How Often Should You Really Wash Your Sheets? The right way to do it

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When you think about how much time you spend in your mattress, it really just makes sense for you to take a bit of time and make sure it’s up to your personal standards of cleanliness. Your skin and generally your body sloughs off all kinds of nasty things every night, and all sorts of different problems can arise when it comes to your bedclothes. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the most often asked questions about the time that you should wash your sheets for your bedding.

How Often Should You Wash Sheets

Bed sheets can accumulate so many things you can’t see, like dead skin cells, dust mites, germs — even fecal matter — and they should be washed regularly. “The longest you should wait before changing out your sheets is two weeks,” says Forte. “Weekly is even better.”

If you or anyone in your household has dust or pollen allergies, sweats excessively, or has an infectious illness (or if the family pet sleeps in the bed), you’ll want to consider laundering the sheets more often than once per week.

Now, avoid these common missteps to ensure you get a great night’s sleep on laundry day.

4 Common Sheet Washing Mistakes

How Often Should You Really Wash Your Sheets

1. Overloading your washer

It can be tempting to dump all of your family’s bedding in one load, but you’ll need to do a couple to get the job done right. “Sheets needs to circulate to get clean,” says Forte. “Today’s enormous washers can probably hold several sets, but you should never cram them in. And if your washer has an agitator in the middle, don’t wrap the sheets around it. This can cause them to wrinkle or tear. Instead, lay them in separately without wrapping them.”

2. Using the wrong setting

Choosing a heavy-duty cycle isn’t necessary (unless your sheets are a serious mess). “It’s fine to wash sheets on the normal, regular, or colors cycle; they’ll still get clean,” says Forte. “These options are gentler and shorter than heavy duty and (depending on the machine) will cool water gradually for less wrinkling.”

3. Drying them for too long

Bedding might take a little longer to dry than a regular load of clothes, but leaving sheets in the dryer longer “just in case” is what can cause them to shrink. “Over-drying is definitely a problem,” says Forte. “It’s best to tumble dry sheets on low heat for the shortest time possible (and yes, this could take some trial and error to get right). This minimizes shrinkage and helps reduce wrinkling too.”

4. Drying sheets with towels

Not all linens are created equally, so it’s best to keep very different loads separate to avoid over-drying issues. “Sheets dry faster than towels, so when the sheets are dry the towels will likely still be wet,” says Forte. If you’re aiming to combine loads, Forte says it’s probably okay to put some light cotton fabrics in with sheets, but towels are problematic.

How to Get Rid of Stains

How Often Should You Really Wash Your Sheets

Thus far, we’ve mostly been talking about regular washing — stuff that most sheets are going to need throughout their lives.

But of course, we all know that part of the “normal” life of bedding also involves stains.

It’s all too easy to get stains from just about any source on your bedsheets, and you’re most definitely going to want to get those out as quickly as possible.

How to Remove Odors

Tips on How to Get Blood Stains Out of Sheets

Stinkiness is another big problem people often face with their bedding.

Typically, the problem is body odor—the sweat from your skin dries on the bed, leaving a smell that won’t go away with normal wash loads.

Here’s what to do.

Let Them Soak

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to let your bedding soak in the sink.

Fill the sink with water, then add about one cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap.

Squish and scrub the sheets in your hands a bit to make sure your concoction fully saturates, then leave them there to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Run the Wash

After you’ve done all this, you’re now going to throw your sheets in the washing machine’s drum.

Don’t turn it on yet, but pour in a half cup of baking soda.

Start up the washer on the “heavy soil” setting (or whatever your washer’s equivalent is), and make it as hot as the sheets can stand.


Once a load of wash is done, take out your bedclothes and give them a good sniff.

If they still stink of BO, run them through the past few steps until they stop smelling awful.

Hang Bedsheets Out to Dry

Once the smell is finally gone, and you’re done with washing your sheets for the moment, take them out of the wash and stick them out on the clothesline to dry.

A clothesline is ideal here because the sun’s UV rays can help kill whatever bacteria remain on the sheets that might cause more of the unwanted odor.

Once they’re dry, take these puppies off the line and throw them back on your bed.

You’re good to go!


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