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So, How Often to Wash Your Bed Sheets? And Why are Most of Us Doing It Wrong?

Spoiler: Experts say you should wash your sheets once per week (yes, really). But there's more to it than just that.

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How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets in 2024

Ah, the age-old question of how often we should be washing our sheets. I know for a fact that I’m not following whatever the “rule” actually is.  And while so many of us overlook it, I know it’s really important to maintain good hygiene and help ensure a good night’s sleep. So, let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of washing your sheets, and even some decent ways to wash them when it’s time.


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Why It's Important to Wash Our Bed Sheets

First off, let’s talk about why we should be washing our sheets in the first place. Our sheets are a breeding ground for bacteria, dead skin cells, and even dust mites. In fact, studies have shown that the average person sheds about 10 grams of skin cells per week, which can quickly accumulate on your sheets. NASTY!  Additionally, our bodies produce sweat and oils while we sleep, which can also get trapped in our sheets.  I know I’m a sweaty sleeper so I can only imagine how gross my sheets actually are.  I’m embarrassed, but owning it!

Outside of it just being plain old gross, all of this can lead to a less-than-pleasant sleeping experience, as well as potential health risks. For example, if you suffer from allergies, sleeping on dirty sheets can potentially make your symptoms worse, this can include things like itchy eyes, itchy skin and scalp, sneezing, etc.  And if you have sensitive skin, the buildup of bacteria and oils on your sheets can cause irritation and breakouts.  Sometimes silk sheets and pillowcases can help with breakouts and dry skin, but even these need to be washed.

So, How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets & Pillowcases Anyway?

So, how often should you be washing your sheets? The answer may surprise you, as I was actually pretty stunned myself.  Again, I’ve realized I must be gross. 

While I’m certainly not a cleaning or sleeping expert, I did research this a bunch and consulted with a variety of health, sleep, and cleaning experts to get this question answered once and for all. 

After consulting with dermatologist Alok Vij, MD from the Cleveland, lifestyle expert and TV personality Martha Stewart, cleaning expert Jackie Reeve from The Wirecutter, medical expert Alana Biggers, MD from Healthline, and the laundry experts at Better Homes & Gardens we learned that all are recommending to clean your sheets once per week.  Yes, really.  How many of us are actually doing that?!  Well,  I’m officially starting now. 

Some experts even recommend washing your sheets even more frequently if you have allergies or skin sensitivities. That may seem like a lot, but it’s important to remember that your sheets are in constant contact with your body for several hours every night, so when it’s allergy season or you’re feeling a bit under the weather, washing more than once a week can potentially help with that too.

Fun (ish) Ways to Remember to Wash Your Sheets

Of course, we all lead busy lives, and sometimes it can be tough to keep up with a weekly laundry schedule. But fear not, there are some tips and tricks you can use to make the process a little easier (and more fun!).

First, try to get into the habit of stripping your bed and washing your sheets every Sunday. Make it a part of your weekly routine, just like meal prep or grocery shopping. And don’t forget to throw in any pillowcases, blankets, or other bedding that may need washing as well.

If you find that you’re having trouble keeping up with a weekly washing schedule, consider investing in an extra set of sheets. This way, you can swap out your dirty sheets for fresh ones without having to worry about doing laundry right away.

Another fun way to make washing your sheets feel less like a chore is to experiment with different scents and fabric softeners. Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your wash cycle for a calming, soothing scent. Or, use a fabric softener with a refreshing citrus scent to invigorate your senses.

And finally, don’t forget to indulge in a little self-care while you’re at it. After all, nothing beats climbing into a freshly washed bed with soft, clean sheets. So, take some time to pamper yourself with a face mask, a cup of tea, or a good book while your sheets are in the wash.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, washing your sheets is an important part of maintaining good hygiene and ensuring a comfortable, restful sleep. Experts recommend washing your sheets at least once a week, but don’t be afraid to wash them more frequently if needed. And with a few tips and tricks, washing your sheets can actually be a fun and relaxing experience. So, strip those beds and get washing!  Speaking of which, here are some tips on how to wash your sheets and what to be mindful of when washing.

Tips & Tricks For Washing Your Sheets

Washing your bed sheets regularly is important for maintaining good hygiene and keeping them fresh and comfortable to sleep on. Here are some best practices for washing your bed sheets:

Read Each Label Carefully

Before washing your bed sheets, check the care label for any specific instructions on the best way to wash them. Some sheets may require special care or need to be washed in a certain way, especially if your washing silk sheets, organic cotton, flannel, etc.

Separate Colors

Separate your sheets by color before washing to prevent bleeding and color transfer.  If you’ve ever bled your pink sheets onto your white sheets, you know the pain.  

Use the Right Temperature

Use the appropriate water temperature for the type of sheets you have. Most cotton sheets can be washed in warm water, but some delicate fabrics may require cold water.  Be sure to check what your specific sheets say and stick to that.

Choose a Gentle Wash Cycle

Use a gentle cycle to avoid damaging your sheets. If your sheets are heavily soiled, you may need to use a longer cycle or feel free to soak them a bit beforehand.

Use a Mild Detergent

Use a mild detergent that’s free from harsh chemicals and fragrances. This will help to keep your sheets soft and comfortable, and avoid any skin irritation – especially those of us that have allergies and/or normally dry and itchy skin.

Avoid Fabric Softeners

Some fabric softeners can leave a residue on your sheets that can make them less absorbent and reduce their overall lifespan. Instead, try using vinegar or baking soda as a natural fabric softener.

Dry Your Sheets the Right Way

Dry your sheets on a low heat setting or hang them outside to air dry. Avoid high heat, as this can shrink and damage your sheets.

While everyone has their own tips and tricks, if you give these a whirl you can help to keep your bed sheets clean, fresh, and comfortable for a good night’s sleep for as long as possible!

If you liked this article (thanks!) check out some of the other sheet-related content we’ve created around here like the best sheets on sale today, these silk pillowcases are essential, cooling sheets perfect for hot sleepers, and Oprah’s favorite sheets are here!  Hopefully you’ll find something you’re into to help improve your sleep at night.