How Often Should You Clean Your Sheets?

Once a week, according to one expert

You know that friend you have that you can confess anything to? I have a friend like that. Her name is Ruth. She has a job and three kids and a husband and a dog and two cats and a mom and siblings and a generally too-busy life, just like I do. So one time, I asked her: “How often do you change your sheets?” I asked because I was about to confess that I generally don’t get around to taking care of this annoying job often enough—and because I really have no idea how often one should change the sheets. (I’m not sure what it is about changing the sheets that’s so annoying. But it always seems to take a lot of time and effort—more than it’s worth.)

“I change them about every three months,” Ruth said.

Three months? Geez, that made me look like a freaking germophobe. I’ve NEVER gone even a month without getting to the sheets. Which is why I love Ruth so much. Her answer made me feel a whole lot better, but it didn’t really answer the big question: How often should I change the sheets?

The Wall Street Journal to the rescue! The paper interviewed Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, and asked him how often one should change one’s sheets. He not only answered (every week!); he went on to give precise instructions for how one should wash one’s sheets (preferred water temp, dryer temp and more!), as well as the rationale for the relatively rapid turnover—including the delightful tidbit that a human can perspire up to a liter per night, and even more. What isn’t covered: how to get your partner to take care of this task at least half the time.