bed with coffee mug on top - how often should you change your sheets
bed with coffee mug on top - how often should you change your sheets

Bed Sheet Hygiene 101: Here’s How Often You Should Change Your Bed Sheets

Yes, we know it’s a chore. And yes, you still have to do it.

Our beds are our sanctuaries.

It’s where we sleep, have sex, drink our morning coffee, and occasionally it acts as a dining table (hello, toast crumbs). But there’s a fundamental question: how often should you change your bed sheets?

You may not give it too much mind. But, think about how often we sleep on our beds and use it for other activities, not to mention who we might be sharing it with, too (pets included!). Considering we go face-to-face with our bed sheets almost every night, it’s not surprising how often we should actually be changing them.

But, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed, lots of us will admit to changing our sheets far less frequently than necessary. And we know life gets busy, or you may have times where you don’t want to do anything, and so sticking to a hygienic bed sheet routine can be hard at times. We’re all human. But if you avoid it for too long, you’re not going to be doing yourself any favours.

How often do you change your bed sheets?

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So, how often should you change your sheets?

In this guide:

Person on bed with laptop and dog next to them - how often should you change your sheets

How often should you change your sheets?

If you’re guilty of not changing your bed sheets as often as required, you’re not alone. Research from YouGov RealTime has revealed that only around 1 in 4 of us (28%) actually change bed sheets once a week. 36% of people change their bed sheets once a fortnight, and 4% are happy to sleep in the same sheets for two months or more (hey, no shame here).

Ideally, you should be washing your bed sheets once per week. Or, at least every two weeks.

This is mostly because of all the bacteria and germs that our bed sheets accumulate. Dead skin cells, dust mites, faecal matter, bodily fluids, and sweat, just to name a few. Don’t forget the summer months when we all sleep naked and sweat from places we could never imagine!

If you’ve got allergies or are sensitive to dust, you may need to wash your bed sheets even more often than once a week/every two weeks. The same goes for pet owners who let their furry pals sleep in bed with them, or even if you’ve recently had an infection, an illness or operation. 

Winter is a little more forgiving. We tend to sweat less, but you’re still shedding dead skin cells, so try to keep up with changing the sheets every two weeks. 

We spoke to Elisabeth, an expert from Lovehoney, who says that while there is no ‘perfectly-clean, bacteria-free body’, hygiene is important, especially when it comes to your bed sheets.

‘Regularly washing bedding can help minimise the risk of bacterial and fungal infections, as well as skin irritation and allergies.’

Elisabeth goes on to say that additionally to the risk of infections, unclean bedding can have an unpleasant smell, which can be linked to less attractiveness. So, if you’re planning a sleepover with your boo, consider changing your sheets to woo them over. 

Don’t worry though, it’s not entirely down to you. The type of bedding you have can make a difference to the cleanliness.

Cotton is one of the best materials for sleeping. It’s breathable and the easiest to wash, plus it’s soft and cosy – exactly what you need for a good night’s sleep. Opt for 100% cotton bedsheet like this luxury fitted sheet from Dunelm, from only £9 for a single bed!

Check out Student Bean’s Dunelm student discounts and offers.

Or, if you find that you’re a sweaty sleeper, consider bamboo bedding, instead. Bamboo helps keep the body cool and wicks away sweat to keep you dry. It’s perfect for regulating temperature while sleeping. This 100% bamboo bed sheet from Debenhams will help you sleep and is perfect for those suffering with allergies and sensitive skin. It’s antibacterial, too, so if you do skip a week by mistake, your bed will still be slightly fresher than normal sheets.

Check out Student Bean’s Debenhams student discount.

Here’s a Reddit thread of people discussing their bed sheet cleaning habits — trust me, you’re not alone whichever side you’re on…

Benefits of regularly changing your bed sheets

Changing your bed sheets might often end up with you being held hostage by the fitted sheet; sweating profusely, crying out for a hand. Would you believe me if I said it was all worth it? It is!

Here are some of the benefits you’ll reap from changing your bed sheets regularly…

BenefitHow
Less allergies and irritationWhether you share the bed with a partner, animals, or just yourself, changing your sheets will remove any grime, pet hair, and dust that might be causing you to experience health symptoms (itching, sneezing, rashes, etc)
Improves sleeping patternsWhen your sheets are fresh, it can help you to fall asleep quicker as it helps to regulate your body temp and you won’t be sleeping on built-up grime and sweat that may cause you discomfort
Reduces chance of bed bugsRegularly changing your sheets will help keep on top of any infestations early on
Healthier skinWhile sleeping you release oils and sweat from your skin which soaks into the bedding. Changing your sheets regularly will help reduce blocked pores and help reduce chances of breakouts
DatingSingle or not, sleeping in dirty sheets can be off-putting, so keeping on top of your bed sheet hygiene will make you feel better and anyone you’re sharing the bed with will thank you, too
Table showing the benefits of changing bed sheets regularly

If you’re wondering “Why does my hair get greasy so fast?” It might be your bed sheets!

Your sheets tend to soak up anything on your hair, face and body, including oils that are naturally released and any hair products you might have added, too. Over time, the more you sleep, the dirtier and grimier the sheets get, adding it back into your hair and skin. Changing your bed sheets regularly may help reduce how quickly your hair gets greasy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to change bed sheets once a month?

Look, it happens. We get it. Out of 52 weeks in the year, there’s bound to be a time you’re mega-busy and forget to change your bed sheets. But is it ok to only change your bed sheets once a month?

While it’s unlikely to have severe consequences, changing sheets once a month is not recommended. A month without clean sheets means a month’s worth of sweat, bacteria, skin cells and dust (plus other things depending on your lifestyle). Your sheets will be clogged with dirt and it could affect your quality of sleep.

Going a month without changing your sheets can also cause allergies or skin complications like spots, rashes, contact dermatitis, and bites. To avoid this, it’s recommended to change your sheets once a week, or every two weeks.

What happens if you don’t change your bed sheets regularly?

Not washing your sheets regularly can trigger allergic reactions and contact dermatitis, and could harm your sleep. The build-up of bacteria, dust, and bodily secretions will prevent air flow while sleeping, which is pretty important for a good night’s rest.

So, if you can, try and avoid going for long periods of time without changing sheets.

PSA to everyone with a pair of balls! Got itchy balls or broken skin? Here’s what it could mean and what to do about it. Changing your bed sheets regularly can help reduce irritation, letting you live a more comfortable life with your balls.

What setting to wash bed sheets?

Always check the label for specific washing guidance, as it can depend on the material and overall quality of the sheets. But generally, most bed sheets can be washed at home in the washing machine.

In order to fully kill off any germs and bacteria on the dirty sheets, always wash your bedding with the hottest water temperature setting listed on the care label of the sheet. Many washing machines will have a ‘bedding’ setting, so use this if you can.

When it comes to drying the bed sheets, outside on a clothesline is best to ensure freshness, and the sunlight can help brighten-up white sheets. But if the weather doesn’t permit outdoor drying, tumble drying with a dryer ball is recommended for soft sheets.

Sheets hanging outside drying on line - how often should you change your sheets

What temp to wash bed sheets?

Washing your sheets, regardless of the temperature, is better than sleeping on three-month old sheets. But, to clean the sheets thoroughly and to ensure the bacteria is killed, a higher temperature is recommended.

60° is the best temperature for making sure your sheets are squeaky clean, but 40° is okay if you’re worried about energy and environmental concerns of higher temps.

How to get blood out of bed sheets?

Blood (and red wine) is notorious for being difficult to get out of bed sheets and whites. But, it is do-able.

The earlier you ‘catch’ the stain, the better, as the longer blood sticks, the more difficult it is to remove.

  1. As soon as you notice a bloody stain, rinse the area with cold water to try and remove as much blood as possible — you can use some hand soap to help budge the stain. Ensure the water is cold because hot water, even warm, can set the stain deeper into the sheet.
  2. Avoid rubbing at the stain, as this will only push it deeper into the material. Dab at the stained area with a wet washcloth.
  3. Use a stain remover according to its instructions. Or, if you don’t have a stain remover, you can use hydrogen peroxide and water — you can find a method for the mixture and how to apply it at casper.com.
  4. Once the stain remover has soaked for 24 hours, or the time stated according to your particular remover, you can machine wash the sheets. Use a lower temperature during the wash to prevent the stain from sticking.
  5. It’s best to avoid tumble drying as the heat can set the stain in even further, if the wash hasn’t removed it 100%. Air dry your sheets outside for the best results.
  6. For stubborn stains, repeat the process above one more time.

What is bed rotting?

Bed rotting” is the latest trend that is taking TikTok by storm.

It stems from Gen Z embracing a slower pace of life and prioritising self-care and lazy days. While many TikTok creators are using the trend as a way to promote self-care and acknowledging there are days where you don’t want to get out of bed, the trend has come under fire for potentially promoting a lifestyle that can have implications on your health.

Bed rotting can be used as a way to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression. It typically involves spending the entire day (or several days) in bed, ether watching films, on social media, or basically anything you can do from the comfort of your own bed.

While this is nothing new, and something a lot of us will do on occasion, it could be doing you more harm than good.

Balance is key.

Too much time in bed could become a dominating factor in your lifestyle and you may become reliant on it if you’re dealing with issues. If you’re feeling unwell (physically or mentally) it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a medical professional to get to the root of why you’re feeling a certain way, and they’ll be able to offer advice and support.

Too much “bed rotting” can impact your sleep quality, as well as bed sheet hygiene. So, while duvet days are and should be encouraged from time to time, in order to rest and recharge, just make sure you’re washing your bedding and sheets after a week of bed rotting.

Cleaned your sheets and now have a date? Shop at Lovehoney with our Student Beans student discount.