Have you been wondering how often you should change your bedsheets? In this article, we’ll talk about the main reasons for changing your bedsheets, how often you need to change them and the advice given by leading health specialists. Read on to find out more about how often you should change your bedsheets and why.
A survey carried out earlier in 2022 found that the public couldn’t seem to agree on the answer to the question “how often should you change your bedsheets?”. The survey involved 2,250 respondents, with almost half of single men admitting that they wait for up to four months a time before they change their sheets. 12% of these men said they only washed them when they remembered to do so, which could be even longer than four months.
Advice from an expert
Chartered psychologist, neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr Lindsay Browning told the BBC that waiting this long was “really not a good plan”. Dr Browning advised the public to change their sheets at least once a week or every fortnight at the very latest.
Data from bedding company Pizuna Linens found that single women changed their bedsheets much more regularly, with 62% of them cleaning them every fortnight. Couples said they changed their every three weeks.
What are the best reasons for changing our bedsheets?
Hygiene is a major reason why it’s so important to change our bedsheets, as is sweat. Sweat can penetrate our bedsheets, especially in the summer months. This can cause them to smell highly unpleasant and lead to them becoming clogged up.
Dead skin cells can also build up when we don’t wash our bedsheets for a considerable period of time, and mites can start to feed off these cells. This can cause both discomfort and skin rashes.
This means failing to wash your bedsheets on a regular basis can result in us sleeping with a highly undesirable mix of sweat, dead skin cells and mites. Bamboo bedding has natural anti-bacterial properties that make it a great choice to help prevent the build up of bacteria and other nasties in our sheets.
Can I wash my bedsheets less often during the winter months?
Dr Browning said people may get away with washing their bedsheets slightly less often in the winter months, but added that cleaning them once a week was “ideal”. She said people continued to get rid of dead skin cells in the winter even if they were sweating less.
According to Dr Browning, it’s particularly important to wash your sheets regularly in the summer months because of issues like hay fever and pollen, with the allergens also appearing in bed and causing congestion.
Why do we fail to wash our bedsheets?
The 2022 research found that forgetting was the main reason for people failing to wash their bedsheets, with 67% of people citing this as the main cause. 35% said they didn’t wash their bedsheets very regularly because they couldn’t be “bothered”, whilst 22% said they didn’t clean them because they didn’t have any other bedding available. 38% of respondents said they didn’t believe their bedding needed washing “more often” than it was.
Other reasons to wash your bedsheets regularly
Dr Browning said that a bedroom ideally needed to be a “sanctuary” for sleep as well as a “wonderful, pleasant place where we feel happy". She said people with insomnia could benefit from washing their sheets more often, saying "if your sheets are not washed, and they look dirty, they smell, it's adding to that sensation that your bed isn't somewhere that you want to be…if we get into bed and feel relaxed, comfy and happy, and that new bedding smell helps us to feel calm and happy."
Reasons to wash your bedsheets more regularly
There are several reasons why someone might consider washing their bedsheets more often than another person. Your sheets can harbour more unpleasant things than you might think.
Not only can they become home to thousands of dead skin cells and mites, but they can even attract faecal matter, especially if you sleep naked. People are also advised to wash their sheets more frequently if they have allergies or asthma and are sensitive to dust.
You should also think about washing them more regularly if you’ve got an infection or lesion that’s likely to make contact with your sheets.
Perhaps you sweat excessively at night? If so, this is another reason why you should increase the regularity with which you wash your sheets. Consider cleaning your sheets more if your pet sleeps in or on your bed, if you go to bed without taking a shower first or if you eat in bed.
What are the risk factors of infrequent sheet changing?
If you don’t wash your sheets regularly, you’re likely to be exposed to pollen, bacteria, fungi and animal dander that can regularly make their way onto them.
Although there’s no guarantee that these will make you ill, there’s always a chance that they will. If you have asthma or allergies, sleeping on dirty sheets can make the problem worse.
Even if you don’t have them, you could still find yourself sneezing and dealing with a stuffy nose when you wake up in the morning after sleeping with dirty sheets.
How can I keep my sheets cleaner between washes?
There are several steps that you can take if you want to keep your sheets clean for longer between washing sessions. These can include taking a shower before you get into bed at night, taking off make-up before you go to sleep and neglecting to take a nap after a sweaty workout session.
You can also avoid eating and drinking just before you get into bed and remove any dirt that might be on your feet before you retire for the night. Try to keep any pets off your sheets if possible.
How often should I wash my other bedding?
It’s advisable to wash other types of bedding like blankets and duvets every week or two. Feather and synthetic-filled pillows can be primary sources of fungi.
You should also replace your pillows every year or two, but you can reduce the amount of dust and bacteria that you’re dealing with by using a pillow protector.
A duvet can last for as long as 20 years when you use it with a cover and have it washed or dry-cleaned on a regular basis. If you don’t want to wash your bedsheets so regularly or don’t have much time available, you could consider investing in multiple sets so you’re not using your washing machine so much but can still change your sheets over every week or so.
Can changing my bedsheets regularly improve my mental health?
It’s said that more than 50% of people feel better emotionally after they have added clean bedding to their beds. We'd certainly agree with this. There's no better feeling than diving headfirst into crisp fresh sheets!
This can be particularly beneficial during the dark, cold winter months when many people start to feel their moods begin to dip. Many people claim that their state of mind improves either on the day they change their sheets or on the day after.
If you are looking for a little psychological boost and are ready to improve your mood, changing your bedsheets can be more effective than you may have realised.
Climbing into clean bed sheets can give us a powerful emotional and psychological boost. It can also work wonders for our health. If you haven’t been washing your bedsheets as often as experts recommend, you may start to note a big difference in your mental and physical health once you begin to clean them more regularly.
As we spend the equivalent of two days in bed each week on average, it stands to reason that we will shed millions of skin cells over this period. These dead skin cells don’t just disappear into thin air. They can attract scores of mites which can cause us to feel substantially under the weather.
You’re also likely to sweat during the night regardless of the time of year, especially if you have a particularly warm duvet. The more you sweat, the dirtier your sheets will become. Although dust mites themselves are harmless, their droppings are not, and these can leave your sheets particularly dirty. Failing to clean your sheets regularly can trigger an asthma attack, make problems like eczema worse and give you illnesses like colds.
If you’re not cleaning your sheets as often as experts recommend you to, you could be risking various avoidable illnesses. If you have been experiencing particularly unpleasant illnesses recently, failing to wash your sheets regularly could be a big reason for this. Why not start cleaning your bedding more regularly today and quickly start feeling the benefits?