Getting into bed at the end of the day is one of the best things, especially when you’ve just put a clean set of bedding on.
Your bed sheets keep you snuggly and warm at night, but they also collect dead skin, sweat and dirt! So what’s the best way to keep them as clean as possible?
The (Scary) Facts:
- We spend about a third of our lives in bed (source)
- Our bodies shed around 500 million skin cells each day (source)
- A 7-year-old mattress will have around 16 million colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch! (source)
What Temperature Should You Wash Bedding At?
Because of all of the contact your bedding has with your skin, hair and bodily fluids, it is very important that your wash actually cleans the sheets as much as possible!
All items of bedding should have a care label that indicates the recommended washing temperature. It’s wise to check this before washing your bedding, and follow its instructions carefully to prevent damaging it.
Washing bedding at 60°C will kill most of the bacteria. This is particularly important in places such as hotels where bedding is used by many different people.
If you’re not worried about bacteria, it should be fine to wash bedding it at lower temperatures of 40°C. If the bedding is particularly dirty, 60°C will be better for killing germs.
Using a cooler temperature can be more effective when using a stronger detergent or a brand that has antibacterial properties.
Can You Wash Bedding at 60 If It Says 40?
If you look at the care label on bedding, it will often recommend washing at 40°C. However, bacteria won’t be killed unless you wash it at a higher temperature of 60°C or above. So, is it safe to wash bedding at 60 even if the label says 40?
Many people disregard the care label and wash their bedding at 60 Celsius without anything bad happening. If your bedding isn’t particularly expensive and you really need to wash it at 60 degrees, it’s usually fine to do so.
Bedding made from 100% cotton can be usually washed at high temperatures of 60 Celsius without shrinking or being damaged.
What About the Pillows and Duvet?
It’s not just the covers and sheets that need a good wash, duvets and pillows absorb the sweat and dirt that is created by our bodies. You would not want to know how much of the weight of your pillow is dead skin and even dust mite droppings!
Check the care label on these items to find out the recommended temperature for washing them. 40 degrees Celsius is usually a good temperature for these items.
You should wash your pillows every 2 to 3 months, and your duvet at least once every six months (see our article on how often to wash bedding).
If your washing machine’s capacity will not take your duvet, you may have to take it to a laundrette where you can also dry the bedding after washing. You will normally need a washing machine with a 9 kg capacity or more to wash a large duvet.
If you can wash at home it can be a pain to get all of your bedding dry, especially if you live in a flat with no means of hanging washing outside or no access to a dryer.
Hanging the duvet over a drying rack and turning and shaking it during the drying process is the best way to make sure your bedding gets dry and you can always run an iron over it to help kill germs. A steam iron would be very helpful for this.
How Often Should I Change the Bed?
This is often a question that people ask, as everyone will give you a different answer. Some people swear by changing the bed weekly (daily even in some cases) yet others will say monthly is fine.
It is all down to personal preference really, but it is recommended that bedding be washed every week or every fortnight, as skin shed during sleep creates a very inviting environment for dust mites and sometimes even bed bugs.
So now you know the best way to get your bedding clean, you’ll be able to sleep easy and enjoy a great night’s sleep in a sweet smelling, bug free, clean bed!
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