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How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

Woman sleeping on clean sheets

Our regular clients know we will make up the beds in your bedrooms, but the sheets have to be on them. We leave it up to the client to wash the bed linens. Often we’re asked, “How often should you change your sheets?” It’s a good question. Sheets are burdensome to clean, but left too long unwashed, they may play host to a plethora of unwanted critters and compounds that make for unpleasant bedfellows.

Experts recommend replacing your mattress every 8 years, not because the internal components are no longer functional or comfortable. Rather, the fibrous material of mattresses literally soaks up sweat and body fluids like oils and saliva. Mattresses also provide the perfect home to bed bugs and dust mites. Healthcare professionals have estimated that one adult will shed approximately one-fifth of an ounce of dead skin cells while sleeping in their mattresses in just one week of time.

If you do the math, 2 adult sleepers will produce approximately 165 ounces or more of dead skin cells over the recommended 8-year lifetime of a typical mattress. Paired with sweat, oils, spills, and whatever else follows you into bed, you have a hefty collection of allergens, bacteria, yeast, and maybe even mold that is likely to accumulate within your mattress. Not only can these particles exacerbate allergies and hinder immune response, but they can profoundly interfere with healthy sleep habits and actually promote sickness.

Because sheets and other bed linens are the primary layers between our bodies and mattresses, regular sheet washing can help to minimize this rather gross mattress buildup. Linen changes are recommended once every week,  in order to ensure that all critters and bacteria are eliminated. Be sure to wash your sheets in hot water and completely dry before folding or reusing. The hot water kills unwanted anything, as does the heat of the dryer. The dryer also makes the bed linen fibers softer, and thus more comfortable.

Comforters, blankets, bedspreads and quilts that are used on top of the bed can be washed yearly. They don’t come in nightly contact with your skin, so the primary particulate that needs washing away is dust.  To further prevent dust from settling onto your top blanketing, give these covers a nightly shake before climbing into bed, or a morning shake when you make the bed.

Mattress maintenance is beyond the scope of routine housekeeping. But bedding maintenance isn’t. Replace your mattress every 8 years if possible, and wash your bed sheets every week. Then the only surprises you’ll likely share your bed with are sweet dreams.


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