We spend approximately 26 years of our lives in bed. And as we’re in bed for such a significant portion of time, it’s understandable that we’d want to keep them hygienic. After all, there’s nothing quite like climbing into a pleasant, comfortable bed at the end of the day. But when it comes to keeping our bedding fresh, how do we do so ecologically? How often should we change our bed sheets, and how do we balance this with water wastage, energy consumption, and chemicals that aren’t environmentally friendly?
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
When it comes to how often we should wash our bed sheets, expert opinion is divided. However, as a rule of thumb it is usually between one to every two weeks, depending on other factors such as the weather, or your daily activities, But going any longer may not be ideal, as we shall explore later on.
You may find you need to wash your bedding more regularly if you have allergies, certain sensitives, sweat a lot at night, or eat in your bed. You should also consider changing them even more regularly if a pet sleeps in the bed with you.
Pillows and bed sheets are the highest priority to keep clean, as these are where we transfer most of our oils, sweat, and skin cells to. Blankets, duvets, and mattress protectors do not need to be washed as regularly - although it’s still important to clean them throughout the year.
What Happens If You Don't Change Your Bed Sheets Often?
Your comfort and health may be impacted if you don’t change your bed sheets often enough. As mentioned earlier, we sweat a lot in bed. Not only can this build up be unpleasant to sleep in, it can affect airflow around you. This may mean it’s more difficult to regulate your temperature, and you don’t get a very good night’s sleep. Oil and sweat build ups can also contribute to breakouts on the skin.
Our bodies also shed dead skin cells in bed. These can attract dust mites, which can cause rashes on the skin. Skin cells can also result in eczema inflammations, contact dermatitis, and other allergic reactions.
Why Is It Important To Wash Your Sheets?
Keeping your sheets clean helps you to stay cool and comfortable whilst in bed. This in turn can help create a pleasant sleeping environment, which contributes to a better night’s sleep. Maintaining a hygienic space where you sleep is also a health issue, especially if you have allergies.
How to Wash Your Sheets Sustainably
Before you start washing your sheets, always check the care labels first. You don’t want to accidentally damage them in the process. Here are our tips on how to wash your sheets sustainably using a washing machine:
1. Go for warm water over hot water. 40 degrees is an optimum temperature to aim for. Not only does this require less energy to heat, it also reduces the risk of shrinkage and wrinkles forming. However, if you have certain allergies, you may want to wash at a higher temperature.
2.Use eco-friendly laundry detergent. Avoid anything with bleach or harmful chemicals in, as these can get into the water system and affect our environment. Another benefit is that using gentle products will increase the longevity of your bedding
3. Find the right balance in load sizes. You don’t want to underfill or overfill. Underfilling can result in excess water and energy being used, but overfilling can damage your washing machine
4. Avoid the temptation of the tumble dryer, and leave your bedding to air dry naturally. Even better, when the weather is warm, hang your sheets outside. The UV rays from the sun will kill any lingering bacteria.
There’s also a few things you can do to extend the time between washes. These hygiene habits will help keep your bedding freshers for longer:
- - Shower before bed.
- - Try not to eat in bed. This will help mitigate any accidental spills.
- - If you can, don’t let pets in bed.
- - Remove any dirty clothes and shoes before getting on your bed, even if it’s just to sit.
- - Allow your bed to air out in the morning after you get up.
Does The Time of Year Matter?
You may find yourself changing your bed sheets more frequently when the weather is hotter. Pollen and other allergens can find their way into your bedding during the warmer months, which could aggravate certain conditions.
How To Stay Motivated To Change Your Bed
Staying motivated to change your bed not only means you develop a helpful new habit, but will ensure your bed stays fresh and pleasant to sleep in. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- - Get in the practice of making your bed every morning. Making your bed daily will soon become second nature, and you’ll want to maintain it.
- - Allocate 15 mins every other week to change your bed. Put a reminder on your phone if you need a little extra help.
- - Make sure you always have a clean set of bedsheets to hand.