Georgia Dixon

Home & Garden

How often you really should wash your sheets, towels and curtains

How often you really should wash your sheets, towels and curtains

When was the last time you cleaned your sheets? Of course, how you answer that has to do with personal choice. If you haven’t changed them in a week, a month, or a year, that’s your prerogative. We’re not here to judge or finger wag, but we can equip you with some facts and guidelines that may influence your linen-laundering behaviour.

Towels (every 3-4 uses)

You’ll want to launder your towels every three to four uses. We say uses instead of days because some people shower or bathe more than once a day, while others can go days at a time without either. There are other factors to consider, too – such as how damp your home is. Always hang your towel up to dry and don’t share your towel, even among family members. When you no longer enjoy using it or looking at it, it’s time to throw it out.

Sheets (every 1-2 weeks)

Sure, there’s nothing worse than struggling with a tightly fitted sheet, but it’s a necessary inconvenience. Just think of your sheets as clothes you wear for eight hours every night. We shed about 500 million skin cells per day, so if you spend a third of your life sleeping (as most of us do), 160 million of these cells will end up in your bed every night. That’s not to mention the bodily oils, sweat and dirt rubbed in – especially if you’re not the only body rolling around in there – plus the millions of bacteria and other micro-organisms that build up. And the longer you leave them, the more they multiply. 

Curtains (every 6 months)

Though they don’t come in contact with your body, curtains are hot spots for dust. Cleaning them every six months ought to keep them in order – but double the frequency if you or someone you live with has allergies. Regular vacuuming will help to remove dirt and particles in between washes. 

Hand towels (every 2-3 days)

Hand towels usually hang in a germ-ridden environment (near or above the loo) and are used by multiple people. As such, they ought to be washed every two to three days. Do you really want to dry your hands on your partner’s toothpaste residue?

Bathmats (every week)

How often you wash it depends on the texture and quality of the mat. If it never seems dry, wash it at least once a week. To prolong the time between washes, always hang it up to dry after your bath or shower.

Pillowcases (every 3 days or weekly)

Your face is rubbed against your pillowcase every night, which means a build-up of bodily oils, skin cells, sweat and dribble. (It’s probably your unwashed pillowcase causing you to break out, and not your late-night kebab benders.)  As such, it’s important you clean them even more regularly than your sheets.

Tea towels (after every use)

These readily attract and host harmful bacteria, picking up particles and remaining damp due to frequent use. They’re also dangerously close to your dinner. Wash your kitchen rags after every use to avoid spreading those nasties.

Face cloths (every time you use them!)

Don’t undo your good hygiene work by dabbing your face with a bacteria-laden cloth. Dirt, makeup and oil quickly accumulate, and moisture creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mould to thrive. Don’t leave them to fester – throw yours in the wash after every single use. Your skin will thank you for it.

Written by Kathleen Lee-Joe. First appeared on

Related links:

10 things in your kitchen you should clear out right now

Why we should keep up with the washing up

Why you should never make your bed