How Often Should You Change Sheets on Your Bed?
If you ask 10 people how often they change the sheets on their bed, you will probably get at least 10 different answers. Some of the answers will come with an explanation of why they change their sheets so often, or why they do not change them very often.
That's because everybody does not have the same schedule for changing their sheets. Some people follow a tradition and change their bed linen based on how often their parents changed theirs.
Since we spend at least a third of our lives in bed, how often should we change our sheets so we can always sleep on clean ones?
The Short Answer
Most people will give the short answer and say, "It depends." Then they will follow up with an explanation that gives more information.
Some experts recommend washing and changing your bed linens once a week. Others suggest washing and changing them once every two weeks if you don’t sleep in your bed every night. If the following conditions exist, then you should consider changing your sheets at least once every week:
- You have dust or pollen allergies.
- You or your partner sweat a lot.
- You or your partner have been ill.
- A pet sleeps in your bed with you.
What Happens When You Don't Change Your Sheets
If you knew exactly what happens when you don’t change your sheets regularly, you will more than likely begin changing them more often.
Your Own Dirt
When you don't change your sheets regularly, you will sleep in your own dirt, sweat, body oils, and a million skin cells. If you sleep with someone, you also sleep in his or her dirt, sweat, body oils, and skin cells.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), people shed between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells every night. Double that number in your bed if you sleep with a partner or with your dog or cat.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you are sleeping with a colony of eight-legged microscopic dust mites that you can't see. Dust mites don’t bite, but they feast on your dead skin cells.
Dust mites are allergens that can cause asthma, coughing, eczema, hay fever, and many other symptoms. A mattress could have an average of 100,000 to 10 million dust mites eating your dead skin cells and then using your bed as their toilet. You can't see dust mites though. If you do see small creatures, they are bedbugs.
Besides dust mites and bed bugs sleeping with you, there are plenty of other germs as well. Knowing this should make you want to change your sheets at least once a week and more often if you have been sick.
Note: You should consider changing your sheets more often if you sleep in the nude, because your naked body comes in direct contact with your sheets and will make you more susceptible to dust mites and other germs.
What About Blankets, Comforters, and Pillows?
You don't have to wash your blankets and comforters as often as you wash your sheets, because you don't lie directly on them. You can get away with washing them once every season. You can put them in a hot dryer for about 15 minutes to get rid of dust mites and other crawlers between washings.
If you have been using the same pillow for two years, the weight of it is probably because it is full of dead dust mites and their fecal matter. Therefore, it's better to throw the pillow away and buy a new one.
Conclusion of the Matter
While it is a person's personal preference, sleep advisors say people sleep much better on clean sheets. They conclude that sheets should be washed and changed at least once a week and more often if you have been sick.
If you have a very busy schedule and cannot get around to washing your sheets once a week, keep a clean set in your linen closet, so you can change the sheets even if you don't get around to washing them right away.
Be on the safe side and try to change your bed linens once a week or once every two weeks at the latest.