Bed hygiene 101: The importance of regularly changing your bedding

An astonishing amount of dead skin cells, hair, bacteria, and other microscopic entities accumulate in our beds every night. Hence, the importance of frequently changing sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers cannot be overstated.

bed dog
Claudia Manas

Why fresh bedding matters

It’s a common observation: after just a few days, our bed linen no longer feels as soft or smells as fresh as when first changed. This is due to thousands of microscopic particles that settle on the sheets during sleep, proliferating and subsequently sharing our resting space.

These invaders include dead skin, hair, makeup residues, hair products, dust, pollen, and bacteria. All these elements find their way into our beds, making our bedding a potential hotspot for infections. Additionally, consider the sweat and other bodily fluids; an average adult secretes about 100 liters of sweat in bed annually!

Time for a wash!

To minimize the risk of bacteria and fungi growth, there’s only one solution: change your sheets and pillowcases. Aim for once a week during summer (due to increased sweating) and at least once every two weeks during winter. This frequency is the time it takes for microbes and allergens to accumulate and thrive within the fabric fibers. If you sleep without clothing, consider changing sheets even more frequently since your skin is in direct contact with the fabric.

Whenever possible, wash your bedding at 60°C (140°F) using a suitable detergent, especially if you air-dry your linens. If you use a dryer, a washing temperature of 40°C (104°F) should suffice.

What about duvets and pillows?

Duvets and pillows are not exempt from this nightly "contamination." It’s advisable to wash them at least twice a year, again at 60°C if the material allows. Additionally, bedding items stored seasonally should be washed twice annually, both before storage and upon retrieval. This practice helps prevent mold growth and unsightly stains.

Always store your bedding in a clean, dry, and odor-free location. Consider using specialized storage bags available in stores to keep them pristine.