How often you should wash your sheets and 7 other household items

Your official cleaning guide on how often to wash most things in your home. Getty Images

Summer is officially in business, and when it comes to your household linens and fabrics, it’s time to start a brand new routine.

Sweat, dirt and mould in general, are all things that can creep up on fabrics during warmer months, says Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space based in Toronto.

And with so much confusion as to how often we should be washing the basics like sheets and towels, Maker says it all comes down to use and sometimes, even how humid your home is.

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Below, Maker offers tips on how often you should wash the most common household items.

Sheets: Once a week

Most of us sweat more in the summer while sleeping, so start off with lighter bedding, she says. “It would be advisable to wash sheets once a week. I’d say you can push it to two weeks in cooler months, but the longer we don’t wash sheets, the more sweat, dead skin cells and body oils build up leading to smellier sheets and bedrooms.”

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Towels: once or twice a week

“Bathing towels can be washed once or twice a week as long as they are properly air-dried after use,” Maker says. In the warmer months, it’s important to ensure you are getting better ventilation in your bathrooms (leaving windows open and turning on fans) to allow for air to circulate and dry the bathroom quickly. “Pool and beach towels can be laundered after use if a machine is handy or if you’re at the cottage, make sure you thoroughly air dry towels.”

Shower curtains: once a month

Just like towels in the bathroom, humidity in the bathroom can lead to the possibility for mould and mildew to form on curtains, she says. “Launder your shower curtain when it looks dingy or has that orange/pink build-up at the bottom.” She adds the build-up is a harmless bacteria.

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Bathroom rugs: Once a month

These can harbour mould, mildew and dropped debris like hair and dead skin cells, she says. “It’s wise to launder these monthly, and the frequency doesn’t change with summer. Laundering them will help to remove odours and the other gunky stuff caught in there. And if it’s near your toilet and you happen to stand up to pee, well, enough said.”

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Bras: Every two to three days

We sweat more in the summer, so bras should be cleaned more often as well. “Wash bras by hand after two to three uses, and be sure to leave each bra a day to ‘breathe’ between wears.”

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Pillow cases: once a week

Again, we sweat a lot more in warmer months, so like your sheets, pillow cases should also be washed once a week. “Also consider using a pillow protector to keep sweat, dust mites and dead skin cells off your actual pillow.”

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Hand towels: Weekly and one to two days

Bathroom hand towels should be washed weekly, Maker says, and kitchen towels or tea towels should be washed every one to two days. “We assume bathroom hand towels are used when hands have been washed with soap, so the usage is for something that’s relatively clean. Kitchen towels are used to dry hands, plates and clean up spills, and because of the higher bacteria content in the kitchen, it makes sense to change these out frequently to avoid cross contamination.”

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Curtains: No need

Maker says we shouldn’t have to worry about curtains in the summertime. “This task can be done during spring cleaning and generally an annual treatment is fine. You can dust them using the upholstery brush attachment of your vacuum every month or so.”

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