How often should you change your sheets? Here's what the experts say (2023)

It's difficult to know the answer to how often should you change your sheets, which is why we've asked the experts for their advice.

Let's be honest, washing your sheets isn't an enjoyable task, especially in the winter months. It's hard enough knowing how to dry clothes without a dryer (opens in new tab) when the weather's bad, and adding a huge fitted sheet into the mix doesn't help matters. But given we spend many hours each week sleeping on top of them, it's important to keep our sheets clean.

So, if you're a fan of Mrs Hinch cleaning tips (opens in new tab) and have been wondering how often you should clean this everyday item (opens in new tab), we've done all the research for you. As Georgia Metcalfe, founder of online bedroom retailerFrench Bedroom, says: "The fitted sheet is the most used and dirty part of a bed and can absorb things from our skin like oils and sweat, so it's important to wash yours regularly."

How often should you change your sheets?

The general consensus is that you should change your sheets once a week. Sleeping in the same sheets every night means they can rack up a serious collection of sweat, body oils, saliva, dirt from outside and more, so it's important you wash them frequently.

Alison Hughes, Interiors Director at Coast Road Furniture (opens in new tab), told us: "The frequency you should change your sheets depends partly on the time of year. As a general rule of thumb it’s best to change your sheets once a week for good bedroom hygiene, although if you are away two or three nights a week then washing them fortnightly should suffice. During particularly hot spells you may want to up this to a couple of times a week. Of course if you spill something or spot a stain on your sheets, you should wash them as soon as possible and use some form of stain-remover according to the sheet’s washing instructions."

How often should you change your sheets? Here's what the experts say (1)

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Georgia Metcalfe agrees, and advises changing your sheets every four to seven days. She adds: "If you suffer from allergies or allow pets to sleep on a bed it is more vital to do so, as they are likely to bring bugs and dirt from outside onto the linen. For those who tend to get very hot make sure to wash it around every four days."

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You should also change your sheets more regularly if you or someone else you live with is feeling ill, as it could be contagious.

Reasons to change your sheets

  • It's been a week or more since you last changed your sheets
  • You or someone else in the house has allergies
  • You let your pets sleep in the beds
  • You or someone in the house suffers with night sweats
  • You or someone you live with is feeling ill
  • Your sheets looked stained or smell bad
  • You often eat in bed
  • You sleep naked

What happens if you don't change your sheets?

If you don't change your sheets regularly, you are exposing yourself to dirt and bacteria that can cause or trigger skin conditions. It's even possible to pick up an infection if you have a small cut on your body and are sleeping in dirty sheets.

Joanna Ross, general manager of design at bedding brand Sheridan (opens in new tab), explains, "Not washing yoursheetsregularly exposes you to fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that is commonly found on your bedsheets. Other things like bodily secretions, sweat and skin cells can linger on bedding and whilst these may not make you sick, they can trigger eczema or cause dermatitis so it’s better to be on the safe side and wash your bed linen more frequently."

Other effects of not changing your bed sheets frequently enough include allergy symptoms, poor sleep quality and your sheets starting to smell.

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How to wash bed sheets

  1. Read the product label first, to check for any specific care instructions.
  2. Wash bedding at 60 degrees, as this is the recommended temperature for killing germs
  3. Use a gentle detergent - if you have sensitive skin you might want to rinse the sheets twice
  4. Air dry your sheets when possible, as this is less costly and will avoid wrinkling them

Alison told us: "Before putting your sheets in the wash make sure to check for stains, as these can be more difficult to get out after the wash. You should be able to use a regular stain remover, but always check the washing and care instructions on the sheets before doing so. Use the amount of detergent recommended on the packaging for the most effective wash.

It’s best to wash your bed sheets at the warmest recommended setting. This is especially important if they’re soiled or you’ve been ill, as a warm wash kills the bacteria. Many people wash their bed sheets along with towels but this can make the sheets wear faster as particularly rough towels can act like sandpaper, so it’s best to avoid this.

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When it comes to drying the sheets, using a tumble dryer is usually fine as long as it’s on a low setting, but check the care instructions prior. Drying the sheets outside can give them that lovely fresh scent, but make sure to turn them inside out on sunny days so the sunlight doesn’t fade the colour."

Georgia Metcalfe adds: "If your sheets are made of silk, use a non-biological detergent specifically for silk as biological detergents can damage the grains. This should also be done on a much lower heat, at 30°C."

How to keep sheets clean between washes

  • Shower before bed
  • Remove make up before you go to sleep
  • Avoid eating or drinking in bed
  • Don't allow pets on your bed
  • Make sure recently washed sheets are completely dry before storing away
  • Keep your clean sheets in a dry space with good airflow

Another great tip is to let your mattress air in the morning before making your bed. Dust mites thrive in warmer environments, so letting your mattress air allows it to cool down and decreases the number of dust mites it attracts.

How often should you wash other bedding?

1. Pillows

Pillowcases should be washed once a week along with sheets, although you may want to consider washing them more often if you have oily hair, sometimes sleep in make up or apply a heavy moisturiser before bed.

The pillows themselves should be washed roughly every three months. Lucy Ackroyd (opens in new tab), head of design at towel and bedding manufacturer Christy told us: "Similar to bedding, pillows contain a build-up of sweat and dead skin. Most good quality ones will be able to endure several washes without going lumpy, but be sure to check the care label, as synthetic and feather pillows can be washed at slightly different temperatures."

To wash your pillows, Lucy advises, "In the washing machine, along with regular detergent, add around 200ml of distilled vinegar, as this will help to disinfect your pillows. You can add your favourite essential oils to prevent your pillows from holding on to the smell of the vinegar."

She adds: "If you have memory foam pillows, avoid using a washing machine and instead wash them by hand. Submerge the pillow in warm water, add a capful of detergent and wash the pillow by evenly distributing the detergent while massaging all the dirt out."

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2. Duvets

Duvet covers should also be washed every week. Georgia Metcalfe says: "As duvet covers sit on top of the bed, dust and dirt will accumulate from day-to-day use. In colder spells, we clutch onto our covers to stay warm so if bacteria, dirt and grime are left on for long then it can cause them to smell, irritate skin and in some cases make you prone to illness."

Duvet inserts however should be cleaned every three months as they are protected by the cover. But while duvet covers do provide protection, thousands of dust mites can live on an insert after a few months.

You can machine was duvets, but getting a professional clean is far safer if it is made from down feathers. If cleaned at home, ensure to line dry it and use an anti-bacterial detergent.

Duvets can last as long as 15 to 20 years when used with a cover and washed or dry cleaned regularly, after this you should consider replacing them.

3. Blankets

Once every two weeks is a good guideline for washing your blankets. You don't need to wash them as frequently as your bedding if they spend less time in contact with your skin, but if you use them often it's still a good idea to give them a regular clean, as they will also build up bacteria and dust.

If you don't sleep with your blanket, and use it more for throwing over yourself when you're on the sofa watching TV, then you don't need to wash it so often - once a month should be fine.

But just like you should wash the bedding you use more frequently when you're sick, the same rule goes for your blankets.

How often should you change your sheets? Here's what the experts say (2)

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4. Mattresses

Alison Hughes says: "It's equally important to keep your mattress clean as well as your sheets. While mattress cleaning is an often-neglected task, doing so can expand the lifespan of the product. If you don’t clean it two times a year as recommended, the oils and dead skin your body produces can accumulate in the mattress, causing it to deteriorate faster than a clean one.

She explains, "This task is an important one when it comes to bedroom hygiene, but is especially crucial for those with dust allergies as the dusty debris can prevent you from getting good quality sleep."

It's recommended that you replace your mattress every eight years. This will ensure you continue to get a good night's sleep and prevent you from waking up feeling sore and stiff.

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How often does the average person change their sheets? ›

How often to change or wash sheets. According to a 2012 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 91 percent of people change their sheets every other week. Although this is a common rule of thumb, many experts recommend weekly washings.

How often should seniors change their sheets? ›

Every week. Sheets absorb the oil, sweat, and germs that come off of their bodies so you want to be able to get these off before they build up too much.

What happens if you don't change your bed sheets regularly? ›

To put it simply, dirt can cause breakouts. If you are sleeping on the same sheets and pillowcase for weeks on end then your skin will flare up. All of the oil from your face will transfer and mix with sweat as you sleep, and the dirt will seep back into your pores, resulting in spots and blackheads.

How often should you wash your sheets Here's what germ experts recommend? ›

Experts recommend washing or changing sheets once a week. In this post we cover how best to do it, tips, and why it's good advice to follow.

How often should you change your blanket? ›

"If you or others are using a blanket every day, you may want to wash it once a week or once every other week," says Dr. Engelmen. "But blankets that aren't coming into contact with the skin's oils and bacteria may only need a wash every month or so to eliminate things like dust and pet dander."

What gross things happen when you don't wash your sheets? ›

Dead skin cells, sweat, saliva, and more can turn your comfy bed into a petri dish for germs to grow. For instance, lab tests found that swabs from pillowcases unwashed for a week harbored 17,000 times more colonies of bacteria than samples taken from a toilet seat.

How often should a 65 year old woman shower? ›

At a minimum, bathing once or twice a week helps most seniors avoid skin breakdown and infections. Using warm washcloths to wipe armpits, groin, genitals, feet, and any skin folds also helps minimize body odor in between full baths.

How often should you wash your sheets if you shower before bed? ›

And lastly, if you shower every night before crawling into bed, you can probably get away with washing your sheets every other week. What is this? Washing your sheets once a week is the best way to keep your bedding fresh!

What are the best sheets for elderly? ›

Tips for Choosing Bed Sheets for Seniors

Look for bed sheets made of natural materials like cotton, linen, or bamboo that are also easy to clean. Pick out sheets that will absorb moisture and wick sweat away from the body so that you can stay comfortable, dry, and cool during the night.

Do hotels change the sheets after every stay? ›

Sheets are usually changed between guests, and sometimes state law requires it, but there's no guarantee that they will be. As for bedspreads, forget it. As countless hidden-camera investigative TV programs have confirmed, they aren't washed regularly.

How often should you change your pillows? ›

Most experts recommend replacing pillows every 1 to 2 years. Doing so helps to ensure that you're using pillows that are supportive, clean, and free of allergens. It is also important to care for the pillows you use to ensure their longevity. Generally, you'll be able to tell when it's time to replace your pillows.

Are hotels supposed to change sheets everyday? ›

However, although it used to be that many hotels would automatically change sheets and towels each day, this is no longer the case. Although most hotels, of course, still change linens when the occupancy of a room change, hotel linen change policies during an occupancy now vary between different hotels.

How often should you change your towel? ›

Dead skin cells, bacteria, and even sweat can accumulate quickly on your towels, so using a fresh one about every three days is a simple rule of thumb—for all kinds of towels. You can of course change them more often.

How often should you clean your bathroom? ›

Once a week at least.

Tetro says your bathroom is the ultimate bacteria host; E. coli can be found within six feet of the toilet and in the sink. To keep it at bay, disinfect the toilet and sink at least once weekly, and the bathtub every two weeks — more if you shower often.

How often should you wash your bed? ›

Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.

How often should pillows be washed? ›

If your pillow can be washed, it should be washed at least twice a year. If you eat in bed, have pets, or sweat a lot, you should wash pillows quarterly. Special pillows like body pillows or throw pillows should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months.

How often should you wash your hair? ›

When to wash. Rossi generally tells his patients they should wash their hair once or twice per week. But if you've had chemical treatments that can make your hair drier — such as bleach, perms or relaxers — you might want to wash it less than once weekly to avoid breaking or brittle hair or split ends, he said.

When should you throw away bed sheets? ›

If you use a sheet set every day of the year, you'll need to replace it after about two years. However, luxury cotton sheets, like percale and sateen, can offer another year or so of use. And with linen, you'll get three to five years — sometimes more.

What happens to your skin if you dont wash your sheets? ›

Bacteria on your linen can cause breakouts, whiteheads, skin inflammation, and intense itching. They can also cause skin problems like acne or eczema or worsen existing conditions. Bacteria, dust mites, bed bugs are all responsible for affecting the health of your family's skin.

What percentage of people wash their sheets? ›

44 percent of Americans wash their sheets once or twice a month. 11 percent wash their sheets once a quarter. 5 percent wash them only once or twice a year.

Is it gross to not use a washcloth? ›

The verdict: We recommend skipping the washcloth for face cleansing. The risk of spreading acne-causing bacteria and clogging pores with debris is high, and dry areas can form from daily friction. If you love using your washcloth for showers, then Dr. Schlessinger recommends reserving it for use on the body.

What is the leading cause of death over 70? ›

The major cause of death in the 55-64 age group is cancer followed by heart disease and injury. In the 75+ age group, the leading cause shifts to heart disease, and injury drops below Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cerebrovascular diseases, and pneumonia.

What happens if elderly don't shower? ›

While a mild case of body odor and a disheveled appearance can be a minor cause for concern, other seniors neglect their hygiene so much that it can jeopardize their overall health. For example, it can put them at risk of urinary tract infections or skin infections and put a damper on their mental health, as well.

Is 70 considered elderly? ›

Who is Defined as Elderly? Typically, the elderly has been defined as the chronological age of 65 or older. People from 65 to 74 years old are usually considered early elderly, while those over 75 years old are referred to as late elderly.

Is showering before bed better than showering in the morning? ›

A morning shower can help shake off sleep inertia and get you going, while an evening shower can be a relaxing part of a pre-bed routine,” says Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona.

Is it OK to use the same towel for a week? ›

The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels after three uses. If you shower every day, that means laundry almost twice a week. Regular laundry is sufficient to clean towels and remove any germs that are starting to accumulate.

Do you shower in the morning or before sleep which is more sanitary? ›

“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there's all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that's just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you've been sleeping in all night.”

What sheets does Oprah use? ›

Cozy Earth's Bamboo Sheet Set is an Oprah favorite — in fact, the brand has made her list of favorite things FOUR years in a row — and after trying them out for myself, it's safe to say these sheets have become my favorite, too.

What are the healthiest sheets to buy? ›

The Best Organic Sheets
  • Best Overall. Saatva Organic Percale Sheet Set. ...
  • Best Value. Casper Percale Sheets. ...
  • Best Luxury. Boll & Branch Signature Hemmed Sheets. ...
  • Most Comfortable. Sweet Zzz Organic Bamboo Sheets. ...
  • Best Eco-Friendly. Avocado Organic Cotton Sheets. ...
  • Best All-Season. Birch Organic Sheets. ...
  • Softest. ...
  • Best Range of Colors.
Feb 21, 2023

Is it OK to change bed sheets once a month? ›

Is it okay to change your bed sheets once a month? While your specific sheet changing habits might vary a little bit depending on your lifestyle, your body, and your preferences, most experts agree you should change your sheets every week or every two weeks.

Can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets? ›

You may be thinking, can you get bed bugs from not washing your sheets? No—bed bugs have absolutely nothing to do with cleanliness levels. However, washing your sheets regularly gives you the opportunity to look for and remove any possible bed bug infestations.

How often do you change sheets and towels? ›

Good Housekeeping says you should wash your sheets every two weeks. The general consensus is that this is a reasonable timeline, though there are some considerations and exceptions—if you've been sick, sheets should be changed as soon as you're feeling better.

How often does the average single male change their bedsheets? ›

Survey: Single Men Change Their Bed Sheets How Often?!

According to the research, which was conducted by U.K. mattress company Ergoflex, single men between the ages of 18 and 55 only change their bed sheets an average of four times…per year! Furthermore, the average single guy owns just one set of sheets.

How often should I wash my towel? ›

How often should I wash my bath towels? Dead skin cells, bacteria, and even sweat can accumulate quickly on your towels, so using a fresh one about every three days is a simple rule of thumb—for all kinds of towels.

What kills bed bugs instantly and permanently? ›

Pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides that act like pyrethrins. Both compounds are lethal to bed bugs and can flush bed bugs out of their hiding places and kill them.

What laundry detergent kills bed bugs? ›

The good news is that laundry detergent can kill bed bugs. The even better news is that the detergent you use doesn't need to be expensive or in any way unique. IN fact, good old fashioned washing up liquid can kill bed bugs. All you need is a generic laundry detergent and you are good to go.

Can bed bugs survive washing machine? ›

Technically, bed bugs can live through a cycle in the washing machine. The truth is that while washing your clothes or linens will kill most of the bed bugs, the heat of drying your items is what will ultimately exterminate any and all remaining bugs. As we mentioned above, bed bugs do not tolerate heat.

How do you disinfect bed sheets without washing them? ›

If you're not able to access a washer and dryer and want to sanitize your sheets, pillow cases, or blankets—especially if someone sick is using them—all you need is some steam. (Assuming the fabric doesn't have any major stains, since steaming can set-in the stain.)

Should you wash sheets after house sitting? ›

Try washing the bedding and towels you used, vacuuming or mopping the floor, and cleaning the shower. They will certainly appreciate anything that they won't have to do upon return. Taking an extra hour to give their space a good cleaning will help to show how good you take care of their space during their absence.

How often should you change your bed clothes? ›

Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.

How long should you keep the same sheets? ›

If you use a sheet set every day of the year, you'll need to replace it after about two years. However, luxury cotton sheets, like percale and sateen, can offer another year or so of use. And with linen, you'll get three to five years — sometimes more.

How often do couples wash their sheets? ›

According to the Mattress Advisor survey, married couples change their bedclothes about every 19.9 days whereas single people wait 37 days on average. And single men change them less often than single women. Mattress Advisor also found that people usually wait four to 11 days to wash sheets after sexual activity.


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