This Is How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Sheets, Experts Say
However often you change them, you could probably stand to do it more.
There are few greater pleasures than slipping under soft, clean sheets for a good night's sleep, but experts say the benefits of washing your bedding often go way beyond comfort. Unclean bedding is a breeding ground for dust mites, microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin and can multiply quickly if you don't change your sheets regularly. In fact, The Sleep Council estimates that "as much as a tenth of the weight of a pillow that has never been washed is made up of human skin scales, mould, dust mites (including dead dust mites) and their droppings," a truly harrowing thought. So, however often you wash your sheets, you may want to consider adding a few more suds sessions into the mix. Read on for expert opinions on your new laundry schedule, and for more tips for getting a great night's rest, check out these 10 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight — Guaranteed.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, you should be change your sheets at least once per week—especially if you're allergic to dust mites. As Mayo Clinic points out, "signs of dust mite allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing."
If you notice these symptoms, you'll definitely want to wash your sheets on a weekly basis, paying extra attention to the heat of your wash cycle. Water that's at least 140 degrees should kill both dust mites and germs.
Most people can get away with changing their sheets every other week—especially if you live in a cooler climate. That's because dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments. On top of this, you're less likely to sweat in your sleep if you live somewhere cool, making it less likely that your bedding will develop stains or odors in that timeframe.
The only downside? It's harder to remember to do something every other week than it is to complete a task as a matter of weekly routine. Be sure to set an alarm or circle your calendar so those weeks don't turn into months. And for more laundry tips, check out The Worst Thing You're Doing With Your Laundry Right Now, According to the CDC.
If you ask the American people, it's perfectly acceptable to change your sheets every three weeks to a month—in fact, one survey found that most Americans change their sheets an average of every 24 days. Survey respondents reported that they considered bedding "gross" only after 35 days, with men waiting an average of 10 days longer than women to wash their sheets. Single men, on average, waited up to 45 days to do their laundry.
For the record, doctors don't recommend waiting this long, as your bedding is likely to accumulate sweat, bacteria, dust mites, and more.
Doing laundry is probably the last thing you feel like doing when you're feeling under the weather, but you should change your sheets far more often when you're sick than when you're well.
Strip the bed every other day, including pillow cases, duvet covers, and any stuffed animals that may sleep in the bed with children, and wash everything with hot water. When you recover, make sure you wash your sheets one more time, to prevent reinfection or spreading germs to others in the household. Especially while the coronavirus pandemic is still at large, a more frequent wash schedule could work wonders for your health and hygiene. And for more on Coronavirus Laundry Tips You Need to Start Following.