How Often Should You Change Bed Linens?

When it comes to home cleanliness, one question you might ask yourself is, “How often should I change my bed linens?” We’ll answer this question, explain why you need to change your sheets, and provide tips on choosing the right bed linens and caring for them.

General Recommendations

According to a New York Times article, you should change your bedding once a week, while the Cleveland Clinic recommends washing and changing your sheets at least every two weeks. These are general guidelines, so you might need to adjust based on personal circumstances. For example, if you don’t sleep in your bed every night, perhaps because of travel or work schedules, you might extend the time between linen changes. On the other hand, in the hot summer months or if you have pets that sleep in your bed, you might need to change your linens more frequently than the standard recommendation, especially if they often occupy a twin mattress in a guest room or a child’s bedroom.

Why Do You Need to Change Your Sheets?

Changing your bed sheets regularly is more than just a task on your household chore list. It’s an essential practice for maintaining a healthy living environment. Here’s why it’s important to keep your bedding fresh:


Each night, the human body sheds millions of skin cells, which accumulate in our mattresses. Additionally, we produce body oils and sweat, which can soak into the fabric of our sheets. This creates an ideal breeding ground for microscopic bacteria and dust mites that feed on skin flakes. Regularly changing your sheets helps minimize these build-ups, keeping your sleeping area clean and hygienic.


Clean sheets are essential if you’re suffering from allergies or respiratory issues. Dust mites, pet dander and pollen can cling to your sheets and pillowcases, aggravating symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes and congestion. Washing your sheets regularly helps remove these allergens, potentially reducing allergy symptoms and contributing to a healthier respiratory environment.

Skin Care

Dirty sheets can be a nightmare for skin health. As oils, sweat and skin cells accumulate on your bedding, they can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Clean sheets are crucial to avoid irritations and flare-ups if you have sensitive skin or conditions like eczema. Using hypoallergenic detergents and fabric softeners can also play a significant role in maintaining skin health.

Sleep Quality

The impact of clean bedding on sleep cannot be overstated. Climbing into a bed with fresh, clean sheets can instantly make you feel more relaxed and comfortable, setting the stage for a better night’s sleep. The tactile sensation of smooth, clean linens against your skin can help reduce stress and soothe your mind, promoting quicker and deeper sleep. Additionally, the absence of irritants such as dust, mites and bodily residues in your bedding can prevent disruptions during the night, such as itching or sneezing.

Preventing Infections

Fresh sheets can help prevent the spread of infection, especially when recovering from an illness. Germs can live on surfaces, including bedding, for extended periods. Regularly changing and washing your sheets in hot water can kill these pathogens, helping you recover faster and preventing the spread of illness to others in your home.

Choosing the Right Linens

Understanding the differences between materials and their properties can help you choose comfortable, durable and easy-to-maintain sheets.

  • Cotton: If you prefer breathable and soft sheets, cotton is an excellent choice. It’s ideal if you sleep hot, as cotton sheets absorb moisture and promote air circulation. You can wash cotton frequently without compromising its comfort or appearance, making it suitable if you prefer or need to change sheets weekly.
  • Polyester: Consider polyester sheets for a durable option that resists wrinkles and shrinkage. While they may not offer the same breathability as cotton, polyester sheets dry quickly and are less prone to staining. This makes them a practical choice for a busy household, as they require less frequent changes and are easier to maintain.
  • Blends: Blended fabrics, like cotton-polyester, aim to offer the best of both durability and breathability. These sheets are generally easier to care for than pure cotton and are less likely to wrinkle, which means your bed can look neat with reduced maintenance needs.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo sheets are becoming more popular due to their softness and eco-friendly properties. They’re also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, beneficial for allergies or sensitive skin. Although bamboo sheets may require more delicate care, their excellent moisture-wicking properties help keep your bedding fresh and hygienic for longer.

Practical Tips for Managing Linen Changes

Here are some practical tips to keep your linen changes consistent and effective:

  • Set a schedule: Consistency is key when it comes to linen hygiene. Designate a specific day of the week for changing your bed linens — such as every Sunday — to make it a regular part of your household routine. This habit ensures you never go too long between changes, keeping your sleeping environment clean and fresh.
  • Coordinate with laundry days: Plan to change your linens on days when you do other laundry to streamline your tasks. This way, bed linens can go straight from your bed into the wash, reducing the clutter around your laundry area and making the process more efficient.
  • Proper storage: Keep your extra linens in a cool, dry place to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Use breathable storage solutions, such as linen closets or cotton storage bags, instead of plastic bins, which can trap moisture and lead to musty-smelling fabrics.
  • Maintain freshness: Consider adding dried lavender or cedar blocks in your storage areas to keep linens smelling fresh between changes. These natural options ward off pests and give off a pleasant scent to your linens.

Maintaining fresh bed linens is more than a routine. It’s a commitment to your health, comfort and well-being. Whether you do it weekly or bi-weekly, this practice ensures a clean and inviting sleep environment.