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How Often Should You Really Clean All Your Bedding?

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how often do you clean your bed - boys jumping on mattress

Most people spend a third of their entire life sleeping. That’s enough reason to make sure you’re keeping your bed clean and in order! I was shocked at how often (or not so often) you should be cleaning each layer of your bed, so I’m here to break it down for you!

What’s actually on your bed?

how often to clean your bed - microscopic germs bacteria cells virus

If we’re going to get down and dirty with all the details, I first need to fill you in on what you’re actually sleeping with besides your spouse. 😉 Under all those throw pillows and ruffles, there are dust mites, dead skin cells, sweat, and tons and tons of bacteria. Some studies show that your pillows have more germs than a toilet seat. 😨 And now I know you’re probably thinking the same thing I did… How can I do a better job keeping my bed clean?!  

Layer 1: Mattress

how often to clean your bed - two mattresses

Take good care of your mattress. This is your foundation, the part that you actually need – plus, you’ll have it for years! Sure it’s easy to swap out sheets and pillows if they get too dirty, but buying a new mattress all the time certainly isn’t practical or necessary.

sara holding baking soda box with bed and pillows in the background

How often should I clean my mattress?

It’s recommended that you wash your bed every 6 months or for a more frequent schedule, you can clean it when the seasons change. Here are some great cleaning tips:

  • Flip your mattress. Depending on the mattress, you may not be able to flip it over completely. In that case, I would recommend rotating it so that the foot end is now at the top.
  • Vacuum your mattress. This will help get rid of dead skin cells and bacteria living on the surface that tend to build up over time.
  • Freshen up your mattress. You can easily deodorize the surface by sprinkling the bare surface with baking soda. Let sit for an hour and vacuum with your vacuum attachment.

mattress store with new mattresses on display sears clearance

When should I toss it?

It’s recommended by The National Sleep Foundation to replace your mattress every 8 to 10 years due to regular wear and tear.

Layer 2: Sheets

how often to wash bedding - white sheets

How often should I clean my sheets?

Your sheets are the part of your bed you actually touch most frequently. This includes your pillowcases, fitted sheets, and regular bed sheet. These should be washed about every week to two weeks. If you tend to sweat a lot in your sleep, like my kids, you should consider washing the sheets every week.

various sheetsets at target room essentials brand

When should I replace my sheets?

Over time, the fibers making up your sheets will begin to break down from frequent use and washing. This will result in thinning fabric, small tears in the stitching, or eventually holes. This is inevitable, so how often you’re washing and using your sheets will determine their lifespan and when it’s time for a new set. Using bleach on white sheets will also significantly decrease your sheets’ longevity and can even cause them to change to off-white rather than a brighter white.

Layer 3: Sleeping pillows

sleeping pillows without cover on bed

How often should I clean my pillows?

Your pillows are an important role in your sleep and help support your head throughout the night. That said, they also absorb dead skin cells and body fluids like oils, sweat, and drool each time you sleep on them. Absorbing these on a daily basis, regardless if you have a cover on your pillow or not, takes a toll on the freshness – and can even result in dust mites populating inside all that fluff. That’s why it’s recommended to wash your pillow about every 6 months

ralph lauren pillows on bed in packaging

When should I replace my pillows? 

If you’re always waking up with neck pain, it may be time to replace your pillow or find one that’s the perfect fit for you. Over time, pillows will lose their shape or become lumpy. If you have a down pillow, it may become flat and constantly need fluffing, which means it’s time for a new one. Overall, The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your frequently used pillows every one to two years.     

Layer 4: Quilts and duvet covers

how often to wash bedding - duvet insert coverlet bedroom essentials

How often should I clean my duvets and quilts? 

Many people use their larger duvets as decoration and therefore do not need to be washed as often as other bedding essentials. If you’re using sheets, as a result, your body is not coming into contact with your quilts, coverlets, and duvet covers. While duvets are placed on the top of your bed, they do collect dust, but they don’t typically collect bodily fluids like the rest of the bed. Therefore, washing it just once a month is sufficient enough. For your coverlets and quilts that are your middle layer and much thinner, you can get away with washing these just a couple of times a year.

duvet insert bed bath and beyond

When should I replace my duvet insert?

Whether you have a down-filled or a down-alternative insert, you may notice that over time the filling settles into the corners or becomes lumpy. In this case, it can affect your sleep when regulating your body temperature and should be replaced.

Layer 5: Decorative Pillows

how often to clean your bed - clean bedding pillows sara's master bedroom

How often should I clean my decorative pillows?

These are pillows that only see the light of day, meaning, they’re just for decoration when the bed is made! Therefore, I would only recommend to spot clean as needed and wash every few weeks to maintain freshness.

bed bath and beyond showroom bed with decorative pillows

When should I replace my decorative pillows?

While there’s no direct answer for this question since each person’s use for decorative pillows can vary, I would still suggest getting new inserts or pillows every couple of years. Changing out your decorative pillows seasonally is also a great time to wash them and replace them with new ones until it’s time to get them back out again.

When was the last time you bought a new mattress?

Let me know in the comments below!

Sara (sara@hip2behome.com) loves sharing decor that inspires people on a budget and finds joy in traveling to new places.

Up Next: I’m a Decorative Pillow Maximalist! How Extreme Is Your Pillow Obsession?

Sara is an evergreen content specialist & photographer specializing in home decor deals & shopping tips. She wants to live on a boat.

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Comments 17

  1. Jeremiah2911

    Looks like I’ve got some cleaning to do;) I do like to mix some EO’s into baking soda before dusting over the bed-works great for kid/pet accidents too!

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Good to know! 🙂

    • Dorothy

      What’s an EO? Might sound silly 😜 but I am clue?

      • Karen

        Essential oils would be my guess??

  2. ann

    We purchased a new mattress about 4 years ago. Our old one was too saggy. I thought I wanted a nice firm one but it was really firm and I had to get a soft topper to put on it so my back would not hurt.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing! We used a topper on our previous mattress. I feel like it helped us get more use out of it, before having to purchase a new one.

  3. nea

    I have been reading about sprinkling baking soda on your carpets and let it sit for an hour before vacuuming. I heard it from people who have been doing it for a while. I was about to do it when my husband said it would ruin my vacuum. Sure enough. I googled it and that’s what they say. Can anyone confirm? I did watch some Youtube videos of people who do use baking soda and at some point they had to replace their vacuum, but they didn’t say why…. I want to do it, but can’t afford to buy a new vacuum every year either.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      That is interesting! We’ll be sure to look into that, Nea! Thanks for asking!

    • Corina Mora

      We were told not to vacuum up powdered substances as well. I was constantly using Arm and Hammer carpet powder for pets and the repairman for our vacuum said to stop. This was years ago when we used a vacuum with a bag, so maybe a bagless one would work differently. I haven’t attempted since that advice.

  4. Corina Mora

    We bought a Nectar mattress. The company offers a 365 day return policy and many reviews were positive. Our old mattress was a Serta Posturpedic pillow top and we started to ache everywhere in the morning after a night on it, but it was 11 yrs old. The Nectar mattress is memory foam and gets delivered for free. Once it is unrolled, we had to stay off it for 24-36 hrs while it rises to it’s normal height. We did not think the odor from the plastic was terrible, but it was there for the first day or so. That was back in July and so far, we are waking up without the aches and soreness as before. The company also included two memory foam pillows. We do not use these, we like softer pillows. The best part is this Nectar mattress was $700! It amazes me, considering we were looking into a $3,000 Sleep Number bed, before our purchase.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! What a great deal! SO glad to hear how much you have been loving your new mattress! Thanks a bunch for sharing your experience with us, Corina!

    • vmm

      the $800 sleep number beds have fantastic reviews too though…and a 25 yr warranty!

  5. Robeiro

    Do people even use waterproof zippered, sealed mattress covers anymore? No need to go through the trouble of vacuuming a completely air-tight, sealed mattress. My vacuum is entirely too disgusting to use on my mattress.
    However, I know most people are gross with their mattress. Other day saw a neighbor loading their mattress onto their truck with no cover, sheet or protection whatsoever. The thought of all the pollen, pollution and gross stuff flying onto it on any freeway makes me wonder. Yuck!

    • R

      I think most people use the vacuum attachments on their mattress – I don’t see it as being much different than vacuuming your furniture, which I hope most people do, as well. Re your neighbors, where were they going with the mattress? Maybe it wasn’t being used again?

    • Angie

      I totally agree with everything you said. I have always used fabric-topped waterproof mattress covers on all our mattresses and wash those every month. I have doubles so I don’t have to wait until the whole wash is done to make the bed. I also use zippered waterproof pillowcase covers and wash those every couple of months. My husband and I don’t get into bed without showering beforehand and brought our kids up that way too. I have to laugh when I find my son, who is now grown, sleeping on the floor because he got in late and was too tired to take a shower. I can’t even fathom moving a mattress without covering it in plastic.

  6. Jdoyle

    the week of labor day I broke down and replaced my too old to mention mattress set wit a Sealy Hybrid. So glad I did. its a little firm but I sleep like a log! if you leave a review they send you a new $100 pillow

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Great score! SO glad you are loving your new mattress!

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