If you’re wondering how often should you wash your bed sheets, you may be in for a surprise. For those on a weekly washing schedule, you’ll be satisfied to know that dermatologists recommend changing your sheets once a week. Yes, once a week.
It may seem tedious, but there are a lot of reasons why you should change your sheets weekly. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, your bed can turn into a hotspot for skin irritants. “Buildup of microbes like bacteria, fungi, and viruses, oils, bodily secretions, dust and debris collect on bedding, contributing to clogging of pores, allergies, odor and even infections,” she tells Glamour. “It can be wise to shower before going to sleep at night and to always remove makeup before bed.”
Isla Beauty’s dermatology expert Dr. Nicole Ruth, MD, agrees and warns that unhygienic sheets can be damaging. “If you don’t change your sheets regularly, you will most likely be sleeping with other things besides your partner,” she says. “Our sheets become a home for dead skin cells, dust mites, food particles, and many different types of bacteria. The combination of all these things hanging out in your sheets can even trigger allergies in some patients.”
Irritation can also weaken the skin barrier and worsen existing skin conditions. “If my patients have eczema, or an impaired skin barrier, they are more prone to irritation or flare ups from bacteria and allergens in their bed sheets,” Ruth explains. “I try to discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy skin barrier by using moisturizers with effective ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Right now one of my favorite products is Isla Beauty’s Whipped Dream Moisturizer.”
While there isn’t much room for exceptions in how often should you wash your bed sheets, you may be able to stretch to every two weeks, depending on your personal hygiene. “You should change your pillowcases every week at the very least,” says Murphy-Rose. “If you sleep without clothes on, you may benefit from changing sheets on the shorter side of that one to two week window,” she says.
If you have a pet at home that you share a bed with, Ruth encourages an even shorter washing schedule. “I recommend every three to four days,” she says. In general, if you are unable to wash weekly, Ruth says to at least air sheets out after you sleep.
But according to Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, it’s best not to push it. “In general, the longest to go without changing sheets should be two weeks,” she says.
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her @arianayap.