We spend time in our beds for at least one third of our lives. For many of us, our bed is our favorite spot in the house - the place we can relax the most and begin and end each new day. While keeping a clean, fresh, and comfortable home is important to many of us, many may be surprised to find out that we don't typically concentrate on the care of our bedding like we do our clothes or other household items. Taking superb care of your bedding helps you maintain a healthy environment and helps your bedding last longer, too. You may feel more comfortable springing for a more expensive luxury bedding item once you are confident that how you take care of it will prolong its life and comfort to you. Read on for tips on how and when to wash and replace your sheets, pillows, and mattress.
Care of Your Sheets
In general, It's a good Idea to wash your sheets at least weekly. We don't often think about the dirt, germs, and allergens that are trapped in our sheets,, and infrequent washing can just cause these to pile up, making us feel less comfortable and creating a less healthy and fresh environment. Wash you sheets on a warm to hot setting. While hot water may cause fibers to shrink, hot water removes more germs and may be preferred for those with allergies, too. If your sheets are patterned or colored, it is advisable to wash your pillow cases inside out to help preserve the color or design of your sheets. As with any piece of clothing or bedding, read the care label before washing to make sure you're attending to any unique needs of your sheets or bedding. If permitted by the label, tumble dry your sheets and iron as time allows for the easiest and most organized storage.
There's no specific timeframe for replacing your sheets. This is largely personal preference, though it is suggested that when the sheets have obvious signs of wear that it is time to bid them goodbye. Because we spend so much time with our sheets, it is not uncommon for them to accrue stains or begin to fade or fray. When replacing, look for a thread count of between 200 to 400 and 100% combed cotton for the strongest, softest sheets.
Care of Your Pillows
No matter what type of pillow you have - fiber-filled or memory foam - the best way to prolong your pillow's life is to encase it in a pillow protector. These differ from pillow cases in that they zip around the pillow and act as a barrier between the case and your pillow. Pillow protectors trap allergens, bacteria, skin cells, and more from accumulating in your pillow, and your protector can be washed as frequently as your sheets. In terms of washing the pillow itself, this is highly dependent on the type of pillow you have. If you have a memory foam pillow, including a hybrid foam pillow that contains part fiber-fill and part memory foam or clustered memory foam, you cannot put these pillows in the washing machine. Memory foam pillows are spot clean only. All the more reason to have a pillow protector on these memory foam pillows!
You can wash traditional, fiber-filled pillows, and you should aim to do this at least a few times per year. Wash in the washing machine with a mild liquid detergent and run the pillows through the rinse cycle twice to make sure that all detergent is removed. It is crucial that pillows get completely dry once you run them through the dryer to prevent mold. In general, low-heat dryer settings are suggested for these pillows.
When to replace your pillows depends on their quality, type, and your care level. Fiber-filled pillows should ideally be replaced every 1-2 years or sooner, though their lives and comfort can be prolonged with proper care and washing. Memory foam pillows are more of an investment up front but can last over 5 years; some manufacturers offer up to 10 year warranties on memory foam pillows and products. No matter your pillow, if you become uncomfortable sleeping on it or notice that it has lost its shape, it's likely time for an upgrade.
Care for Mattresses
Just as with pillow protectors, the best way to protect your mattress is with a mattress pad. The pad is a barrier between your sheets and the mattress, preventing skin cells, sweat, and more from accumulating in your mattress. You should aim to wash your mattress pad once per month on a hot cycle in the washing machine to combat dirt and germs in your bedding. Mattresses are generally spot clean only. If you do get a stain on your mattress, spraying the stain with a solution of liquid dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda and blotting with a clean rag can help break down the stain. Experts suggest spot cleaning your mattress regardless of whether there are stains once or twice per year.
Most mattresses will last 8-10 years. If mattresses become saggy or is leaving you feeling uncomfortable, it may be time for a new mattress.
Taking great care of your bedding not only helps preserve your health and sleep quality but also is economical in that it allows your bedding materials to have longer lifespans. Invest in high quality bedding upfront and take care of it according to the tips above for best results.