How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding Sheets

Posted by Rachel Marshall - Brand Manager on 1st Jan 2020

How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding Sheets

It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another. But, how often should we actually change and wash our bedding sheets?

We all crave a really good night’s sleep, and at Bensons for Beds, we thought we’d give you some top tips for a comfy, restful night. We can’t promise you’ll never yawn at work again, but we’ll give you the best chance for a successful night in bed. Read on to unveil how often we’d recommend washing and changing your bedding sheets.

a pile of bed sheets sat upon a bed

Why should we wash our bedding sheets often?

Our Sleep Expert, Dr Sophie Bostock advises that "The most recent sleep expert consensus guidance recommends a minimum of 7 hours" (1). This means natural body secretions such as sweat, body oil, dirt, and dead skin cells have plenty of time to build up on your bed sheets. What’s more, when we factor in any additional hours spent in bed reading, watching tv or scrolling through various social media platforms, the total number of hours we spend in our beds skyrockets.

Plus, things like sex, wearing makeup and skin products overnight, and letting the family pet sleep in your bed all speed up the process of how quickly dirt accumulates. Hence, washing your bedding often is essential for good sleep hygiene. We will give you the tools you need to succeed.

Washing Your Bedding Sheets

Before putting your bedding in the washing machine, you should always check the individual product label for their care instructions. This helps you identify the manufacturer’s recommendations for washing your sheets.

The care instructions tell you whether the sheets are suitable for machine-washing, or if they’ll need to be hand washed. They will also let you know what water temperature is most appropriate too.

Next, again prior to putting your bedding in the washing machine, ball each item up. This will help to get rid of any excess, unwanted dirt which will protect your bedding and your washing machine.

How often should you wash your bedding sheets?

We recommend washing your bedding sheets at least once a week providing they are used on a daily basis.

It’s also handy to know that sheets may ‘pill’ (i.e. get uncomfortable itchy bits) if they share the washing machine with clothes. This will result in you doing more scratching and less sleeping, so it’s advisable to wash your bedding separately from your regular laundry loads.

You should also be aware that the recommended washing frequency does vary depending on your personal circumstances. Several factors should be considered:

  • Sharing your bed: If you share your bed with a pet, it’s recommended to wash your bedding every three to four days. Similarly, if you have a child that likes to creep into your bed in the dead of night, more frequent bedding changes than once a week would be advisable.
  • People with allergies: If you or your partner suffers with allergies such as hay fever or dust allergies, you will need to wash your bedding more frequently than once a week too.
  • People who suffer from night sweats: If you or a bed companion suffer from night sweats, body secretions will build up far more quickly on your sheets. In cases like this, bedding needs to be washed more regularly too.

How to Wash Your Bedding Sheets

Washing your bedding in a washing machine is usually pretty easy providing you take note of the manufacturer’s care instructions (check the label for these). As a standard practice, we’d recommend washing your bedding sheets at the hottest temperature setting that the label recommends. This will vary depending on the type of material of your sheets.

  1. Start by reading the manufacturer-issued care instructions (you’ll find these on the label or contained on the bedding’s packaging if you haven’t already thrown these out).
  2. Pre-treat any stains prior to popping the bedding in the washing machine.
  3. Wash your bedding separately from other items. And remember, if your washing machine is too full, your washing won’t come out as clean as you’d like! Plus, it almost goes without saying but, remember to wash your lights and darks separately to prevent colours from running.
  4. Choose the right settings for your bedding sheets on the washing machine. Set it to the correct temperature setting according to the manufacturer’s care instructions.
  5. Add the washing powder and fabric softener or pod of preference and press the button to set the wash cycle in motion.
  6. Once your wash cycle has finished, transfer the bedding to your dryer, radiators or maiden or, hang it outside swiftly. This will prevent that horrific odour that lingers around laundry that has taken too long to dry.

How to Remove Stains From Your Bedding Sheets

Treatment for stains needs to be done ahead of putting your bedding in the washing machine. This is because if you attempt to do this post-washing machine, it’s likely your stain will have already been set in the fabric and thus removal will be much trickier, if possible at all.

Generally, getting stains out of your bedding will involve treating the stained area with a cleaning solution, be it a homemade natural one or a specialist product.

Regularly cleaning your bedding can help reduce the risks of bed bugs

Just as it’s important to clean your mattress regularly to minimise the risks of bed bugs, keeping on top of your bed sheet hygiene is just as important (1). Washing your bed sheets in line with our at-least-once-a-week recommendation will kill any bed bugs hiding within them (2).

While having dirty bedding doesn’t automatically mean you can expect a bed bugs infestation, it could increase the risks of them thriving (3). If you’re worried about a bed bug infestation, find out more in our comprehensive guide here.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bedding Sheets: Other Useful Info

Mattress Matters

A mattress protector is always worth the investment. Without one, dust and sweat is free to gather on your mattress (not the loveliest mental image, we admit!). That’s not all though – turn your mattress regularly too. This will help improve your mattress's life-span and ensure it wears more evenly.

Remember to ventilate your room if it’s getting too dusty too. Cleaner air and a cleaner mattress are the key to a snug snooze.

Another product that we’re particularly proud of here at Bensons For Beds is our BedGuard™ package. This comes complete with the BedGuard™ Bed Care Kit which includes:

  • 1 x Fabric Fresh 250ml
  • 1 x Mattress & Pillow Refresher 250ml
  • 1 x Dust Mite Inhibitor 250ml
  • 1 x Spotting Solution 100ml
  • 1 x Micro fibre Cloth

Perfect for prolonging the life of your mattress and giving it that just-washed feeling each and every time you climb into bed. This is now available both through our online store and in the Bensons for Beds store near you.

Pillow Talk

Keeping pillows fluffy isn’t yet a British sport, but our preferred method owes a debt to one. To revitalise your flat pillows, put two (stain-free) tennis balls and a fabric softener sheet in the dryer – medium heat, and they’ll be comfy enough to serve you well. As with changing and washing your bedding, changing and washing your pillow cases frequently is essential. This process will help to keep your face looking and feeling clean and blemish free. Game, set and match.

What About Washing Your Blankets?

Keeping your blanket sumptuously soft and clean is nice and simple. Machine wash it according to your manufacturer’s instructions, machine dry for 10 minutes until your blanket is merely damp, then dry it outside (hopefully the weather’s not adhering to typical British forecast!). This ensures it avoids any damage. And, if you don’t have a drying machine, you can achieve a continued soft feel by washing yours on a dry and blustery day and then transferring it to your line as soon as the washing cycle is over.


How often should I wash my bed sheets?

It is generally recommended to wash your bed sheets at least once a week. This will help you to maintain cleanliness and proper bed hygiene by reducing the build-up of sweat, oils, dirt, and allergens.

Can I wash my sheets less frequently if I shower before bed?

Showering before bed can help to keep your bed sheets cleaner for longer. But, even if you shower every night before bed, it’s still advisable to wash your sheets once a week as showering doesn't stop you from sweating during the night. So to keep them feeling fresh and free of allergens and bacteria, stick to that once a week routine.

Does the type of fabric affect how often I should wash my sheets?

Yes, different fabrics may require different care. For example, silk sheets may need gentler wash setting and less frequent washing, while cotton and polyester blends can usually handle frequent washing. If in doubt, always double check the care instructions on the label of your bed sheets.

Should I wash my pillowcases more frequently than my sheets?

Actually, yes! In an ideal world, pillowcases should be washed every three to four days or so. The reason for this is that they come into direct contact with your face, hair, and skin oils. And this means that those oils are likely to accumulate on your pillowcase more quickly.

Is it necessary to wash new sheets before using them?

Yes! It's usually advised by the manufacturer to wash your new bed sheets before using them. This is to make sure that any chemicals, dyes, or residues from the manufacturing process are properly removed, thus ensuring that they are clean and safe for you to start using.

Can I just air out my sheets instead of washing them frequently?

Airing out your bed sheets can help to reduce any lingering odours and freshens them up a bit. But that doesn’t change the need for regular washing. Washing your sheets gets rid of sweat, oils, dirt, and allergens. Something that airing them out can't do.

Washing Your Bedding Sheets: Our Conclusion

When it comes to washing your bedding sheets, it's best to stick to a once-a-week routine at a minimum. This helps to prevent the build up of grim and grime in your bed! And remember to wash your duvet and pillows regularly too - though always follow the manufacturer-issued directions for these sleep essentials too!

Taking good care of your bedding helps to care for your mattress and promotes a healthier, happier sleep environment all-round. Meaning you get to enjoy a better night's sleep more often. Win-win!


authors profile
Rachel Marshall
Brand Manager
Rachel has worked at Bensons for Beds for 4 years and has almost 20 year’s experience in marketing. In her role at Bensons, Rachel looks after all things brand including PR, brand communications, brand identity, brand partnerships and new product launches.
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