How Often You Should Clean Your Bedding | Linens, Duvets, Mattresses, and More

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Knowing how often to clean your bedding is important.

woman sitting on bed

Get a good night’s sleep after you read this. 

Most people spend a third of their life sleeping. Do you know how often you should clean your bedding? These shocking facts & results will surprise you…

Let’s start with what’s actually on your bed?

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

Let’s get down to the dirty details…

I first need to fill you in on what you’re actually sleeping with besides a possible partner, fur babies, or kiddos because quite frankly, it’s going to shock you. 😳

woman with arms spread out sitting on her bed with white sheets

We shed about 15 million dead skin cells every night. 😳 Even worse, our dead skin cells provide food for thousands of dust mites who are also taking up retail space on our beds – not good for those with allergies! It’s the perfect recipe for dust mites to multiply and over time their fecal matter will build up too. 😬

This is also in addition to fungi and bacteria also found on dirty sheets. YIKES!

If that’s not scary enough, Business Insider shared a study that unwashed pillow cases and sheets had up to 39 times more bacteria than pet-food bowls AND several thousand times more bacteria than a toilet seat. 🤯😱😳😨😬😧😵

So how often are you washing your sheets? We took a poll among our Hip readers:

hip2save reader poll graph on how often washing sheets

We found that 67% of our Hip readers clean their sheets weekly and just 1% wash them twice a week.

Allergist experts say to wash your actual sheets at least once a week in hot water, so the majority of Hip readers already seem to know how often to clean their bedding.

As for the minority, 17% of Hip readers currently wash their sheets every other week and the remaining 15% wash their sheets monthly or not regularly at all. 😰

Here’s everything you need to know about how often you should clean your bedding and bed:

Layer 1: Mattress

woman laying on bed

Your mattress is your foundation and many of us have them for years. Taking care of your mattress is important since buying a new one often certainly isn’t practical or necessary.

How often should you clean your mattress?

It’s recommended to clean your mattress every 6 months. Or for a more frequent schedule, clean your mattress when the seasons change.

hand holding a box of arm & hammer baking soda

Here are some great mattress cleaning tips:

  • Flip your mattress. Some mattresses cannot be flipped over completely. In that case, rotate it so the foot end is now at the top.

  • Vacuum your mattress. This will help get rid of dead skin cells, fungi, and bacteria living on the surface.

  • Freshen up your mattress. Easily deodorize your mattress by sprinkling the bare surface with baking soda. Let sit for an hour and vacuum with your vacuum attachment.

bare mattress and box on floor with pillows on top

When should you replace your mattress?

It’s recommended by The National Sleep Foundation to replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years due to regular wear and tear. However, the amount of time will vary depending on the design, materials, type of mattress, and the level of use.

Layer 2: Sheets

costco Kirkland signature 680 sheets on a bed

Your sheets are the part of your bed you actually touch most frequently. This includes your pillowcases, fitted sheets, and regular bed sheet.

How often should you clean your sheets?

Sheets should be washed about every week to two weeks. If you tend to sweat a lot in your sleep you should consider washing the sheets at least every week.

set of sheets in amazon box

When should you replace your sheets?

Over time, the fibers making up your sheets will begin to break down from frequent use and washing. 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.

Inevitably, your sheets will begin to thin, tear, or develop holes. When this happens it’s time for a replacement.

Skip bleach altogether and use our tips on how to wash white bedding.

Hip Tip: Need new sheets? A bunch of my Hip sidekicks can’t stop raving about these affordable sheets on Amazon.

Layer 3: Sleeping pillows

Warmkiss Pillow Set

Pillows 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. Dirty pillows will also result in an overpopulation of dust mites which can contribute to allergies.

How often should you clean your pillows?

It’s recommended to wash your pillows at least every 6 months.

hand putting pillow in red cart

When should you replace your 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 despite how often you clean your bedding. If you have a down pillow, it may become flat and constantly need fluffing.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your frequently used pillows depending on the type of pillow you have:

  • Polyester or Down Alternative: Replace every 1 to 2 years.
  • Polyfoam: Replace every 2 to 3 years.
  • Memory Foam: Replace every 2 to 3 years.
  • Latex: Replace every 2 to 4 years.
  • Down or Feather: Replace every 1 to 3 years.

Layer 4: Quilts and duvet covers

edloe finch rattan bed frame

Most 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 your body also isn’t coming into contact with these layers of bedding either. They still collect dust, so washing is inevitable.

How often should you clean your duvets and/or quilts? 

Cleaning duvet covers are recommended to wash just once a month for sufficient cleaning. Coverlets and quilts that are your middle layer and much thinner, can be washed just a couple of times a year.

close up of gray duvet unzipped

When should I replace my duvet insert?

Over time the filling of your duvet may settle into the corners or become lumpy. In this case, it can affect your sleep when regulating your body temperature and should be replaced. Replacing them will vary greatly on the quality of your duvet.

Need a new duvet cover? Here are our top picks for every budget:

Layer 5: Decorative Pillows

childs bed with purple bunny and huge cream pom pillow

These are pillows that only see the light of day, meaning, they’re just for decoration when the bed is made.

How often should you clean your decorative pillows?

It’s recommended to spot clean as needed and wash every few weeks to maintain freshness and get rid of dust.

woman hugging throw pillows

When should you replace your decorative pillows?

Every person’s use for decorative pillows can vary so there’s no straight answer. If your pillows are feeling dingy, swap out your inserts as needed. Season changes are a great time to wash your throw pillows or replace them with new ones.

Hip Tip: Score inexpensive inserts on Amazon to keep replacements frugal.

Here’s how to maximize every purchase in your new home.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 8+ years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.

Join The Discussion

Comments 17

  1. jsh143

    I have a question, what suggestions do you for what to do with old pillows that you are replacing, besides throwing them in the trash?

    • Stacy

      I believe some animal shelters still take them.

      • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

        This is a great idea, Stacy! Thank you so much for sharing an alternative! 💕

    • Jess

      I use old pillow stuffing (washed in the pillow first, then use) to stuff the crochet animals and dolls that I make.
      I’ve also seen those diy floor cushion type things for kids. Sew 4 or 5? pillows together and you can bend/tuck it as a chair and then unfold for a sleep over floor mat…

  2. Julie

    If you wash sheets that much, you will have to buy new ones 1-2x a year due to poor construction.

  3. jakentay

    “How Often You Should Clean Your Bedding Will Shock You” — frankly I’m disappointed that Hip has such a clickbait heading

    • MommySpendsLess

      I wouldn’t go quite that far but it is a bit overly dramatic. Washing sheets once per week is not shocking by any stretch. Based on the heading I expected daily.

  4. April

    Thank you for the helpful tip about how to clean a mattress. My mattress is just a couple months old and will use the baking soda method to keep it clean.

  5. Stephanie

    I wish companies would make things to last. Sheets can be made to last! I have a 100% cotton set that I’ve had since the 80s that is still going strong. Nowadays sheet sets last a couple of years at most before they start to shred. If you can find vintage sheets I highly suggest! The quality “will shock you”. hehe

  6. llc

    I only buy high tread count sheets when they are on sale (macys or even Sam’s and costco) and they last years. And I wash weekly. Only 100% cotton. Microfiber is cheap and doesnt last long. And I cant believe there was no mention of a mattress pad protector. It’s a must.

    • Lisa

      Agreed regarding the mattress pad protector. A must.

  7. Lisa

    I change my sheets 3 times a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We have several sets of some great cotton sheets from Target. One load on Sunday and they are all clean/bleached.

  8. Ironrat

    No mention of showering before bed. I know some who don’t. Hmm

    • Mrsj6901


  9. Amela

    I love using the duvet cover but I have hard time keeping them on nicely. The little corner strings don’t do much because the sides still bunch up. So if anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it. My comforter is a bit on heavy side its down filed but its my favorite.

  10. Nic

    Everything on the bed gets washed every week!

  11. Jen2020

    It’s a good practice to wash sheets weekly but people shouldn’t freak out over dust mites and dead cells. We don’t live in a sterile world and there are germs everywhere, even inside our mouth and in our bodies. It’s gross but innocuous.

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