According to a YouGov poll, one in 20 of us wash our bed linens only every four weeks, while one-third of us change them every 14 days.
Is that enough to maintain a good hygiene?
What are the general guidelines from experts?
Let us find out.
How often to wash your linens is a very personal choice that depends on your life’s circumstances. Your personal hygiene, allergies, climatic conditions, access to laundry are some of the factors that decide how often to change your linens. But if you are looking for a general guideline, this might help.
Experts recommend your bed linen has to be changed on a weekly basis. Of course, if you love the smell of fresh linen, you could change it more often or on the other hand if changing them is a chore that you hate, then you could drag it up to 2 weeks at maximum. However, during summer, its best to stick to the weekly schedule.
That being said, it is advised to change the linen sooner if its stained or if any of your family members have just recovered from a period of sickness.
Pillows and comforters are often ignored while cleaning. Many families use it for years without washing and discard them after 2-3 years. But when you do so, your pillows actually becoming a breeding ground for various germs. That is why it is advisable to wash your pillows and comforters every 6 months. You could toss 2 pillows at a time in to the washing machine in “No spin” setting so as not to keep its shape intact. Be sure to completely air dry all beddings before use.
Beds should be vacuumed every 3-4 months to contain the growth of dust mites.
Dust mites & Allergy
People often don't realize that their bed sheets are infested with dust mites which are invisible to naked eye. Though it doesn't bite you, its fecal matter and decomposed bodies contain a certain type of protein that can trigger allergies even in those who are not dust allergic. In fact, dust mites are considered as the most significant type of indoor pollution and is one of the main causes of allergies, asthma attacks and eczema.
This is one of the main reasons why your bed sheets should be washed at minimum of 60 degree Celsius every week and all beddings be regularly cleaned. If any of the family members are particularly sensitive, use hypo allergic pillows and comforters.
Bath towels being warm, wet and neutral pH has the ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria, mold and germs, and you know what else you are wiping those towels with.
So, wash it after every 3-4 uses (not every 3-4 days) and in between every use, air dry it completely. If it gets a musty odour because of moisture, wash it sooner.
Never share your bath towels with others as it may lead to your body coming in contact with organisms it is not used to dealing with, which can in turn lead to boils, pimples or other infections.
Hand towels have to be changed every 2-3 days as it a breeding ground for bacteria. It is used by multiple people and often people dry hands which aren’t completely clean, and there could be food residues too. So, considering what all could be there on those innocent looking hand towels, the more frequent your change, the better.
Kitchen towels, just like hand towels have to be washed every 2-3 days. It collects food residues, food stains and leading to bacteria growth and odour. Moreover, considering that kitchen towels are in close proximity with food, it is best to maintain its hygiene strictly.
Bath mats reek of dead skin, moisture, soap and is in fact one of the dirtiest things you have at home, yet it is often ignored while cleaning.
If you have a bath mat inside your bathroom, clean it every 1-2 weeks. But if you have one outside and it isn’t wet all the time, then, clean it every 2-3 months at least.
While most of the home linens attract moisture and other bodily odours, curtains collect dust both from within the house and from outside. Hence, ensure that you wash your curtains every 6-12 months, depending on how dusty your home gets.
If anyone in your family is allergic to dust, you may have to consider vacuuming it frequently. Resist the urge to wash the curtain more frequently, as it could damage your curtains quickly.
Check out our comprehensive review of best washing machines