How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding?

How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding?

The Queen of all things domestic, Martha Stewart, has a wake-up call for you. She says knowing how to clean, dry and store away your bedding properly is crucial to creating a soothing sleep haven. Not only is your bed the place where you start and end each day, but where you spend a third of your life.


Considering this, you just might want to learn a few bedding 101 essentials, like how often you should wash your sheets, comforter and pillow.


But before going into the “how’s,” let’s learn why it’s important to follow the recommended timetables relating to how often you should wash your bedding.

There’s always a very real chance that you could have some gross, unexpected things making its company felt in your bed. This can include dead skin flakes and cells, dust mites, body oils, viruses, bacteria, food crumbs, stains, and more.

Facts You’d Rather Not Know

You shed over 160 million skin cells in your bed each day, and as the American Chemical Society so lightly puts it, washing your bedding might seem a little more appealing to you if you know this.

Learning how to wash a comforter, pillow and sheets is not only important for creating a soothing sleep environment. It can minimize dead skin flake build-up, which also contributes to dust in your home.

Now, if sleeping with millions of dead skin flakes isn’t enough to get your washing machine running on full speed, consider all the sweat, dirt, and body oils that you are rubbing on your sheets each night — not to mention all the drool that ends up your pillowcases. Did you know that that the amount of saliva (i.e. drool) you produce each year is equivalent of more than 1,000 bottle of beer? These kinds of statistics might just turn your washer into your new BFF.

And when you slack off on washing your bedding frequently and allow bacteria to build up on your sheets and bedding, your washing machine has a tougher time removing them. You also risk spreading germs like fungi and cold viruses on your sheets, where they can take up residence for weeks.

After reading this, you’re asking yourself (or should be) how often should I wash my sheets?  That’s a good question, so let’s dive right into that.

How Frequent? It Depends on You

Different types of bedding are subject to various types of wear and tear, along with exposure to bacteria and such. Therefore, how often you wash each type typically depends on a few factors. Some of them include sleeping by yourself or with a partner (or child or pet), your recent health, whether or not you shower prior to bed, eating in bed, owning extra sets of bedding, suffering night sweats, and more.

Another important question: Do you care? Don’t snicker, some people just don’t. With that said, if you are among the ones who do care, below is a simple guide.

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Washing your sheets on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is the typically the standard norm. You increase your chances of suffering from asthma, allergies or other health problems if you don’t wash your sheets on a regular basis. If you’re sick or are sleeping with someone who is, washing your sheets daily is a smart idea, especially if you’re well and don’t want to come down with your partner’s illness.

Martha Stewart recommends washing sheets in warm water rather than hot. This avoids shrinking fibers that can cause your sheets to stop fitting on your bedding over time. That said, you can use oxygenated bleach on light and white colored sheets to kill bacteria.

She also advises washing colored sheets inside out to preserve the color. (When drying sheets, pillows, and comforters, ensure that they are completely dry. Dampness can lead to mold and mildew.)


Washing your pillow might be the furthest thing from your mind at any given moment, but it deserves some consideration. Generally, washing your pillows every few months is acceptable. However, knowing that a particular study showed that your pillow can actually attract around 16 species of fungi and dust mites that cause allergies, you might wish to wash it more. I know I would.

Down Comforter

Although you might have your comforter draped on your bed and use it every day, it doesn’t get exposed to as much of your body oils, scents or skin flakes as your sheets. Because of this, it’s fine to wash it a couple times a year, unless you spill something on it. In that case, it acquires an unwanted odor, making it musty. If that were to happen, simply wash as needed.


Any blankets or throws that you use frequently should be washed once a season. Wash your cotton and fleece materials separately on a gentle cycle in cold water. To prevent shrinking, make sure to use a no-heat setting on your dryer. If you want to fully prevent any shrinkage to your blankets, hang them outside to line dry on a warm and sunny day.

Wake-Up, Wash-Up Call

So, if you don’t want to sleep with all the disgusting things mentioned in this piece, follow the domestic queen’s advice and tips for cleaning your bedding.

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