Should You Be Changing Your Sheets Every Week?

how often to wash sheets

Graphic by Giovanna Chung/KCM

According to experts, you might want to reconsider your sheet washing routine.

There’s nothing better than walking into your bedroom after a long day and being able to crawl into a clean, crisp, comfortable bed. For a lot of us, sadly, that isn’t often the case. While you may be changing your sheets every couple of weeks (or less, we won’t judge), it’s actually better to do so even more often. We talked to Brooklinen’s director of design and product development, Katie Elks, to find out just how often we should really be washing our sheets to make sure they’re clean and smelling fresh.

How often should you wash your sheets? 

Even though you spend (hopefully) eight hours a night sleeping in your sheets, you don’t need to change them every single week: Elks recommends washing your sheets every two weeks. It also helps to alternate sets when you do change them — that way, each set has a couple of weeks to “rest” between washes and uses. “If you sweat a lot in your sleep, I recommend cleansing sheets more often than biweekly, since dirt and sweat can break down fibers and damage the fabric,” Elks says. Sweat can also leave behind an odor and yellow stain, so it’s best to wash more often than not if you’re a hot sleeper. 

If you use a comforter, make sure to keep it in a duvet cover. That way, sweat and oil from your body don’t get all over your actual comforter, but get on a cover that’s more easily washed. 

How to wash sheets

You should always check the washing instructions on your sheets (and anything else you plan to wash), but as a general rule, Elks says to wash in cool or cold water if your sheets are cotton, like percale or sateen, with a mild detergent. You can hang them to dry or put them in the dryer on low. If you have some yellowing on white sheets, you can use a non-chlorine bleach alternative to help treat the stains.

If your sheets are made of something more delicate, like cashmere or linen, still use cold water and a mild detergent, and tumble dry low. However, never use bleach on these fabrics, even if you have a tough stain.

What are the best sheet fabrics?

It may be a no-brainer, but sheets made with high-quality fabrics will last longer. Fabrics made with long-staple fibers (which are soft and strong) are durable and stand up to multiple washes. Look for sheets made from long-staple cotton, like percale or sateen.

How often should you change your pillowcases? 

Because your pillowcases absorb more sweat and oil than the rest of your sheets, it’s actually better to change and wash them more often than your flat and fitted sheets. The weight of your head also wears the fibers in the fabric down more quickly. 

Not only will washing your pillowcases frequently keep your pillows lasting longer, but this habit is better for your skin. Elks recommends washing your pillowcases about once a week, which is why it’s handy to have a couple extra sets of pillowcases to swap out each week.

How can you keep sheets smelling fresh? 

Between washes, spraying your sheets with a fabric spray or deodorizer can help make them smell like they’re straight out of the washer. We love this one by The Laundress for that fresh linen scent. 

When you store your sheets, they can absorb the scent of the things around them. To keep them from smelling musty, store sheets in a breathable drawstring bag. It will protect them from dust but also allow moisture to escape. 

To prevent wrinkles and creases, take your sheets out of the dryer while they’re just the slightest bit damp. Lay them flat to dry, smoothing them to prevent any creases. 

Now that we know to wash our sheets at least every two weeks, here are some high-quality sets that will last through lots of washes.

High-Quality and Long-Lasting Sheets

Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set

Soft and silky to the touch, these percale sheets will stay crisp even after dozens of washes. They come in 14 different colors and patterns, one of which is sure to go with your current bedroom set. Percale is a great material for hot sleepers, as it has a cool feel and wicks heat away from your body as you sleep.

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Parachute Percale Sheet Set

Parachute is known for its beautiful linen sheets, but they also carry percale sheets, too. These come in eight neutral colors, perfect to create a calm vibe in the bedroom. These are on the pricier side, but they may be the last set of sheets you’d have to buy for a few years.

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Ettitude Signature Sateen Sheet Set

Bamboo is a sustainable alternative to cotton, and it’s just as cooling. These sateen sheets from Ettitude feel like silk without the lofty price tag or delicate care requirements. Plus, these use 500 times less water than cotton sheets to produce.

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Cozy Earth Linen Bamboo Sheet Set

Combine the softness of linen and coolness of bamboo and you get this gorgeous combination. These offer the textured look of linen, without the pilling. And if you tend to sweat while you’re sleeping, the fabric will wick away the heat and ensure you’re cool throughout the night.

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Boll & Branch Signature Hemmed Sheet Set

Recreate your favorite hotel getaway with these luxurious sheets. Boll & Branch creates sheets from organic cotton free of pesticides and other toxins. These have the added detail of a wide hem on the flat sheet and pillowcases that always look crisp.

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