How Often You Should Actually Wash All Your Bedroom Items — from Sheets to Decorative Throw Pillows

published Feb 20, 2023
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That feeling of laying on clean sheets is one of the best in the world. But how often should you be enjoying those clean-sheet tuck-ins? Probably more often than you do. And what about all the other items — comforters, blankets, and pillows — that take up the space (aka your bed) where you spend hours of your life? Those need to be cleaned, too. 

People spend about one-third of their lives sleeping, which means two things: your bedding gets dirty from all the time spent in bed and it needs to be washed often enough to maintain a healthy sleep environment. Otherwise, built-up body oils, sweat, dust, and dust mite allergen can lead to undesirable effects like allergies and skin irritation. 

Of course, every situation is different and how often you should wash your bedding varies depending on details like whether you eat in bed, sleep with pets (or small children), have allergies, or sweat a lot while you’re sleeping. But there are some parameters to how often your bedding should be washed for a cleaner sleeping situation. 

Here’s the ultimate guide to how often you should actually wash all your bedroom items. 

Wash sheets once a week (at least)

The Sleep Foundation recommends washing sheets (this includes pillowcases) at least once a week, but more often if you have pets, particularly if you let them sleep in your bed. Even after just a few days, bed sheets can accumulate “significant amounts [of] dirt, dead skin cells, body oils, sweat, and dust mites, including their carcasses and fecal matter.” While the thought of dust mites and their detritus is off-putting enough, allergy sufferers must be especially diligent to keep their bedding clean to minimize symptoms. Note that if you use a duvet cover without a top sheet, it should be washed as often as you’d wash a top sheet — that is, weekly. 

Wash comforters once a month to a few times a year

How often you wash your comforter depends on whether you have a duvet cover on it. If you don’t have a duvet cover on your comforter, you’ll want to wash it about once a month (assuming you use a top sheet) because it’s more closely exposed to body oils, as well as dust. According to ​​Mulberrys Garment Care, if you do have a duvet cover on it, washing your comforter a few times a year is sufficient. Washing it every change of season is a good way to remember to clean it.

Wash duvet covers weekly or monthly

If you use your duvet cover as a “sheet,” then treat it like one and wash it weekly since it’s coming into direct contact with your body. If you have a top sheet between you and your duvet cover, wash the cover once a month or so.

Wash pillows twice a year

You should aim to wash pillows at least once to twice a year, but just like your sheets, you should consider washing them more often depending on your sleeping arrangements — and if you sweat in your sleep. Always check labels, but for most pillows, you can wash them by hand or in the washing machine. 

Wash decorative pillows every other month (at most)

If you lounge in bed as if it were another couch, your bed’s decorative pillows should be treated like other throw pillows in the home, which should ideally be washed every other month. This sounds like a lot, but it makes sense if they have close contact with your body. If your pillows have removable covers, you can wash those more often.

Wash extra blankets depending on how much you use them

If you snuggle up with a throw blanket nightly, toss it in the wash weekly. But if your blanket is merely decoration, once a month should be sufficient. Remember that dust is collecting on the surface, even if you aren’t using it, and keeping dust out of your sleeping zone makes for a better night’s rest.

February is Bedroom Month on Apartment Therapy! We’re sharing stories all month about bedrooms — from how to sleep in them, decorate them, make the most of small ones, and so much more. Head over here to see them all!