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!

Let’s start with 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 and fur babies. 😉 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. 😨

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.

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Layer 2: Sheets

hand holding 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.

set of sheets in amazon box

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. In fact, skip the bleach all together and use our tips on how to wash white sheets.

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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.     

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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.

Hip Tip: Want to know more about duvet covers? I shared everything you need to know about them, plus some of our top picks for every budget!

close up of gray duvet unzipped

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.

Need some ideas for a new duvet cover? Here are our team favorites for all budgets:

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.

white and black throw pillows sitting on cream couch in sun room

When should I replace my decorative pillows?

While there’s no direct answer to 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.

As a frugal idea, you can get pretty inexpensive inserts on Amazon and believe it or not you can even find some inserts for just a few bucks at H&M!

In search of home decor? Check out our latest favorite finds!

Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 5 years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.

Join The Discussion

Comments 42

  1. sherry

    I washed and dryed a feather pillow. It broke apart in the dryer. What a mess feathers were everywhere! On the bright spot, when I cleaned the outside dryer vent to remove the feathers I found it was almost clogged with lint. The incident probably saved us from a fire.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh wow! We recently cleaned out our dryer vent hose and were also surprised by how much lint had collected! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Jbeb

    How do you wash pillows?

  3. sherry

    I used the washing machine gentle cycle

  4. miaam

    I will never forget hearing that Oprah washes her sheets every 2 days so they always feel crisp and fresh. I wanna live that life haha.

    • 5pink1blue

      Me too.

    • Wren

      Correction: she probably HAS them washed for her! 🤣

  5. Michelle

    What about a mattress pad? 🤔 I wash the mattress pad every 4-6 months, but was wondering if it needs it more frequently…..

    And what about when you have an overnight guest? Does ALL of the bedding get washed or just the sheets?

    • ohjodi

      I wash mine every 4-6 weeks.

  6. Rn404

    I wash all bed linen once a week…Sunday after church. The best sleep is with freshly laundered linen on the bed. You sleep so good

  7. Heather

    Im actually surprised. We definitely do all those things (although it could be my OCD. I have an 8 and 2 toddlers)

    We actually replace the pillows regularly. Probably every 6 months. But it is time for more sheets *sigh *

  8. Wren

    I have mattress covers like Safe Rest on all our mattresses; waterproof, dust proof, protects against allergens and bacteria (so they claim). So I like to think it keep our mattress very clean, and they’re very easy to pull off and wash!

  9. ohjodi

    If you’re sick, change the pillowcases every day. It REALLY helps.

    • Lindsey

      I remember learning this in my first class of nursing school. Florence Nightingale 101 🙂

  10. Am I Gross?

    I wash my sheets and pillowcases maybe three times per year. It’s just too much work to put them all back on my bed. Am I the only gross one here?

    • Michelle

      3 times a year?

      • Am I Gross?

        Yep. Three times a year.

    • xoxo

      Yes that is gross, lol 😂

    • lydia

      That sounds really gross lol
      I wash my sheets once a week, comforters every 3 or 4 weeks. Pillows go in the dryer every week but wash every 2 weeks.
      And we shower right before going to bed and the a/c is always cold (no sweating) every single night. I can’t imagine sleeping well on dirty pillow cases 🤢
      Maybe try washing them at least once a month.

    • riss

      I’m not OCD, but i wash my sheets every week. Every Sunday. So yes, changing your sheets 3x a year is gross, really gross. How can you stand that? Or you’re just kidding? 😉

      • Patty

        I’m actually pretty disgusted as well. Wow. Every 5-7 days for sure or I wouldn’t want to get into bed. My husband is OCD and would like to was them every 3-4 days.

    • Michigan Mom

      You must be kidding, right? Yes, it’s work, but hello, that is BEYOND GROSS

      • Am I Gross?

        No. Not kidding. Dead serious. I hate cleaning, and all household chores. After having read the comments here, I might wash them once a month, or at least once every other month.

        • Gramma C


        • Crescent City Couponer

          I’d change mine daily if I could, but I try for once or twice a week. If you have allergies, it’s a must.

          Buy more sheets and some extra pillows cases. I suggest at least four sets, then you can wash once a month and still have fresh linens every week.

        • mic

          3 times a year? Heck, if you only wash 3 times a year then why even wash them at all, or even shower for that matter! Lol. Just curious, if you are even serious, how old is the mattress you are sleeping on?

    • Marinova

      I do change mine more frequently than that, but honestly I don’t think it’s gross unless they stink. If they stink they’ll make you stink and that’s no good. I read an interview of some high end jeans designer once who said he only washed his own jeans every month or two or something and that people wash their clothes way too much and they would last forever if they didn’t wash so frequently. So I don’t think you’re alone. Everyone’s got their yuck threshold and it will be different depending on your circumstances.

    • Trisha

      Hey you aren’t gross ! Some people don’t sweat at night – have microfiber sheets that stay cool – if you don’t feel gross and it’s not an issue for you- who cares ? We all have different priorities to balance in life.
      Real studies done indicate that dust mites aren’t really an issue in a typical bed or pillows etc . They actually found it’s mold from people showering and hitting the pillow etc. the rest is usually not An issue unless you sweat a lot or have allergies or pets.

      You aren’t gross !

    • You’re Not Alone

      My roommate in college only washed her sheets once the whole year we were there. She only showered every 3 days? I try to wash my sheets at least once a month and my bedspread at least once every 6 months. I’m gross and don’t actually wash my pillows 😂. The couple times I’ve done it they didn’t survive the wash well.

  11. Khari'sMama

    I guess I’m OCD. I wash my sheets, mattress pad and comforter every 2 weeks. I change my sheets on my bed along with pillow cases every week….

  12. Cassandane

    Don’t forget to clean your washer!!! Check the manual for instructions— most say use bleach (in the drum) or Affresh tabs, on a specific setting, and 1x/mo or every 30 loads. 😁

  13. xoxo

    I Wash my sheets and pillows probably once a week. Mattress pad every 2 weeks or so. I have 2 mattress pads so I can switch around.

  14. Becky

    I am some what OCD and have to have my bed made everyday and wash my sheets faithfully every 7 days. I have a buck wheat pillow and you cant get it wet, so I have to put a protective cover on it and wash it every month.

  15. Jen

    I bought lysol laundry sanitizer to my wash and wash sheets once a week. Comforter every 2-3 weeks. Mattress pad 3-4 weeks.

  16. shop4mybabies

    we definitely wash all of our bedding once a week. asthma and allergies are better when we don’t let them go too long. throwing away my 20 year old pillow a year ago still breaks my heart because i haven’t found a good one yet

  17. Angie

    I cut kingsize fabric covered waterproof mattress pads in half and use one as a pad across the middle part of the bed over the fitted sheet and tuck it in on the sides. I feel this is an extra bit of freshness and it’s lightweight and easy to wash with delicates and dries on low in 5 minutes. Sheets get changed once a week and waterproof mattress pad and waterproof pillowcase covers gets washed once a month. I only use organic sheets as they’re not made with formaldehyde or pesticides.

  18. julebay

    My question is, if you are washing your comforter every 4-6 weeks, how do you keep it looking new, or do you have to replace often?

  19. julebay

    Can I just throw my comforter in the dryer to kill germs?

  20. tipaye

    Nice suggestions—thank you! I personally don’t see the need for *washing* throw pillows (that aren’t used, as the article states) every 3 weeks. Spot-cleaning, if needed, I feel is just fine.

  21. kelly

    My sheets are done once a week…since I was a kid and watched an Oprah episode…eeek.
    Bf used to wash his once a year…lol….eek.

  22. jessicaposnerjohnson

    Ahh…first world problems. You know that we’re learning more and more that the excessive cleaning that we causes problems with the good bacteria in our bodies. And then we rush out to buy probiotics (which help practically nothing because they only contain a couple of species of bacteria.) I’m pretty careful in the kitchen and the bathroom with cleaning because those bacteria can cause nasty problems, but as long as you haven’t noticed any allergies due to the routine you are already following for your bedding, you are probably fine.

  23. PrincessMom

    With all the foam mattresses now, vacuuming might not be a good idea. When researching them before buying ours, I saw lots of comments about fiberglass threads coming through the fabric covers when they were vacuumed. (Especially seems to be an issue on the Zinus ones–I was about to buy one of those and read a few reviews is what alerted me to the issue.) Please don’t start vacuuming your mattresses without checking the manufacturer info to make sure it won’t destroy it.

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