Since your bed is where you likely spend 7 to 9 hours every night, it’s extremely important to make sure it’s clean and comfortable. While it might be clear why your choice of sheets matters, it can be easy to overlook the significance of keeping those sheets clean.
As you lie in bed, your sweat, dead skin cells, and body oils transfer to your bedding. If you don’t regularly wash your sheets and blankets, these contaminants will build up, even if you don’t notice. Sleeping on dirty bedding can decrease your sleep quality and leave you waking up feeling tired and congested. Washing your sheets regularly can help prevent this.
The Importance of Clean Sheets
Though it may seem fine to go a few weeks without washing your sheets, not having a regular cleaning schedule can negatively impact your health. Frequently cleaning your bedding can help ensure that you’re getting healthy and hygienic rest.
An excessive buildup of sweat, body oils, dirt, and dead skin cells can lead to problems such as skin irritation, worsened allergy symptoms, or congestion. Additionally, these contaminants can become a food source for dust mites, which are microscopic pests that can cause serious negative reactions.
Dust mites are not visible to the naked eye, and though they don’t bite or burrow into skin, they can cause issues such as allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and skin rashes. Mild reactions may only lead to a runny nose or watery eyes, but severe or chronic reactions can be much more serious.
Even if you don’t see clear evidence of the effects of dirty sheets, sleeping on them can impede healthy rest and create a breeding ground for dust mites. Establishing a regular cleaning routine for your bedding can help you avoid the problems that come with dirty sheets.
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Washing your sheets at least once per week is ideal to remove the buildup of sweat, oil, dirt, or other contaminants. Though this is a good guideline for most, there are some instances where it may be better to wash your sheets more frequently.
- Pets: Sleeping with pets can cause extra buildup of things like dander and fur. To ensure cleanliness and prevent any irritation, sleepers who share their bed with a pet may want to wash their sheets more often.
- Food: Eating in bed can cause crumbs, grease, or other food bits to fall into your sheets. Even if you don’t notice a major mess, it may be more sanitary to wash your sheets more often if you regularly eat in bed.
- Climate: Sleeping in a warm climate may lead to significant sweating, and sweat can seep into your sheets. During the summer months or when sleeping in a warm room, washing your sheets more often can prevent a buildup of sweat.
- Allergies: Experiencing allergies or asthma often means that you are more sensitive to particles like dust and dirt. It may be useful to clean your sheets more frequently to prevent agitation.
- Skin Conditions: Suffering from eczema or acne could mean that your skin is more sensitive. Since your sheets touch your skin, you may find relief by making a special effort to keep your sheets clean.
How to Wash Sheets
Knowing how to wash your sheets properly is just as important as knowing how often to clean them. Though you should always read through the manufacturer’s care instructions when washing bedding, there are a few general steps you can follow to ensure your sheets are thoroughly cleaned:
- Read the product label and make sure you understand the care instructions.
- Machine wash the sheets with a gentle detergent. For sanitation purposes, it’s best to use the hottest water listed on the product label.
- In order to make sure there is no detergent residue left over in the fabric, you may want to rinse the sheets a second time. Sleepers with sensitive skin are likely to be the most impacted by detergent residue.
- Tumble dry on a low heat setting or hang the sheets to dry.
Since this process can take a few hours, investing in another set of sheets can make it easier to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. That way, all you need to do is change out the sheets and wash the dirty set when you do the rest of your laundry.