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Weekend Project: Wash All Your Bed Linens

woman carrying all the linens for her bed
Olga Pink/Shutterstock

When was the last time you fully stripped and washed your bed linens? Instead of swapping out new sheets this week, do a deep clean of your pillows, blankets, and everything else.

Dust and dirt accumulate in blankets over time, even if there’s a sheet between them and your skin. Pillows get drooled on and gather dust too. Not only does cleaning linens on your bed regularly make your bed cleaner and smell fresher, but it also rids some of the allergens that accumulate from dust and even pet fur and dander.

Cleaning your bed linens and completely stripping your bed will alert you to bed bug infestations as well, a great thing to check for if you’ve been vacationing lately.

Strip the Bed

Whether you wash your sheets weekly or not, you should strip your entire bed a couple of times a year, dust ruffles and all, and do a deep cleaning. Start by removing everything from the bed. All you want to be left behind is the mattress on the box spring.

Wash and Dry Your Bedding

Pillows, sheets, shams, dust ruffles, blankets, and even your throw pillows should all get washed regularly. Sheets and pillowcases do fine being washed every week or every other week, while pillows can go a few months between washings. Throw pillows and dust ruffles don’t need to be washed as often as the rest of your bedding, but they do collect dust and other allergens.

Sheets and Pillow Cases

Sheets and pillowcases can usually be washed on your usual wash machine setting, though it depends on the material. Read the care label to know for sure. When drying sheets, hang them outside to air dry if possible. This saves money on the gas or electric bill (depending on your dryer type), and the sun is excellent at fast-drying and killing bacteria.

Blankets

Blankets are not created equally, which makes washing them difficult at times. Storebought blankets will usually come with a car tag on them, which you can follow for safe and proper cleaning. If you have handmade quilts and other blankets, you can talk to the person who made the quilt about the best way to clean that blanket or contact a quilt shop for advice.

Some blankets can be dried in the dryer, but the bigger the blanket, the longer it will take to dry. Consider doing your weekend bed linen deep clean on a warm and sunny weekend so you can hang dry your blankets outside.

If you can’t hang dry outdoors and your dryer is too small for a blanket that is safe in the dryer, you can visit a laundromat. Just keep in mind that the dryers at laundromats often have higher heat temps than home dryers.

Pillows

You should be washing your pillows every three months. Drool, dust, and sweat build up on your pillows (and aren’t kept at bay by pillowcases). How you wash your pillows depends on the materials they’re made of. For foam pillows that can’t go in a washing machine, hanging them outside in the sun and fresh air will help air them out.

For a guide on how to wash your pillows, read our article on the subject.

Mattress Pad

If you use a mattress pad, wash it too. Mattress pads should be cleaned every couple of months. If you have pets that are allowed on the bed, you may want to wash it more often. Washing instructions will be on the care tag. Most mattress pads will be able to go right in the washing machine.

Memory foam mattresses generally can’t go in the washing machine. Use a small amount of laundry detergent in a spray bottle with water and lightly spray the mattress pad, after you’ve vacuumed it. Do not soak the mattress; you want only a light covering. You can use baking soda and water mixed in a paste to remove any stains. Let the pad air dry (a fan blowing at it will help it dry faster).

Vacuum Your Mattress

Finally, before you put all of that clean stuff back on your bed, vacuum the mattress and the box spring. You can also spot clean the mattress with some of the same paste used to clean stains from mattress pads.

While you’ve got the vacuum in the bedroom, vacuum any dust bunnies hiding under the bed. Cleaning all of the allergens in the room will help you have a better night’s sleep.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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