Your bedding may look clean, but is it? More often than not, bedding can quickly become coated with human skin, hair, bodily secretions, pet hair, allergens… We could go on.
We dove into the research to figure out how often people truly should wash their bedding and here is what we discovered.
How often should you wash your bedding?
In general, you should wash bedding weekly. This includes washing all sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bedcovers. All bedding should be washed in hot water that’s at least 130 fahrenheit (54.4 celsius). This hot temperature ensures that dust mites are killed and allergens are removed. If you can’t or prefer to not wash your bedding in hot water, you also can place bedding in a dryer at the same temperature for 15 minutes prior to washing.
We also discovered multiple studies that examine how allergens, human skin, etc. can accumulate on bedding. This information, which we present below, leads us to agree that frequent bedding washing is important.
Allergens accumulate on bedding
A study in the journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that bedroom allergen exposures are high. This is because people, in general, spend a lot of time in bed. And while in bed, people are in “close proximity” to “allergen reservoirs,” aka bedding. Also, airborne particles can be inhaled during sleep.
According to the Immunology journal article, almost 99 percent of study participants had at least one allergen in their home; 74.2 percent had three to six allergens. These high percentages demonstrate why it’s important to launder bedding frequently.
Washing does work
Another study in the journal Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that washing with a simple laundry detergent at 25 degrees celsius (77 fahrenheit) for 5 minutes could effectively remove mite allergen and cat allergen from bedding dust. The study stated that normal laundering is an inexpensive and effective way to “reduce allergen reservoirs.”
Sometimes prevention works
In addition to cleaning, people could consider using pillow, mattress, etc. “encasements.” According to an article in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, minimizing allergen exposure via encasements kept allergens on pillows, bedding at bay. In fact, these encasements helped improve asthma control in adult asthma patients
Going beyond bedding
The following are simple ways to clean your mattress:
Vacuum: Use your vacuum’s upholstery tool to vacuum your mattress every few months when your sheets are removed and in the wash. Make sure you go over the mattress top, sides, and bed spring. For an extra cleaning kick, add baking soda to the mix. Just sprinkle it on your mattress, let it sit for a few minutes, and vacuum it up.
Spot cleaning: Spray stained areas with a dish detergent mix; use 50 percent water and 50 percent dish detergent. Let the solution sit and then scrub it thoroughly.
Eliminate odors: Spray the mattress or affected area with vinegar. If you are concerned about the vinegar smell, Febreeze works as a good odor eliminator, too.