In the age of screens and stress, good sleep habits are a popular topic. And, while most of us grownups know that we shouldn’t be taking espresso shots before climbing into bed and then doom scrolling ourselves to sleep, do we all know how to encourage good sleep hygiene through cleanliness?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, we each spend between 49 and 60+ hours in our beds every week. That’s just time spent sleeping. What about time spent watching TV, reading, or snacking? Crumbs or no crumbs, our bodies are still leaving behind a lot of dead skin cells, sweat, body oils, and dirt. Ick! When that’s left to build up on our bedding for a week… or two… or more… it exacerbates acne, skin rashes, or triggers asthma and allergy problems. Fortunately, we can limit that health-harming build up according to our individual needs right at home with our very own washing machines!
How to Wash a Comforter
In the past, all comforters required dry cleaning or a trip to the laundromat for a ride in a commercial-sized washing machine tumbler. But today, many modern washing machines are up to the task of bulky comforters. So, unless the care instructions on your comforter explicitly read “Dry Clean Only,” or “Hand Wash Only,” you are encouraged to give it a machine wash about once every 2 to 3 months in the hottest water possible.
Because of their bulk, comforters should be machine washed on their own, so hold back on adding in that towel or pillowcase. And make sure it fits into the tumbler of your washing machine with a little room to spare. After the wash, pop it into the dryer with some tennis balls or wool dryer balls. The balls and intermittent fluffing during the drying cycle will ensure the filling is distributed properly.
How to Wash Bed Sheets
In general, bed sheets should be washed about once a week. Some of us can extend that to every other week. But, considering how many of us keep pets at home and/or suffer asthma and allergies, most of us should wash our sheets about every four days. It’s true! Changing bed sheets twice a week reduces exposure to all that build up mentioned above plus dust mites. Now, it’s impossible to get rid of dust mites completely, but it is possible to manage their numbers and that’s by washing sheets in the hottest water possible twice a week.
If you are an asthma or allergy sufferer, your doctor may have different recommendations for your washing schedule. Be sure to follow their directions for the healthiest results. And always check the manufacturer’s care instructions for your fabrics to ensure you get the longest life possible out of all your bedding. Cooler water can protect colors and fabrics, but hot water (or machine drying) is required to kill dust mites.
Now, climb in to that cool, clean bedding and close your eyes. Breathe deep and enjoy the fragrance of freshly washed sheets. There aren’t too many things that feel quite like it.
Noyed, D. (2020, October 16). How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets? Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedding-information/how-often-should-you-wash-your-sheets