How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Is there really any better feeling than getting in warm, clean sheets for the night? Besides the comfort and nice feeling associated with washing your sheets, frequent laundry is a basic must for proper hygiene. But, how often should you wash your sheets anyway? We are dirtier than we think, and the last thing we need is to get sick from something so fixable.
- To maintain healthy living habits, you should try and wash your sheets at least once a week.
- Dirt and other bacteria start to accumulate over short periods of time, which can lead to allergies, asthma, and worse breakouts.
- Avoiding detergents with high amounts of chemicals and fake scents can significantly help with allergies and skin issues.
How often should you wash your sheets?
So, let's get into it. How often should you be washing your sheets and the rest of your bedding? The answer is once a week. This may be a shock to most people, considering the average person washes their sheets roughly every 24 days, according to a study conducted by Mattress Advisor.
Their findings indicated that there were many factors that determined when a person finally deemed their sheets “gross enough” to throw in the wash and clean. Some people based it on smell, visible dirt, or just when they simply had a long free day to do all of their laundry.
Washing your sheets may seem excessive, but it’s really necessary to avoid accumulating things like:
- Dead skin cells
- Body oils
- Dust mites
Living on dirty sheets can lead to a few various health issues. For example, dust mites love to prey on the millions of dead skin cells that come off when you sleep at night. Not washing away these dust mites can trigger severe allergies and asthma and cause certain skin problems to flare up.
To make matters even worse, if you live in a humid climate, leaving your bedding unwashed can lead to the growth of mold. Mold can also cause worse breakouts, increased risk of illnesses, and in rare cases even fungal infections if you sleep with your pets.
Negative impacts of not washing your sheets on skin health
If you’re struggling with acne or skin care issues, the solution may lie right where you sleep (no pun intended).
Sleeping on dirty sheets can damage your skin more than you think and cause issues like:
- Increased acne
Going a long time without washing your pillowcases can significantly contribute to increased acne breakouts. Every night that you lay on your pillow, the oils, bacteria, and dirt from your skin accumulate into the pillowcase and seep right back into your skin the next night. All of these components lead to acne breakouts.
You should try to switch your pillowcase out every other day to minimize these breakouts and keep the skin looking fresh. Also, opting for a cotton pillowcase can help minimize the transfer of oils and reduce breakouts since it’s a more breathable fabric.
- Flared eczema
Since sheets rub up against our skin when we sleep, it’s no surprise that when people with eczema-prone skin rub up against dirty sheets, then they may have a flare-up. The friction mixed with the bacteria on the sheets is a perfect recipe for skin irritation and eczema aggravation. Being vigilant about washing your sheets once a week can significantly reduce the risk of these uncomfortable and annoying flare-ups.
How to properly wash your sheets and bedding
Have no fear, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to wash that bedding like a pro.
First things first, set a recurring reminder on your calendar every week to remind you to wash your sheets ONCE a week.
This is a crucial step and is dependent on the individual. There are many kinds of detergents out there with their own little twist. However, people with sensitive skin are more prone to chemical irritation and breakouts from unnatural detergents and should opt for a more natural detergent with fewer scents and chemicals.
Even if you don’t struggle with sensitive skin, it never hurts to avoid fake smells and chemicals. The next step when choosing a detergent is to go for a liquid formula since it leaves less residue and has been shown to be more aggressive when removing dirt and bacteria.
Washing the bedding
When it comes to the decision of doing one versus two loads of laundry for bedding, it’s very important to examine your machine and really think about whether throwing everything in one wash will thoroughly clean.
If the sheets and pillowcases are the only things being washed that week, then one load is probably enough room to get the job done. If you’re washing your comforter/other blankets then maybe do them separately. Make sure to use the right amount of detergent based on the size of the load to avoid leftover residue that can irritate the skin.
Temperature and cycle
Bedding should always be set to a regular cycle so that it can be washed throughout. It’s also important to use the hottest temperature while washing sheets so that you have the best chance of killing most of the germs and dust mites.
Drying your bedding
This is where it can get complicated. If you have nice sheets, make sure to check the tag for instructions on how to properly dry them to avoid damage. If you aren’t too particular about your sheets, then throw them in the dryer on a medium heat setting. Also make sure to avoid putting dryer sheets in with the bedding as it can cause increased pulling and tear to the sheets. As soon as the dryer is done, quickly lay the sheets across the bed to prevent them from shrinking.
Written by Emma Carlson
- Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash