How often should I wash my bedding?

How often should I wash my bedding?


The average person spends about a third of their life in bed.

This means that without regular cleaning, your comfortable sleeping environment could become a haven for dirt, dust mites, dead skin cells and sweat.

While it's important to wash your bed sheets regularly at the right temperature, not many people know that duvets, pillows, mattresses and toppers can often be washed at home, saving you a trip to the dry cleaners.

We'll explain how often you should clean each part of your sleep environment, including whether your duvet can be washed in the washer and dryer.


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How often should I wash my bed sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers?

Put clean bedding on the bed

As a general rule, most people should wash their bedding covers (bed sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers) once a week.

Most fabrics should be washed at 60°C (lower temperatures may not kill all bacteria or remove sweat effectively). For silk sheets, wash at 30°C with a mild detergent. Always check the label.

However, depending on how you use your bed, you may need to wash your sheets more frequently.

If you have sensitive allergies or asthma, washing your bedding at least once a week in water at least 60°C may help relieve your symptoms.

Alternatively, Allergy UK suggests that if you have a dust mite allergy, you should buy allergen barrier covers for your bedding to minimise contact with dust mites.

The London Fire Brigade has also issued a warning. Buildup of emollient and skin cream residue on bedding can increase flammability.This is especially important if you spend long periods of time in bed due to mobility issues.

Washing your bedding regularly can also help prevent bed bugs. Changing your sheets frequently will make them easier to spot, and washing and tumble drying on high heat can help get rid of them. Check out our guide to find out more. Getting rid of bedbugs.

Re-covering your duvet is one of life's most necessary yet tedious tasks, so watch this video for some tips. The quickest way to hang a duvet cover.

We tested popular winter and all-season down and synthetic duvets from brands including Ikea and John Lewis to find the best buys starting from around £50.


Log in or Which would you like to join? To find out Best Down Comforters of 2024.


How to keep your bedding clean between washes

While it's important to clean your bedding regularly, washing it too much can cause it to wear out quicker than expected, forcing you to buy new sheets more frequently.

According to a study by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), A quarter of people let their pets sleep in their bedMeanwhile, one in five people regularly eat in bed, with 8% of them doing so daily, 13% also admit to smoking in bed and one in ten actually brush their teeth in bed.

These habits can lead to stains and dirt on your sheets, so no matter how tired you are, it's worth getting out of bed and doing these daily rituals. Limit the time your pet spends in or on your bed, or banish them from your bedroom altogether.

The London Fire Brigade has also issued a warning. Don't smoke in bedThis is because of the risk of fire.

Other ways to keep your sheets cleaner before your next wash include:

  • Remove all your makeup before going to bed (this is good for your skin too)
  • Shower or bathe before bed – some people find this helps them fall asleep faster
  • Avoid making your bed as soon as you wake up, and instead remove the covers for a few hours to let it air out.

Do these everyday items need replacing? Everything has a shelf life, so do you know when these common household items need to be replaced?


How often should I wash my duvet?

How and how often you wash your duvet will depend on the duvet's filling and the size of your washing machine. To keep your duvet clean, aim to wash it once or twice a year.

If you're worried about damage, you could take it to a dry cleaner, but many duvets can be washed at home, saving you an extra expense.

Instructions for washing your duvet should be included on the care label, so be sure to check before you begin.

Only place your duvet in the washing machine if there is enough space in the tub. Do not allow the duvet to completely fill the tub, as this will prevent water and detergent from circulating properly.

For small, scattered stains, manual pre-treatment with detergent or stain remover is more effective.

How to wash different types of duvets

  • For hollow fiber, synthetic, or microfiber filled duvets: Machine wash on the delicate setting (approx. 30-40°C). Then rinse once to remove all soap suds, then tumble dry on a low heat/air dry setting or hang in a well-ventilated area (or outdoors) until completely dry.
  • For wool duvets: Machine wash on gentle cycle (30°C or less) and finish by spin-drying on a gentle cycle to remove all soap suds. Do not tumble dry your wool duvet – hang it in a well-ventilated area (or outside) until it is completely dry.
  • For feather, down or silk duvets: Take it to a dry cleaner and have it professionally cleaned.

Some washing machines have special settings for washing duvets. Here are some of our most popular settings:


our company's Washing Machine Reviews We'll see how these models compare to others we've tested so far.


How often should you wash your pillows?

Many feather, down and microfiber pillows are machine washable, with the standard recommendation being every 4-6 months.

If you are washing in a washing machine, select the delicate cycle. Washing two pillows at a time will help them stay in place in the washing machine. Tumble dry on low heat to avoid damage to the pillows, and fluff them up.

Memory foam pillows shouldn't be washed in a washing machine, but you can usually remove the cover and wash it. It's important to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully, as washing your memory foam pillow against recommendations can void your warranty.

Although pillow protectors can help keep allergens off your pillow, it's still a good idea to wash your pillow twice a year.

We tested a range of pillows from brands like Emma, ​​Ikea, Silentnight, Simba and Slumberdown to see how comfortable they were, how well they supported your neck and how cool they were.

We've found some great performers, including one from Best Buy that can be purchased for under £30.


Log in or Which would you like to join? Read our review The best pillow for a good night's sleep.


How often should you clean your mattress?

There are no rules on how often you should clean your mattress. This is largely determined by your home environment and how your mattress is used. If you spend a lot of time working, eating and relaxing in bed, you should clean your mattress more often.

However, we recommend cleaning and refreshing it every six months and following the care instructions to turn the mattress frequently.

If you suffer from allergies, keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction (runny nose, itchy eyes, dry throat) as these could be signs that it's time to clean your mattress.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to keeping your mattress clean and like new. How to clean a mattress.

How often should I wash my mattress topper or protector?

Mattress topper to place on top of mattress

Mattress toppers and protectors absorb a lot of the sweat, dust, and other dirt that builds up on your mattress, so it's important to wash them regularly — once every two to three months is sufficient.

Mattress toppers and protectors have slightly different functions and therefore slightly different cleaning needs.

Always check the care instructions on the label before you begin washing and follow them if you're unsure.

  • For mattress protectors: Most can be machine washed (40-60°C) with your other bedding. Tumble dry on gentle cycle or hang to dry in a well-ventilated area (or outdoors) until completely dry.
  • For mattress toppers: Gently remove the topper and place it on a flat surface and spray the stain with a 1:1 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar, then blot with paper towels. Sprinkle baking soda on the topper and leave it for a few hours (ideally at least 8 hours), then vacuum it up with a handheld vacuum. Allow to air dry completely and repeat if necessary.

To freshen up your topper or protector between thorough cleanings, most stains can be wiped off with water or a 1:1 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar.

The latter leaves a strong odor behind, so be sure to sprinkle baking soda on your topper or protector and leave it to deodorize before vacuuming.

Let's compare prices of popular mattress toppers.

How to dry bedding

Drying outdoors

The ideal way to dry your bedding is to let it air dry outside. Drying your bedding in ultraviolet light (sunlight) helps kill microorganisms that may live on your sheets.

If you have limited or no outdoor space, or if your winters are cold and rainy, you can try other drying methods. Most importantly, make sure all pieces of your bedding are completely dry before remaking your bed. Dampness and moisture can lead to nasty bacterial growth and mold.

Indoor drying

If you must dry your bedding indoors, make sure it's in a well-ventilated area, preferably with an open window so that air can flow easily.

Hanging sheets over the handrails, using a clothes dryer, or keeping a dehumidifier nearby can also be effective. The best heated clothesline and The best dehumidifier.

If you must hang your bedding over the door, avoid using a cupboard or wardrobe door as this can lead to mould growing in the closet space (which is harder to clean).

Some advice suggests drying sheets over a radiator, but don't do this – it can be a fire hazard, lead to mould and increase your heating bills.

For more information on indoor drying, check out our guide below. The easiest and cheapest way to dry clothes indoors.

Tumble dry

Your bed sheets can probably be machine washed and dried, but if not, check the care label.

Synthetic, hollow fiber, and microfiber duvets are Tumble dryer – If it fits – but be sure to use the cool or air dry setting.

Do not tumble dry wool, silk, feather or down duvets as this can cause them to clump and damage the filling.

A great way to keep your bedding fluffy is to buy tumble dryer balls and add them to the drying cycle, or you can put a tennis ball inside a sock in the dryer for a similar effect.


Is it time to upgrade your bedding? Check out our expert roundup of bedding picks. Best Mattress Topper, The best pillow and The best duvet.


Should I buy a new mattress?

Investing in a mattress topper or protector can help extend the life of your mattress, but if your mattress is really worn out, lumpy, sagging, or has a bad bedbug infestation, you might want to buy a new one for the sake of your sleep and health.

We've tested hundreds of mattresses to help you find the one that's right for you. Mattress reviews See the complete results and top picks. Best Mattress Deals monthly.

Compare prices of popular mattresses.

At Which?, we test thousands of products to not only help you find the perfect product for your home, mattress, washing machine, Tumble dryer, Dehumidifier more.


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