It’s time to come clean! How often do you think you should be changing your sheets? How about your bath towels? Or even your loofah?!
According to cleaning and organization expert Peter Walsh, half of young men between the ages of 19 and 35 only change their sheets about three times a year. (Eww.) We have a hunch that it should be done way more than that. Here’s how often you need to change everything.
How Often: Once a week
Why: Walsh says that you lose 500 million skin cells every night, and all of that my friends, is left behind on your sheets. In addition, there’s also perspiration, dust mites, and if you live with pets, you’ll also have pet dander. In extreme cases, Walsh says dirty sheets can cause problems with skin allergies and rashes, so washing them weekly makes sense.
How to Wash ‘Em: Be sure to turn them inside out and ball them up before tossing them in the washing machine. This will help to keep the coloring of the sheets as well as their shape on the fitted ones so they’ll last longer. Also be sure to wash them on the highest heat setting the manufacturer recommends -- this will help kill germs and get rid of stains and pollen.
Walsh says it's best to invest in a mattress cover to protect it from... well, all of that fun stuff he mentioned. He also says that once every six months you should vacuum the top of your mattress and steam it to kill any dust mites that are living in it. You could also give your mattress a refresher by sprinkling baking soda on it and then vacuuming it up.
How Often: Every 4-5 uses
Why: Since towels are often kept in the bathroom (which is usually a humid, moist environment), Walsh says towels don’t properly dry, creating the perfect palette for mold and bacteria to grow. Make sure they fully dry by hanging them over a rail so air can circulate -- hanging them on hooks can bunch up the towel, leaving certain spots damp.
How to Wash ‘Em: If they smell after regularly washing them, Walsh says that’s because detergent and softener has built up in the weave of the towel. Combine about a cup of baking soda and vinegar and add that to your next load of towels. The vinegar will strip the detergent, and the baking soda will help remove the odors.
How Often: Weekly
Why: You might think, “Hey, the loofah is soapy, and soap makes things clean, so it’s always clean,” right? Wrong. Walsh says the soap actually creates a bed for bacteria and germs to grow. Because bathrooms tend to be humid, it’s important to take it out of the bathroom to completely dry after each use.
How to Wash ‘Em: Once a week, soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes to kill bacteria. Too much hassle? Walsh recommends swapping out your loofah for an exfoliating body buffer instead. They’re designed act like loofahs, but dry much faster, making it harder for bacteria to grow. You could also switch to a salt or sugar-based body scrub.
Wants more expert tips from Peter Walsh? Check out his new book “Let It Go,” available now!