There are plenty of benefits to choosing a duvet over a comforter or traditional quilt. More versatile than heavier types of bedding, duvets make it easy to bring a whole new look to your bedroom. Duvet covers are typically made from two cloth panels that enclose the duvet by zipping or buttoning together, allowing users to swap out one protective cover for another. While duvets themselves may require dry cleaning, most duvet covers call for only basic laundering and care.
So, how do you know when it’s time to change your duvet cover? That may depend on multiple factors. Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.
Why Change Your Duvet Cover?
Decorative duvet covers make it a snap to breathe new life into tired decor, change your bedroom’s current color scheme, or freshen up a guest room. A duvet cover can also provide additional warmth during the cold winter months, depending on the fabric type and thickness. Some people prefer to use lightweight cotton duvet covers in the spring and summer, switching to heavier flannel fabrics when the temperature drops in the fall.
In addition to style and function, there are several health-related reasons to change your bedding on a regular basis. Without regular laundering, skin oils and body care products like lotions and cosmetics tend to accumulate on blankets and sheets. Oil buildup may lead to breakouts or worsen current skin conditions. Dirty bedding can also make you sick. Soiled linens may spread serious infections like MRSA and cause a host of respiratory issues. Over time, unwashed fabric collects microscopic particles such as dead skin cells, bacteria, and pet dander, along with human and animal hair, lint, and a host of other allergens, including the dangerous aspergillus fumigatus fungus.
The Link Between Bedding and Allergies
If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, a dust mite allergy — and your duvet cover — could be at fault. Dust mites are tiny, insect-like creatures that thrive in warm, dusty environments like bedding and carpets, where they eat dead human skin cells. These microscopic bugs can trigger a host of symptoms in sensitive individuals, from coughing and sneezing to sinusitis and chronic under-eye circles. People with asthma may be especially susceptible to dust mite allergies.
Allergies can also make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. A significant percentage of allergy sufferers also struggle with insomnia and fatigue. According to the National Sleep Foundation, allergic rhinitis is a strong risk factor for sleep apnea and snoring among children, both of which are linked to difficulties in school.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate dust mites from a home. However, you can reduce their numbers and ease your allergy symptoms by changing and washing your bedding on a regular basis.
How Often Should You Change Your Duvet Cover?
In general, you should change bedding once a week to avoid allergen buildup. Research indicates that the easiest way to remove dust mites from fabric is to wash the items in hot water at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for around five minutes. However, bedding that does not come into direct contact with the skin, such as quilts, duvets, and duvet covers can be washed less frequently, from every two weeks to about every month. If you don’t have time to wash and dry your duvet cover, a 15-minute tumble in the dryer on high heat will also get rid of any lurking dust mites.
Other Factors to Consider
Although duvet covers need to be changed less frequently than fitted sheets or pillowcases, allergy sufferers may wish to do so more often. If your allergies are particularly severe, you could benefit from using a hypoallergenic duvet cover. Typically made from tightly woven cotton, these specialty covers attract and hold fewer particles than other materials, creating an inhospitable environment for dust mites and mold spores.
While hypoallergenic duvet covers can potentially reduce allergens, they must still be washed on a regular basis. Ideally, you should launder hypoallergenic bedding once a week. Some fabrics, however, may come with specialized care instructions. Be sure to check any notes from the manufacturer before tossing your duvet cover in the washing machine.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not you struggle with allergies, it pays to keep your bedding fresh and clean. Changing your duvet cover can freshen up boring bedroom decor and extend your duvet’s life. It’s also a quick and easy way to reduce your risk of infection, prevent allergy symptoms, and maybe even get a better night’s sleep.