The human body is an amazing thing and can do some pretty awesome stuff, but like most good things, there are also downsides. Let’s face it; there is an equal amount of ugly (and sometimes downright gross) for all the beauty and awesomeness of being human. Did you know we lose about 40,000 skin cells (about 1.5grams) and produce about 20 grams of body oil every day? Now think about how a third of that happens while you’re sleeping. This is when you have to ask yourself, how often do you wash your sheets? I would guess, not nearly as much as you should. Oh yeah, and that’s not to mention any dust, dirt, pollen, and animal dander that might be found in your sheets too.
So, how often should you wash your sheets?
In a shockingly short time, our sheets and pillows become a parasite paradise. With an endless supply of food and readily available housing. As such, we must make a real effort to keep these unwanted squatters out but the benefits far outway the cost.
The National Sleep Foundation in 2012 said that their poll revealed that 91% of people change their sheets once a week but admit to not actually washing them. In 2017 a survey conducted by Coyuchi found that 44 % of the surveyed washed their sheets once or twice a month. 11% changed it once per season, and a disturbing amount of 5% only change their sheets once a year.
So how often should you wash your sheets? The answer varies from person to person based on the body they have. Some of us sweat a lot at night, others are allergic to dust mites or have susceptible and easily irritated skin, but the general rule of thumb is to wash your bedding once every two weeks. Still, health professionals suggest you move it up to once a week if you have any of the aforementioned conditions. Do not forget your pillowcases. However, if you are sick, it is recommended that you do not change the sheet until you feel better (unless other fluids are all over it). You will need to wash them at the highest temperature and ensure they are adequately sanitized. 
Should I wash my bedding more often?
If you answered yes to any of the following questions, you probably should wash your bedding more often.
- Are you sensitive to dust or have a pre-existing condition like asthma?
- Do you have an affection or lesions that make contact with your bedding?
- Do you sweat more than usual during the night?
- Are your pets sleeping in your bed?
- Do you eat in bed?
- Go to bed without showering?
- Do you sleep naked?
Washing your sheets regularly can help prevent exposure to fungi, bacteria, and animal dander. None of these will necessarily make you sick, but theoretically, they can. It can also trigger eczema or contact dermatitis.
Best washing practice
Make sure to read the instructions on the label; they are straightforward and there for a reason. Hot water is best for proper sanitation. Ironing your sheets after washing is also extremely helpful. Keeping your sheets clean can also help prevent any unwanted friends from living in your bed.
Other best practices include
- Clean your body before bed
- Remove makeup before bed.
- Stay away from scented lotions and creams as they may block your pores and attract mosquitoes.
- Stop eating in bed
- Keep your pets out of your bed.
Do not forget your other bedding, blankets, and duvets should be washed every two weeks, and the mattress should be aired out once a month.
A little effort goes a long way, and the benefits are worth it. It is also recommended that you have multiple bedspreads that will allow you to change them out more often. Remember to use the highest heat, dry them properly, and fold and pack away in a cool, dry place.
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- “How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?” Health Line. Adrienne Santos-Longhurst. June 24, 2019.