How often should I wash my bedding? And are there special cleaning requirements?
There are different schedules for different types of bedding. The bedding that needs to be washed is the bedding that's closest to your skin, the pillowcases and sheets. You can shower before bedtime and it isn't enough. Body oils, dead skin and sweat collects on the sheets when you sleep. You can transfer fungi, such as athletes foot and other fungi in the fabric if it isn't washed.
The body fluids that land on your sheets can slowly seep into the mattress and pillows and cleaning those can be far more difficult than quickly throwing the sheets and pillowcases in the wash. The bacteria and fungi can get into a scratch or wound while sleeping. The dead skin cells on the sheets and pillowcases can increase the population of dust mites, which aggravate asthma and respiratory allergies. Washing your bedding once a week or once every two weeks at a minimum, can help prevent the bacteria, fungi and dead cell build up.
The popularity of duvet covers
One reason duvets are so popular is that you don't need a top sheet with the cover, making it easier to make the bed, but also susceptible to the same oils, skin cells, dirt and bodily fluids that sheets and pillowcases are. You need to wash the cover as frequently as you would sheets, which should be once a week and at least once every two weeks. Many people have several different duvet covers and pillowcase sets so they can change the décor frequently and have an immediate set ready each week when they wash. Remember to keep both duvet covers and sheets in drawers or a dry cool cupboard with acid free tissue paper under them to prevent yellowing. Never store bedding in a plastic container that can trap moisture and potentially create the perfect environment for mildew.
Duvets, blankets and quilts need less frequent cleaning. One rule of thumb is to wash them when the seasons change, meaning they should be washed three to four times a year. In some cases, you may have a summer set of bedding and a winter set. In those cases, every three months with one of those times right before you store them after the seasonal change.
Protecting your mattress
You can protect the build-up of dead skin cells in the mattress and help keep your mattress freer of dust mites by having a mattress protector. A mattress protector is one more deterrent to prevent perspiration and body oils from soaking through into the mattress, extending its life expectancy, Wash the mattress protector once a month.
Pillows need to be washed at least once every six months, but if you perspire a lot, consider doing it once every three months. In most cases you throw them in the washer on a gentle cycle with a small amount of detergent and then throw them in the dryer on low. Read the label before you do it. If it's a gel pillow which can't be washed run a vacuum over the pillow and do it the same time you do the mattress at the same time you wash the comforter or quilt.
Always check the label before you put bedding in the wash. Some bedding requires dry cleaning. To keep your bedding fresh without having to clean it frequently, you can shake it and hang it on the washing line in the sun. The UV light helps to kill bacteria.