When it comes to household items that need washing, it’s hard to find a subject more divisive than bedding. Some people wash their pillows and sheets every week, while others freshen up on a monthly basis. Others, however, never wash their bedding!
Canstar Blue recently conducted a survey of Australian adults to find out how often people wash their pillows and pillowcases.
For pillowcases, most of us are pretty good at washing them. Just over half (53%) of the 2033 adults we surveyed revealed that they wash their pillowcases weekly, and 25% wash them fortnightly. So 88% of us in total wash our pillowcases at least every two weeks. At the other end of the spectrum, just 1% of respondents admitted that they never wash their pillowcases, while a further 2% will go several months between washes. So it seems most Australians consider it an important thing to do. But as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts…
Everyone knows about washing pillowcases, but did you know that you should also regularly wash your pillows, too? A lot of Aussies clearly don’t. The survey found that 29% of adults NEVER wash their pillows, and 26% do so only a couple of times a year at most.
So, how often should you really be washing your pillows and pillowcases? Let’s find out.
How often should you wash your pillowcases?
In an ideal world, you should probably clean your pillowcases every 2 or 3 days! This is because mould and bacteria breeds in beds, and your pillowcases collect dead skin from your head in the night, even if you don’t notice it.
If you don’t change or launder your pillowcases regularly, all that build-up of dirt and oil will be transferred right back onto your skin, which could cause itchiness and blemishes.
So, despite more than 50% of Aussies washing their pillowcases every week, it still might not be often enough! However, unless you have any serious concerns, the advice from experts appears to be that washing your pillowcases every week or two will be fine.
How often should you wash your pillows?
When it comes to pillows themselves, it seems you have a bit more leeway. The advice here is that washing your pillows at least a couple of times a year is a smart move from a hygiene perspective. Washing your pillows every now and then can also ensure they last for a good few years, as constant use will likely render their filling uneven over time.
How often should you wash your bed sheets?
The general rule of thumb, according to various sources such as Cleanipedia, is that you should wash your sheets alongside your pillowcases, at least every couple of weeks. Humans shed more than a million skin cells into our beds every night! Unless you’re keen on sharing your bed with old, dead skin that’s gathering all manner of hidden nasties, you’ll want to take this advice.
So, we know it needs doing, but what is the best way to wash your bedding?
How to wash your bedding
Throw everything in the washing machine? Well, yes, but if you want the best cleaning results possible, there is a little more to it than that!
- Before doing anything, check the labels on every item to make sure you aren’t ignoring any crucial instructions.
- Make sure that there is enough room inside your washing machine for all of your sheets and pillowcases. They need their own space otherwise they won’t be cleaned properly.
- When it comes to wash settings, it’s best to select a low setting on a low temperature, as hot temperatures can cause your bedding to shrink over time. You can wash light-coloured items at any temperature, so long as the wash setting is set on low.
- The rest of the process is similar to washing clothes. Separate the whites from the darks so the colours don’t run, and add your favourite laundry detergent If your sheets or pillowcases have stains on them, it’s best to pre-treat these stains by washing them separately.
- Once the washing is done, it’s best to dry your bedding outdoors where your sheets and pillowcases can breathe and get some fresh air. If you need to throw them in the clothes dryer, be sure to follow the drying instructions on the label. High drying temperatures can cause shrinking and wrinkling, and can weaken the fibres. How often should you replace these items?
How often should you replace your pillows?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, pillows collect an awful lot of dirt, oil, sweat and skin cells, so numerous experts like the Sleep Council recommend replacing your pillows every two to three years.
Of course, if you take good care of them, they can last longer, but usually you’ll begin to notice a loss of shape or plumpness over time, which could contribute if you suffer with neck pain.
Thankfully, sheets, duvets and pillowcases don’t have to be replaced as often. Since they can (and should!) be washed more frequently, these items can survive for up to five years before you should look at getting new ones.