Sheets, pillows, duvets, blankets, oh my! There are so many pieces that help make a bed our number one escape after a long day. We are often faced with the question on how often we should wash these items and the best way to do it without losing their softness and comfortability. However, caring for your bedding is just as important as washing your clothes, and truthfully, it is a bit scary to know how gross they can get without proper care.
Sheets and Pillowcases
Sheets and pillowcases are what make up the core of our bedding. The truth is, bed sheets and pillowcases can rack up a serious amount of sweat, body oils, dead skin cells, saliva, dirt from outside…do you want me to keep going? Bottom line is yes, they’re completely filthy and we’re sleeping on it! Infrequent cleaning allows this bacteria to seep into the pillows and mattresses, and those are much more difficult to clean than throwing some sheets into the washer. That being said, we should be washing our sheets and pillowcases once a week at a minimum.
The most efficient way to wash this type of bedding is in warm or cold water, as hot water can shrink them or wear them out quickly. Use non-chlorine bleach, as other bleach can break down fibers, and tumble-dry on medium heat. For a deeper clean, dry sheets and pillowcases in direct sunlight, as UV light is effective in killing micro-organisms.
When we think of washing pillows, many people brush it off because we have our pillowcases protecting them. Well, while they may seem effective from the outside, that’s not necessarily the case. Even with a protective case, your pillow can be filled with dust mites, body oils, and spit. Exposure to any of these contaminants can cause illness or allergies. Our pillows double in weight over time from absorbing dust, mold, bacteria, and dead skin. We should be washing them every year to avoid sleeping in what could be a true horror.
Pillows can be a challenge to clean, especially since each one may have a different method (dry clean vs. machine washable). If you can wash them at home, use a mild and only a half amount of detergent. Warm or cold water is best on a gentle cycle to avoid altering the pillow structure. You want to complete the rinse cycle one or two more times to ensure all the soap residue is removed, and then spin an extra time to extract as much water as possible. Finally, dry it on low, which may take a few hours, dependent on the type of pillow you have.
Blankets and Quilts
Blankets and quilts are what keep us warm and toasty at night, but what lies beneath the surface is downright frightening! If not cared for regularly, they can be covered in germs, which poses a serious health hazard. To avoid this, cleaning them once a month is suggested.
Most bedding can be washed at home with a mild detergent and warm or cool water. It is recommended to run the comforter through two rinse cycles to make sure there are no lingering soap particles. When drying, put on low heat and run a few times, depending on the thickness of your blanket. If you have a down comforter, put some dryer balls in with the load to prevent the feathers from clumping in one area.
Studies show that duvets can harbor both live and dead dust mites, skin, and sweat, which can lead to nasty reactions and infections. Yuck! Duvets are typically protected by a cover, which should be regarded like a sheet when it comes to cleaning. If you solely use a duvet, washing should occur once a year, as too much laundering can lead to excessive wear and tear.
Many manufacturers recommend taking your duvet to the dry cleaners, however it is possible to wash it at home as long as your machine is a large-capacity front-loader. Use half of the usual amount of a mild detergent and place it in the dryer.
Sleeping on millions of bacteria every night might make you feel a bit squirmy but there are ways to avoid the discomfort of a spooky situation. Don’t forget to keep track of the cleaning schedule for your bedding so you’re don’t cuddling up with what can potentially be a nightmare. Happy Halloween!
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