This Is How Often You Should Really Clean Your Sheets

Fabric expert Tricia Rose of Rough Linen shares her laundry tips for keeping sheets fresh.

Maintaining clean sheets is no easy feat. Even with the most comfortable sheets, no matter how frequently (or, let's be honest—infrequently) you wash them, that fresh-out-of-the-dryer feeling tends to fade after the first few nights of sleep. General laundry rules exist for just about every other piece of fabric in your home—sports bras and jeans included—but confusion reigns when it comes to washing sheets. Just how often should they really be cleaned? We looked to Tricia Rose, founder of textile company Rough Linen, for answers.

According to Rose, the frequency at which you should wash your sheets boils down to the season and your nightly habits. "Your sweat level, what you wear to bed, and whether or not you snack in bed all affect how quickly your bedding gets sullied," Rose says. If you sleep on eucalyptus sheets, which are known for having their cooling and moisture-wicking properties, you might be less prone to sweat. Conversely, if you're a hot sleeper and you haven't invested in a set of cooling sheets, you're probably going to sweat more. "A woman sleeping in pajamas during a crisp spring is different from a sporty teenager who sleeps in boxers during a hot summer." Another factor to consider: how many people are sleeping in said bed every night. "If you share a bed, it gets twice the wear," Rose says.

As a general rule of thumb, Rose advises weekly washings to keep your sheets—regardless of whether they're silk or sateen sheets—looking and smelling as fresh as possible. "Once a week is standard," she says. "A lot of it is left to personal preference, but as soon as your sheets stop feeling fresh is the best time for you to wash them." Even with a crisp texture and breathable construction, percale sheets need a weekly refresh.

It's crucial to consider the fabric you're sleeping on too since cotton sheets, not to mention bamboo sheets, vary in care compared to those made from linen. Linen requires less frequent washing than cotton does, because the durable fabric repels dirt and can be cleaned easily with a shake-out or a simple brush of the material with your hand.

And your sheets aren't the only bedding component that needs regular TLC. Rose advises regular, weekly washings for pillowcases as well—specialty cooling pillowcases or otherwise. For more delicate silk pillowcases, using a mesh laundry bag on a gentle cycle in cold water is recommended. As for duvet covers, Rose suggests easing up on habitual washes since a duvet floats over your body and gets far less wear than sheets do (and can be a real hassle to put back on). "Duvets take some effort to change, so less frequent washing saves yourself from that nuisance," she says. Because mattress pads sit under a fitted sheet, you should only need to clean them every so often. Also, bear in mind that frequent runs through the washer and dryer may cause heated mattress pads to break down more quickly.

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