From duvet covers to flat sheets, many people wash these necessary bedding items whenever the mood strikes, but is that enough? Unfortunately, you may be sleeping on more than just an 800-thread count fitted sheet set.
Our specialists at Beaver Maids have your guide to washing your bedsheets to help create a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
In 2012 the National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll and found that 91% of people change their sheets bi-weekly. Although an every 2-week washing regimen has become commonplace, we recommend weekly washings to eliminate harmful bacteria. Because of the general nature of your sheets, they tend to attract thousands of dead skin cells and odors. These factors warrant more frequent washing and changing of your bedding to keep you and your family healthy.
You should wash your sheets more often if you:
- Have allergies or asthma
- Have an infection or skin condition
- Sweat excessively at night
- Have pets that like to sleep in your bed
- Enjoy a midnight snack (or two) in bed
- Go to bed without showering (after vigorous activity)
When you don’t wash your sheets and other bedding regularly, you run the risk of exposure to harmful fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that can get trapped in the fibers of your sheets. It’s probably not the most pleasant thought to consider you’re lying in all that. Other things such as bodily secretions can also be found on your fabric, though they don’t necessarily pose a health risk. However, these fluids and organisms left on the surface of your bedding could trigger skin irritation, eczema flares (in people already living with the condition), and dermatitis.
What’s the Best Way to Wash Sheets?
Hot water is always the best way to wash and sanitize your sheets and other bedding. Although, more delicate fabrics and textures may require different cycles or water temperatures. For clarification, read the care label on your sheets and follow the instructions carefully to prevent ruining the material. Remember, the hotter the water, the best chance you have of removing more bacteria and allergens.
How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?
Like washing your sheets, you should change your sheets every week or two to avoid the buildup of bacteria. If sleeping in your own sweat, oils, and skin cells weren’t enough to make you want to wash your sheets a bit more often, a colony of dust mites could be taking up residence on your bed rent-free and partaking in the smorgasbord of dirt and dust.
Dust mites are unpleasant eight-legged creatures invisible to the naked eye, so it won’t do any good trying to locate them on your sheets. By chance, if you do happen to see some creepy crawlers in your bed, they may be bed bugs. A bed bug situation requires abatement from a pest control company that specializes in these types of insects.
The Best Ways to Keep Sheets Clean Longer
It’s always a good idea to follow through with our recommended one to two-week washing routine. However, if life gets in the way (as it’s prone to do sometimes), you can make some changes in your lifestyle to keep your sheets and bedding cleaner longer, so washing frequently isn’t as necessary.
Keep your sheets clean between washing and help preserve them by:
- Showering before you go to bed
- Avoiding naps after a sweaty gym session
- Removing makeup before you go to sleep
- Avoiding lotions, creams, or oils right before bed
- Not eating or drinking in bed
- Keeping your pets off your bedding
- Removing debris and dirt from your feet and socks before getting into bed
Avoiding extra accouterments such as fabric softeners with every wash can also help keep your sheets looking like new. To replace fabric softener, use a quarter-cup of baking soda or a half-cup of white vinegar in the wash during the rinse cycle. Your sheets will feel softer and look brighter without any irritating chemicals or overpowering smells.
It’s important to note, if you’re using bleach to launder your sheets, don’t mix in the white vinegar. This can create poisonous fumes that are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Also, avoid using vinegar in a front-load washer, as the acid in the vinegar can destroy the door seal.