When AllYou.com asked readers how often they washed their sheets, the average answer was between 10 and 14 days (or about every two weeks). Some people went as long as a month without carting bedding to the laundry room, and other polls have noted that a few people think quarterly washing is all that bedding needs.
In reality, most experts recommend washing sheets and pillowcases around once a week to keep dirt, dust and other debris at bay. And sheets aren’t the only thing you need to clean. Our complete guide to bedding care lets you know how to keep everything — from mattress to duvet — clean and comfortable.
Keeping Your Mattress Clean
You can’t pop your mattress in the washer, so the best way to care for it is to keep it covered. A cover reduces the amount of dust that can get to your mattress and also keeps perspiration and other bodily fluids from seeping below over time. Choose a mattress that meets your comfort preferences: you can find quilted, feathered or single layer covers, and a thick mattress pad offers even more cushioning. Wash the cover each month to maintain it.
Most mattresses don’t need regular cleaning, but you might need to rotate and flip it. If your mattress has a pillow-top on one side, it’s made to hold up without flipping periodically, but it’s a good idea to rotate your mattress when you wash the cover. This keeps you from putting pressure on the same portion of the mattress for years, possibly creating dips in it. It can also be a good idea to use a handheld vacuum to clean the surface of your mattress whenever you wash the cover.
Caring for Pillows
A good quality pillow case — that you wash regularly — offers a surprising amount of protection for your pillow. Reduce buildup of dust and allergens in pillows even further by investing in protectors (special covers that go under your pillow case).
If you choose a high-quality, hypoallergenic pillow, you typically only have to wash it once a year. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s tag; some pillows must be dry cleaned and others can be put in your washer on a warm or cool gentle cycle with mild detergent. Run the rinse cycle once or two extra times to remove soap from the pillow and get as much moisture out with the spin cycle as you can before using a low tumble dry setting. Plan for a long drying time — some pillows can take up to eight hours to dry after a machine washing.
Washing Comforters and Blankets
Decorative comforters (those that don’t have a cover) and blankets you use daily should be washed monthly if you use them over a top sheet. If you don’t use a top sheet and cover yourself directly with a blanket or decorative comforter, then you should wash those items every week. This is one reason it’s a good idea to invest in good, comfortable sheets — it’s usually easier to process your sheet set in the laundry weekly than it is to handle a bulky blanket or comforter.
If you use a traditional comforter or duvet, which comes in its own cover, you only have to wash the cover weekly (or monthly if you couple it with a top sheet). The interior duvet or comforter rarely has to be washed unless you find it’s getting too dusty or you spill something that soaks through to the interior layer.
Weekly Washing of Bed Sheets and Pillow Cases
Wash sheets weekly or biweekly for the cleanest bedding. Most sheets and pillow cases can be washed in warm water on a regular cycle, but always check manufacturer’s labels beforehand, especially if your bedding has decorative trim of any type that may need to be protected in the wash. You can tumble dry most types of sheets.
Putting your sheets and pillowcases through weekly cleaning can cause wear and tear to appear quickly if you aren’t dealing with quality products. One way to keep your bed fresh and comfortable is to invest in luxury bamboo sheets, which are low maintenance and machine washable and feel silky and cool all night.
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