing machine before putting it away. However, if you don’t change duvets and use the same one all year round, it’s best to wash it every six months or so.
As duvets can be large, you may need to take them to a commercial laundry or laundrette. They may be too big to squeeze into your home washing machine.
When should you replace your duvet?
Usually, a good shake is all that’s needed to fluff up the fibres (or down if you’ve gone for a natural filling) in a duvet. However, if your duvet resolutely stays flat and is starting to look stained and lumpy, it’s time for a new one.
Good quality duvets are readily available these days, and you have plenty of choices on offer from some top names. Examples include the Silentnight Feather and Down 10.5-tog Duvet or the Sleepeezee Anti-Allergy 10.5 Tog Duvet.
You can even get dual tog duvets, like the Silentnight Yours & Mine Duvets - 4.5 & 7.5 Tog. Perfect for partners who prefer different thicknesses or for one partner who may suffer from night sweats.
Pillows need to be washed every three months
Pillows can also be put through the washing machine and should be washed every three months. This is to keep them clean and hygienic.
You can add an extra layer of protection with an additional pillow protector. This acts like a normal pillowcase but thicker and usually made from a quilted material. These can be popped in the wash every week when you wash your bed sheets and pillowcases as normal.
When should you change your pillows?
It’s recommended that you change your pillows every one or two years. This ensures that you have the most hygienic sleeping environment possible. Additionally, over time, pillows will lose their bounce.
If you’re waking up with aches in your neck and shoulders, your pillows may not be giving you the support you need. It's time to buy a new one.
Go for memory foam pillows like the Dormeo Octaspring True Evolution Plus Pillow if you prefer a firmer feel. Or the Sleepeezee Staycool Advanced Gel Pillow if you love that cool-against-your-cheek sensation.
Mattress protectors should be cleaned every two months
Mattress protectors are a great way to prolong the life of your mattress and protect the surface from stains or dirt. They can be easily popped into a 60° wash to kill off any bacteria. This will also help remove dust, dust mites, dead skin cells and general detritus every couple of months.
There’s no need to compromise on quality with mattress protectors, either. Premium options such as the Willow Luxury 100% Cotton Mattress Protector provide long-lasting and silky-soft protection at an affordable price.
When should you replace your mattress protector?
Mattress protectors can last for a couple of years or more if you look after them properly. Once they get to a point where that spilt drink stain simply won’t wash out anymore. Or the seams start to go on the edges, it’s time to replace it.
As mattress protectors are generally very affordable, it’s not expensive to replace your protector regularly. It also gives you a little extra peace of mind that your sleeping environment is clean, bug-free and hygienic.
If you want the best in bedding, check out the pillows, duvets and mattress protectors available at MattressNextDay.
For information about when to change your mattress, read our how often should you change your mattress guide.