One of the most popular articles on my blog is how often to wash your bed sheets. So, that brings up the question, how often should you wash your blankets?
Blankets should be washed at least four times a year, according to American Cleaning Institute. Follow the care label instructions. If the instructions are missing or faded, machine-wash in warm water on the gentle cycle and machine-dry on the low heat cycle.
If you have allergies, wash your blankets every two to three weeks to kill dust mites.
For comforters, it can be difficult to wash them at home depending on the size of your washing machine. Don’t try to cram it into the machine. Instead, take it to a laundromat and wash it in one of the large capacity machines. Check the care label before washing especially for feather or down comforters as these may need to be dry cleaned.
"You have spores of fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, finishing agents of whatever the sheets are made from, coloring material, all sorts of excrements from the body including sweat, sputum, vaginal, and anal excretions, urine milieu, skin cells ... " said Philip Tierno, microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine, who was quoted in the article. "Plus there are cosmetics that people use — they put oils and creams on their body, all of that is in that milieu."
Over time, the amount of fungi, bacteria, and many other debris that accumulate is dramatic, Tierno said.
And, don’t let dogs, cats, or other animals sleep in your bed or get on it.
Sleeping with and “kissing” your animals on their lips puts you at risk for some serious medical problems — even when those cats and dogs are seemingly healthy, according to “Zoonoses in the Bedroom,” a study published in the February issue of the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“The risk of contracting something is rare, but if you’re that person who gets a disease from a pet, rare doesn’t matter that much,” said the paper’s co-author Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California-Davis school of veterinary medicine and a researcher on zoonoses, the transmission of disease from animals to humans.
Pets really don’t belong in your bed, Chomel said.
Another study found erichia coli, found in the gut and faeces of many animals, in people’s pillows.
For bedsheets, the answer is once a week. For more information, see my article “How Often Should You Change Your Bed Sheets?”