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How often should you change your sheets and towels?

How often should you change your sheets and towels?

Wash day should be regular to avoid potential sources of sickness. Here's how often you should change and wash your bed sheets, towels, dischcloths, pillows and more

You use your bed sheets and other textiles around the house daily so it makes sense to wash and change them regularly. 

But how often is the right amount to stay healthy and clean, without going overboard?

Bed sheets

Once a week. We spend 50 or more hours in bed a week, meaning we sweat in it, shed dead skin in it and offload germs in it. These include flu viruses, fungi such as thrush and bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus which can cause skin infections. If you have allergies or asthma, wash bedding after every two to three days, since dust mites quickly move in to feed off dead skin and can cause allergic reactions.

"You offload germs in bed, including flu viruses; fungi, such as thrush; and bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus which can cause skin infections"

If you’re ill, it’s a good idea to change your sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers every day. On the other hand, if you don’t sleep in your own bed that much, every two weeks is probably fine.

Towels

Wash day—folding bed sheets and towelsBed sheets and towels should both be changed regularly. Credit: Kostikova

Every two to three days. Even though you think you’re squeaky clean after coming out of the shower, you’ll still have some germs on your body. These bugs will, of course, get onto your towel as you rub yourself dry.

"Dirty towels can spread athlete’s foot and warts. Acne sufferers and those who use a towel to wipe off sweat should wash it after every use"

Dirty towels can spread athlete’s foot and warts. Acne sufferers and those who use a towel to wipe off sweat rather than bath water should wash it after every use. Always hang your towel up and let it dry thoroughly after using it.

Tea towels

Kitchen towels hung up to dryWashing tea towels immediately if they're used to wipe up food spills is important. Credit: KariHoglund

Every three to four days. If you’re using them to dry dishes or wipe clean hands, replacing tea towels every three to four days is often enough, but if you use them to clean up food spills, make sure you put it in the laundry basket straight away.

Dishcloths

Every day. It’s especially important to change them if they’re used to wipe kitchen surfaces or spills. Kitchen cloths are a major source of cross-contamination.

Pillows and duvets

Changing bed sheetsPillows and duvets are a sometimes forgotten source of dust mites and bacteria that need changing. Credit: YakobchukOlena

Every three to six months. If your pillows are washable, pop them in the machine at least twice a year to prevent a build-up of germs, odours and—ugh—dust mites.

"If your pillows are washable, pop them in the machine at least twice a year to prevent a build-up of germs, odours and—ugh—dust mites"

Many of us forget all about our duvets, but they’re a breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria too.

Banner credit: Михаил Руденко

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