Warm weather may mean more rooftop cocktails and outdoor workouts, but it also means there’s a whole lot more sweat on your body by the time sunset rolls around. So when you get into bed at night in the months from May to October, chances are you’re bringing more dirt and grime than in the cooler months.
"We spend 56 hours per week in our sheets—that’s a lot of time,” says sleep educator Terry Cralle, RN. "There is a natural accumulation of microorganisms in bedding as people constantly shed skin, saliva, and hair.” In the spring and summer, heat and humidity provide the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive, which means they’re likely joining you while you sleep. Oh, and since it's allergy season, pollen from the air can get in there with you, too, which means it’s basically a full-on microscopic mixer every night. So how often should you be washing your sheets in the heat?
Keep scrolling to find out how often you should clean your bedding in the spring and summer.
First things first: There is a difference in the frequency with which you should wash your bedding. "In the winter, it's perfectly acceptable to change your sheets every other week," explains Jean Calleja of The Eco Laundry Company. During the warmer months, though, that doesn’t cut it. "We recommend a weekly routine in the spring and summer as we have a tendency to sweat much more,” she confirms.
Pillow cases should be swapped every week, regardless of the season (your face has bacteria that transfer directly to it), and duvet covers should always be washed every other week. As for the oft-overlooked items, which can also be loaded with some of the creepy crawlies, Calleja suggests washing pillows every six weeks and comforter inserts every month.
"There are all sorts of things lurking in your sheets, pillows, and comforters that you may not be aware of, and they could pose a threat to your health if cleanliness isn't maintained, and your bedding properly laundered,” she says. According to Cralle, all those dust mites, bacteria, fungi, and pollen on dirty sheets can cause nasal congestion, stuffiness, runny nose, scratchy throat, allergies, provoke asthma, and worsen eczema and acne. Yikes.
To wash properly, research shows that hot water is an effective way to kill dust mites and other allergens. Calleja also suggests using gentle hypoallergenic, phosphate-free soaps and chlorine-free whitening powder when necessary. Because TBH, if you’re going to spend 56 hours a week in your sheets—which is basically all of your free time, not counting the hours you’ll spend at the beach or sipping rosé on rooftops—you may as well keep them as fresh and clean as possible.
If Fido sleeps in your bed with you, there are a few more things you should know about washing your sheets. And if you're ready to swap your sheets for something brand new, consider going all out for a top-to-bottom bedroom makeover for under $100.
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