Healthy Sleeping Habits

You Should Be Washing Your Duvet Cover at Least Every Other Week—Yes, Even if You Use a Top Sheet

Photo: Getty Images/ franz12
My personal hell is reassembling my bed after washing my bedding—especially putting my duvet cover back on, which means that's the one piece of my bed linens that's most neglected. I mean, I use a top sheet (usually) so I should be good to wash it like once a month (or every few months), right? Uh, apparently not. Since I just acquired a soft, super pretty duvet cover from Parachute's new organic cotton collection, I figured it was a good time to get it together and start laundering it properly (aka taking care of my nice things). So asked a few pros for advice on how often to wash a duvet cover.

The answer is pretty straightforward: "I would wash it every other week, along with the sheets!" says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut. "Bacteria, dirt, and grime can accumulate making skin irritation a slightly higher risk.”

When you do wash, if possible, Ryan Lupberger, CEO and co-founder of the sustainable cleaning brand Cleancult, recommends washing at a high temperature. "At 60ºC dust mites are killed and this is particularly crucial for asthma and allergy sufferers." This holds true whether or not you use a top sheet (a topic that people have feelings about), because, as Dr. Gohara says, "Top sheets get kicked off, and pushed aside."

Angela Bell, sustainable cleaning expert and Grove Guide at Grove Collaborative, advises that you keep your lifestyle in mind when choosing a duvet cover as it will impact how often you need to wash it as well. "Those fine linens look great on the showroom floor, but may not be the best fit if it is bound to be decorated with grape juice over time,” she says. “Options like organic cotton or bamboo also look great and are sustainable and durable." She recommends laundering your linens weekly if you have oily skin or skin conditions—or a bed busy with kids and pets. Other times you may want to wash your duvet cover more frequently are if you have indoor allergies, or if you sleep with the windows open during allergy season, she says

While washing your duvet cover, address any spots or stains with an enzyme-based stain spray, Bell suggests. And a gentle, liquid laundry detergent is best for your bedding—never bleach, says Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute. "You can get away with using less detergent than the manufacturer recommends, as too much can actually leave your sheets with buildup that will make them stiff.”.

Lupberger agrees, adding that “too much detergent and softeners means too many additives, for your skin and your machine, which can lead to skin irritation as well as build-up on the washer over time that can result in mold and mildew growth," he says. He recommends using a dye-free, fragrance-free, allergen-free detergent.

If you need help remembering how often to wash your duvet cover, take Dr. Gohara’s mantra to heart: "Once every other week is green and clean!"

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