How and how often to wash your bedding

John Kopischke
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How to wash sheets

It used to be that sheets were either solid colors or white. Now, they come in just about every color, pattern, and print imaginable. They are meant to be washed less frequently than other linens, and some say you can get away with only washing them every two months.

Experts recommend washing them every four to six weeks to keep them smelling fresh and clean. Sheets that are changed often tend to develop fewer wrinkles, too, because the oils on your skin don’t have enough time to set in throughout the fabric. Remember that this also applies to pillows. Your pillows have a tendency to get more normal wear than your sheets, so it’s highly recommended to wash them at least every month. During winter months, you'll want to change them more frequently.

How often to wash your sheets

If you can smell them, then they need to be washed. While there is a chance that you can clean your sheets, pillows, and blankets with bleach and leave them in the sun and get rid of some of the odor, some mattress toppers, etc., will need to be replaced.

If you’re in the habit of checking your sheets after you change them, then you know when it’s time to change your bedding. On the other hand, if you’re like most people, you don’t change them often enough. There’s no doubt that the time to change your bedding is when you can’t stand the way they smell.

Remove anything washable immediately and start the wash cycle. Put the washable items in a mesh laundry bag so they won’t get tangled in the washing machine. If you want the load to move a little faster, distribute the weight by throwing in a few towels or shoes.

Here are steps you may want to take to clean your linens:

Open all the windows in the house.

Vacuum thoroughly. Vacuum under the bed.

Wash bedding in hot water.

Wash pillows.

Wash mattress topper and dust covers.

How to wash pillowcases

Sheets, and blankets.

After every few uses, especially if the items are in contact with your face, body, or are used in an environment germ-heavy (e.g. kids’ rooms), you should wash your sheets and pillowcases. Same with blankets and other soft beddings.

The easiest way to clean them deep to wash them once every couple of weeks in hot water with some standard laundry detergents and bleach.

Next time you wash your bedding, add a general laundry cleaner or disinfectant to the load.

Put some of the detergent in with your bedding before putting the items into the washing machine according to their instructions. After the items are in the machine, add your usual detergent to the wash load.

Wash the items of clothing as you normally would.

How often to wash your pillowcases

Your pillow is home to millions of bacteria and other micro-organisms. And yes, the cleanest of people can still have this disgusting influx of germs coming from their pillows.

Luckily, you can easily eliminate most of these dangerous substances with a simple wash in the washing machine.

Dr. Oz recommends washing your pillowcase every day. This is because, for all people, dead skin cells, hair follicles, and oils are shed on a daily basis. These then mix with the thousands of other particles of dirt on the pillowcase. This presents a health danger because those particles can travel to our eyes, nose, and mouth. There they can cause discomfort and disease, like conjunctivitis and rhinitis.

By regularly washing your pillowcase, you will reduce the amount of bacteria-inducing substances and therefore help to prevent or reduce your chances of getting these types of health problems.

If you have allergies, you may be washing your pillow cases as frequently as every day. If you have asthma, you may be washing them about three times a week.

Follow the advice of your doctor to ascertain how often you should wash your pillowcases based on your specific health needs.

How to wash a duvet

The first thing you should do is try to remove as much dust as possible by shaking it. Then, unzip the duvet cover and wash it in the washing machine with detergent at 40 degrees using a very gentle cycle.

Try as much as possible to use a liquid detergent. That way you are sure to get the detergent between the threads of the cloth and reduce the chances of your duvet losing its fluffiness.

The second part to this process is to dry your duvet. The best way to do this is to use the air setting on your tumble dryer. This helps to maintain the fluffiness of the duvet, and that helps to keep you nice and cosy on the cold nights.

If the weather is not great, it is a good idea to briefly hang it outside to let it get a bit more air.

How often to wash your duvet

There’s very little need to wash your duvet cover more than once a year. You also shouldn’t wash it in hot water as it could damage the filling (but if you need to clean off heavy stains, don’t worry about it, just use the hottest water that’s safe for your duvet cover).

The rule of thumb is to wash it when it gets dirty.

Now, when does it get dirty?

There’s no specific rule, but there are some indications that you could consider as the first signs of an unwashed duvet cover:

  • it’s starting to show wrinkles that it didn’t have before
  • a foul odor is developing
  • the colors look duller than they used to be

Also, if your duvet cover gets stained, the chances are good that it will turn duller too. If it does, it’s a good time to wash it.

How to wash a comforter

If you are unsure, always use a gentle cycle for your bedding. But don’t be afraid to push the temperature up every once in a while as this may also help to kill dust mites that are commonly found in bedding.

Machine wash the non-zippered sides of the comforter inside-out, as these seams are most likely to develop a snag or are more likely to be heavily soiled. So, you want to be sure to keep a good legible tag and a label that can easily be read.

That way you are able to read the proper instructions for washing the comforter. It’s a good idea to write this information on the care tags so that you don’t have to dig through your drawers to find it.

It’s recommended to use detergents that say they prevent the growth of mold or mildew as part of the ingredients.

Wash your comforter in a large washing machine that has an agitator, even if it’s a gentle cycle. This will help to keep the filling from packing down and help it to regain a fluffier texture.

Squeeze the water out of the comforter thoroughly. This will prevent it from soaking up moisture and mildew during storage.

How often to wash your comforter

A new comforter should be clean from the start so washing it should be the first step in taking care of it. Your comforter will collect dust and debris over time, however, and regular machine-washings with mild detergent will keep it fresh and clean.

Your blanket should be washed once a week to keep it dust-free. Ideally, use the washing machine with cold water and a mild detergent.

If your comforter is already quite dirty, it is better to wash it several times before washing it on the regular schedule.

Use very hot water for the initial washing, then switch to the warm cycle to dry the blanket.

You can use a heavy-duty laundry detergent, but make sure to use milder detergents in subsequent washes. Milk-based detergents are generally mild and have additional cleaning properties but you can also try white vinegar.

Vinegar is a mild fabric softener and it can also be used to maintain the softness in your linen. If your comforter is pill, a mixture of vinegar and water, applied with a spray bottle, can help remove the pills.

Another recommendation is to use isopropyl alcohol and vinegar. This solution will disinfect your comforter and remove any odors that the washer might have left.

How to wash a weighted blanket

One of the best tips is to wash it as little as possible. If you have had yours for a while and it doesn’t have any stains, chances are its’ just fine to keep using your blanket. It is best to not use fabric softener when washing blankets. Also, never use bleach. Too much bleach can break down the fibers, making them less effective and increasing your risk of sudden loss of weight in case of an emergency.

When it is time to wash your blanket, use warm gentle/delicate cycle and wash them by themselves, with no other items.

Hang them to dry, or better yet, place them in the dryer on low or no heat setting.

Your weighted blanket will likely become smaller after each washing, but it will still be effective in acupressure and deep touch pressure.

How often to wash your weighted blanket

Your weighted blanket absorbs your body heat and releases it back to you, increasing your body temperature. This can be very beneficial for central sleep apnea sufferers or anyone who experiences cold feet or other forms of poor sleep.

A weighted blanket can be washed under any standard temperature and is safe to use in the dryer. We recommend washing the blanket on a regular basis, no more than once every month or two. More frequent washing can result in wear and tear that makes the blanket less effective for you.

Some people with CP/ME experience have reported feeling uncomfortable after washing their weighted blankets. Others have reported that the pressure is decreased and it no longer provides them with pain relief.

We recommend washing the blanket in cold water and never using the dryer. Place one pillow case inside another and zip-tie the two together. Fill the opened pillow cases with uncooked rice and zip the two together. Lay the blanket on top of the rice filled pillow cases to help keep its shape and store it in a pillow case hung in the closet until you are ready to lay it back on the bed. This helps keep the blanket from losing pressure to the washing machine and reduces the risk of mold, mildew, and drying.