This content was originally published on OldHouseOnline.com and has been republished here as part of a merger between our two businesses. All copy is presented here as it originally appeared there.

We’ve all been there. You’re in bed, just about to drift off to sleep, when you happen to notice a few suspicious stains on your favorite percale sheets. Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night feeling itchy, and you can’t help but scratch your skin incessantly. This probably means it’s time to wash your sheets again!

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But how often should you really be washing them? Every week? Every other week? Once a month? The answer, it turns out, is a little bit more complicated than that. Keep reading to learn more about how we should wash our sheets and what the consequences of not washing them could be.

THE CASE FOR FREQUENT WASHING

There are a few good reasons to wash your sheets more often. First of all, your skin sheds cells every day, and those cells end up all over your sheets. If you don’t wash them frequently, those cells can build up and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

In addition, if you have allergies, washing your sheets more often can help reduce your symptoms by removing dust mites, pet hair, and other allergens from your bedding. Plus, if you’re a night sweater or have other medical conditions that cause you to perspire, you’ll want to wash your sheets more often to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and nasty odors.

THE CASE FOR LESS FREQUENT WASHING

On the other hand, washing your sheets too often can actually be bad for them. Overwashing can cause the fibers in your sheets to break down, leading to premature wear and tear of the fabric. In addition, if you use harsh detergents, they can strip away the natural oils in the fabric, causing it to become dry and brittle. And if you wash your sheets in water that’s too hot, you could end up shrinking or fading their vibrant colors.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WASH PERCALE SHEETS?

We recommend washing your percale-material sheets once a week. But if you’re pressed for time, every other week should also be fine. Just make sure to wash them more often if you sweat a lot in your sleep or if there are pets in the house (we all know how much dogs and cats love sleeping with us in the bed).

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO WASH PERCALE SHEETS?

Hot water helps kill any bacteria that might be hanging out on your sheets, so we recommend washing them in warm or hot water on a gentle cycle. Add a color-safe bleach like Clorox 2® Stain Remover and Color Booster to really help brighten and remove any stains from the fabric.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Keeping your percale sheets nice and clean is important for both your health and the longevity of the fabric. However, over-washing can actually damage your sheets. So, how often should you really wash your sheets? The answer totally depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. If you have allergies or medical conditions that require you to keep things clean, you may need to wash your sheets a bit more often than others. Otherwise, once or every two weeks should be sufficient. Just be sure to use a gentle detergent and washing cycle, and don’t forget to wash those pillowcases, duvets, and comforters too!

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Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes.

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