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How Often Should You Really Clean All Your Bedding?

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how often do you clean your bed - boys jumping on mattress

Most people spend a third of their entire life sleeping. That’s enough reason to make sure you’re keeping your bed clean and in order! I was shocked at how often (or not so often) you should be cleaning each layer of your bed, so I’m here to break it down for you!


What’s actually on your bed?

how often to clean your bed - microscopic germs bacteria cells virus

If we’re going to get down and dirty with all the details, I first need to fill you in on what you’re actually sleeping with besides your spouse. 😉 Under all those throw pillows and ruffles, there are dust mites, dead skin cells, sweat, and tons and tons of bacteria. Some studies show that your pillows have more germs than a toilet seat. 😨 And now I know you’re probably thinking the same thing I did… How can I do a better job keeping my bed clean?!  


Layer 1: Mattress

how often to clean your bed - two mattresses

Take good care of your mattress. This is your foundation, the part that you actually need – plus, you’ll have it for years! Sure it’s easy to swap out sheets and pillows if they get too dirty, but buying a new mattress all the time certainly isn’t practical or necessary.

sara holding baking soda box with bed and pillows in the background

How often should I clean my mattress?

It’s recommended that you wash your bed every 6 months or for a more frequent schedule, you can clean it when the seasons change. Here are some great cleaning tips:

  • Flip your mattress. Depending on the mattress, you may not be able to flip it over completely. In that case, I would recommend rotating it so that the foot end is now at the top.
  • Vacuum your mattress. This will help get rid of dead skin cells and bacteria living on the surface that tend to build up over time.
  • Freshen up your mattress. You can easily deodorize the surface by sprinkling the bare surface with baking soda. Let sit for an hour and vacuum with your vacuum attachment.

mattress store with new mattresses on display sears clearance

When should I toss it?

It’s recommended by The National Sleep Foundation to replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years due to regular wear and tear.


Layer 2: Sheets

how often to wash bedding - white sheets

How often should I clean my sheets?

Your sheets are the part of your bed you actually touch most frequently. This includes your pillowcases, fitted sheets, and regular bed sheet. These should be washed about every week to two weeks. If you tend to sweat a lot in your sleep, like my kids, you should consider washing the sheets every week.

various sheetsets at target room essentials brand

When should I replace my sheets?

Over time, the fibers making up your sheets will begin to break down from frequent use and washing. This will result in thinning fabric, small tears in the stitching, or eventually holes. This is inevitable, so how often you’re washing and using your sheets will determine their lifespan and when it’s time for a new set. Using bleach on white sheets will also significantly decrease your sheets’ longevity and can even cause them to change to off-white rather than a brighter white.


Layer 3: Sleeping pillows

sleeping pillows without cover on bed

How often should I clean my pillows?

Your pillows are an important role in your sleep and help support your head throughout the night. That said, they also absorb dead skin cells and body fluids like oils, sweat, and drool each time you sleep on them. Absorbing these on a daily basis, regardless if you have a cover on your pillow or not, takes a toll on the freshness – and can even result in dust mites populating inside all that fluff. That’s why it’s recommended to wash your pillow about every 6 months

ralph lauren pillows on bed in packaging

When should I replace my pillows? 

If you’re always waking up with neck pain, it may be time to replace your pillow or find one that’s the perfect fit for you. Over time, pillows will lose their shape or become lumpy. If you have a down pillow, it may become flat and constantly need fluffing, which means it’s time for a new one. Overall, The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your frequently used pillows every one to two years.     


Layer 4: Quilts and duvet covers

how often to wash bedding - duvet insert coverlet bedroom essentials

How often should I clean my duvets and quilts? 

Many people use their larger duvets as decoration and therefore do not need to be washed as often as other bedding essentials. If you’re using sheets, as a result, your body is not coming into contact with your quilts, coverlets, and duvet covers. While duvets are placed on the top of your bed, they do collect dust, but they don’t typically collect bodily fluids like the rest of the bed. Therefore, washing it just once a month is sufficient enough. For your coverlets and quilts that are your middle layer and much thinner, you can get away with washing these just a couple of times a year.

duvet insert bed bath and beyond

When should I replace my duvet insert?

Whether you have a down-filled or a down-alternative insert, you may notice that over time the filling settles into the corners or becomes lumpy. In this case, it can affect your sleep when regulating your body temperature and should be replaced.


Layer 5: Decorative Pillows

how often to clean your bed - clean bedding pillows sara's master bedroom

How often should I clean my decorative pillows?

These are pillows that only see the light of day, meaning, they’re just for decoration when the bed is made! Therefore, I would only recommend to spot clean as needed and wash every few weeks to maintain freshness.

bed bath and beyond showroom bed with decorative pillows

When should I replace my decorative pillows?

While there’s no direct answer for this question since each person’s use for decorative pillows can vary, I would still suggest getting new inserts or pillows every couple of years. Changing out your decorative pillows seasonally is also a great time to wash them and replace them with new ones until it’s time to get them back out again.


Up Next: I’m a Decorative Pillow Maximalist! How Extreme Is Your Pillow Obsession?

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