How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

April 19, 2012

Did you guys hear? Bed sheets are the latest way to make a personal statement– forget necklaces and bags. Here’s a helpful guide to navigating which statement you’re sending with your sheets:

Statement 1: I never change my sheets because I’m a live-on-the-edger, and I love how my dirty sheets run me the risk of getting acne!

Yep, dirty sheets, and especially pillow cases, are apt to do just that. The bacteria that accumulates between your all-too-infrequent washings irritates the skin, causing those nasty blemishes. You daredevil, you.

Statement 2: I keep the same sheets on my bed for ages because I hate to sleep alone, so I love the company of dust mites! 

Every night while you toss and turn, your body is shedding skin cells, which you can’t see, but your little sleeping partners can. They love it when you don’t wash your sheets for months at a time– did somebody say feast?!

Statement 3: I keep the same sheets on my bed for a disgustingly long amount of time because I  consider my body’s secretions to be precious, that’s why I love to bask in them in my filthy sheets!

You spend nearly a third of each week of your life in bed. During that time, your body releases oils, sweat, hair- and maybe other things. Never washing your sheets is a great way to soak in the secretions your body has chosen to release. Well done you!

This all sound super gross? That’s because it is!

It’s come to my attention that you all hate to change your bed sheets. Our neighbors across the pond hate it even more; a poll conducted a couple years ago revealed that half a million Brits change their sheets just three times a year.

I don’t know what’s going on here guys. Maybe you don’t have easy access to a washer/dryer. Maybe you’re crazy busy. Maybe you’re just lazy. But I’m just not going to indulge you on this one. Some tough love is what I think this issue calls for.

Starting now, the rule is that you must change your sheets once a week. Experts agree that doing so will ensure that you don’t allow bacteria and dust to accumulate. So just do it. Seriously.

It’s also a good idea to keep a few sets of sheets stocked. That way if you really can’t afford the time/ extend the effort to do the wash, you’ll still have clean sheets to swap. Not having the time/ not extending the effort to place the sheets onto the bed is not acceptable. Sorry.

Okay, now I’ll play nice cop: think about how incredibly nice it feels to climb into a crisp, clean bed at the end of a hard day. There are few things that compare to that feeling. Going to the effort of keeping your sheets clean will be well worth it as soon as you’re horizontal, I promise.

K, bye! Please come back tomorrow, I swear I won’t make you gag!

Image credits: unknown, Rachel AshwellSuvi Sur Le Vif, Crystal Gentilello


Annie Traurig was born with the ability to see order through clutter. As a child, she spent playdates organizing friends’ closets and packing their duffle bags for summer camp.

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  1. chiclittleblackdress on April 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Love this !! people need tough love every now and then !! My mom taugh me to change my sheets one a week and to iron my sheets once I was done ! 🙂 great post !! Thanks Annie

    • livesimplybyannie on April 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks for the comment girl! Love that your mom instilled that in you!

  2. The Urban Slant (@juliarosinus) on April 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Phew! I’m SO OCD and change them every sunday. Sometimes more than once a week b/c I LOVE feeling clean in bed.

  3. Georgina on April 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with this post – people become too relaxed, they need a little prod! Kudos 🙂

    • livesimplybyannie on April 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      So glad to hear that you do- I thought a “little prod” was in order.

  4. hmbien on April 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I try to change mine once every week or two, but this was definitely a wake up call for why it is important to do so!

    • livesimplybyannie on April 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      It is! It Is!

  5. Sandy on April 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Oh my that is so gross. I am OCD about clean sheets and towels and body too. I change my sheets every single day. Sheets are the first load of laundry I do every morning. I ask for clean sheets daily when spending more than one night in a hotel room too. I have to shower right before getting into that fresh bed. My mom grew up very poor but she instilled in me that you may not have a lot of luxuries in life but fresh sheets (hers were always hung on the clothes line outside to dry) were one that anyone could afford.

    • livesimplybyannie on April 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Love this comment, Sandy! I, too, am incredibly OCD about clean sheets. I love that your mom taught you that clean sheets are one of luxuries everyone should be afforded.

  6. ashley on April 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    omg i think i’m going to throw up from that stat about the british…getting into a bed with fresh linens is the BEST FEELING. love it. i wash my sheets and towels at least once a week. you know, karl lagerfeld launders his linens every day. now, that would be a dream.

    • livesimplybyannie on April 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Quite the repulsive statistic, isn’t it? And yes, clean sheets really do feel divine… You know I read that somewhere about KL… might it have been in Harper’s Bazaar??

  7. aaronandmisha on April 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    i love this article. i am a huge proponent of changing sheets and towels at least once a week! if i had more time, i would totally change a few times a week. in our house, sunday night is our favorite night of the week – clean sheet sunday!

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