When you think about how much time you spend in your mattress, it really just makes sense for you to take a bit of time and make sure it’s up to your personal standards of cleanliness.
Your skin and generally your body sloughs off all kinds of nasty things every night, and all sorts of different problems can arise when it comes to your bedclothes.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the most often asked questions about caring for your bedding.
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Contrary to what you may think, most experts agree that you should wash your sheets every week, not every two weeks or even more rarely.
This might seem like a lot, but keep in mind just how much gunk gets on your sheets over the course of that week.
Your body sheds about 1.5 grams of dead skin cells every day, which is enough to feed a million dust mites.
Although not all of these skin cells shed off onto your bedsheets, a lot of them do!
Obviously, this is especially problematic if you’re allergic to a dust mite.
In addition to dead skin cells, your body is also squeezing out tons of oils and sweat every night, all of which comes off on your bedclothes.
You can help reduce this by making your bed each morning since this will give your sheets a better chance to dry all that liquid grossness away, while also limiting the possibility of wrinkles.
Washing Out Bacteria in Bedsheets
In addition to dust mites and all the visible nastiness that ends up on your sheets from your skin or whatever grime you’ve been trekking through, bedsheets can also be havens for unwanted bacteria.
So while you’ll typically be fine if you’re running a load of wash with your bedding at least once a week, if you’ve been lying in bed sick, the bacteria on your dirty sheets can stick around even as you’re trying to get better.
To keep the germs from gaining back the upper hand, be sure to take care of the washing as soon as you start feeling yourself getting on the upswing from a sickness.
Throw everything into a load of wash that’s as hot as you can make it, and if possible, leave your mattress naked for a few hours so any moisture that’s accumulated can get the chance to evaporate away.
Keep in mind that running a load of wash on too cool a temperature with too many items might not actually kill the bacteria you’re hoping to.
Especially when you’re sick, you always want to wash your sheets in smaller loads than you might normally be used to.
You might also want to make a habit of frequent washing for the rest of the time, too, since bacteria can accrue on your bed no matter how healthy you are.
Washing Your Sheets Every Week = Nicer Sleep
OK, now for a lighter note.
If all that gloom and doom about bacteria and dust mites eating your dead skin wasn’t enough to scare you straight, consider this finding from the National Sleep Foundation.
78% of Americans feel more excited about the bedding time with fresh-smelling overlay, and 74% say they get a more comfortable sleep!
It’s mostly just a psychological thing, but such a clean bed could have a real impact on how well-rested you are during the day.
How Should You Wash Your Sheets?
Apart from knowing how often should you change your sheets, you need to know how to wash them properly as well.
In most cases, the washing can be done in low-temperature cycles, either warm or cold.
These typically won’t kill all the dust mites that might be living on your sheets, though.
If you want to take care of those, you’re going to need to run your bedding through hot water—at least 130 degrees.
It’s sometimes best to use oxygen bleach if you can since this will prevent the discoloration of a lot of bedding experiences throughout its life.
I say oxygen bleach in particular because it’s a lot easier on your sheets than any of its chlorine-based counterparts.
White sheets are often your best bet with bedding since you don’t risk accidentally staining them with bleach, but keep in mind that you risk wearing out your bedding if you apply too much bleach.
Never use bleach on silk sheets.
How to Get Rid of Stains
Thus far, we’ve mostly been talking about regular washing — stuff that most sheets are going to need throughout their lives.
But of course, we all know that part of the “normal” life of bedding also involves stains.
It’s all too easy to get stains from just about any source on your bedsheets, and you’re most definitely going to want to get those out as quickly as possible.
Here’s how to do it.
Take Action and Wash Bedsheets ASAP
Although it might be tempting just to wait around until you run your next load of wash to get the stains out of your bedding, you really want to start working on getting discolorations out as soon as you notice them.
This keeps whatever fluid you’re dealing with from having the time to really sink into the fabric’s fibers.
Take your bedding off, and start rinsing or rubbing it with cold water.
Make sure the water goes all the way through to both sides of the material, and above all, do not use hot water.
This would do the exact opposite of what you want – you wouldn’t wash your sheets, but just cause the stain to set!
Apply Baking Soda to Bedsheets
While just rinsing and rubbing might be enough to take care of the lightest stains, most of the time, you’re probably going to need a little more than that.
If you still have a good bit of the stain left behind, try mixing up some baking soda and water into a paste.
Rub this into the affected area until the discoloration comes out and then brush off the paste and throw your sheets in a wash load.
Use a Clothesline for Bedsheets
Once your bedding is through the washer, it’s actually best to stick it out on a clothesline if you can and not put them through the dryer.
This is because the dryer’s heat can cause anything left of the stain to remain in place.
This residual discoloration will be basically impossible to remove.
Getting Out Dried Stains
Unfortunately, if the stain you’re looking at has already dried by the time you get to it, a lot of the techniques above probably aren’t going to work.
To force the stain into becoming workable again, soak your bedding in water for a few hours, and then go through the steps above.
How to Remove Odors
Stinkiness is another big problem people often face with their bedding.
Typically, the problem is body odor—the sweat from your skin dries on the bed, leaving a smell that won’t go away with normal wash loads.
Here’s what to do.
Let Them Soak
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to let your bedding soak in the sink.
Fill the sink with water, then add about one cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of dish soap.
Squish and scrub the sheets in your hands a bit to make sure your concoction fully saturates, then leave them there to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Run the Wash
After you’ve done all this, you’re now going to throw your sheets in the washing machine’s drum.
Don’t turn it on yet, but pour in a half cup of baking soda.
Start up the washer on the “heavy soil” setting (or whatever your washer’s equivalent is), and make it as hot as the sheets can stand.
Once a load of wash is done, take out your bedclothes and give them a good sniff.
If they still stink of BO, run them through the past few steps until they stop smelling awful.
Hang Bedsheets Out to Dry
Once the smell is finally gone, and you’re done with washing your sheets for the moment, take them out of the wash and stick them out on the clothesline to dry.
A clothesline is ideal here because the sun’s UV rays can help kill whatever bacteria remain on the sheets that might cause more of the unwanted odor.
Once they’re dry, take these puppies off the line and throw them back on your bed.
You’re good to go!
How to Get Better Sleep
Clean, odorless, stain-free bedding is often the key to a better night’s sleep.
Not only are they free of bacteria, dust mites, dead skin cells, and disgusting fluids, but they feel better and smell better, too!
Properly cared-for sheets are often a great first step in improving your sleep.
But knowing how often to wash sheets and how to take care of them may not be enough. If you want to go beyond just the basics and start building up your ideal sleep experience, you’re going to need to start thinking about the padding under those sheets.
I’m talking about your bed mattress!
A better bed mattress can seriously enhance your quality of life.
If you’ve been getting poor sleep, having trouble getting to sleep, or waking up with aches and pains, it might be about time to turn in that old mattress for a newer model.
It’s all part of giving yourself the gift of easier, healthier sleep.