Who doesn’t look forward to buying new bedding? Whether you’re refreshing your bedroom with a brand-new comforter, slipping under premium percale sheets or wrapping yourself in a weighted throw blanket, there’s something about upgrading your bedding that just feels good. One thing that may not feel good, however, is the cost of your luxurious sleep setup. The reality is that bedding, while undoubtedly a worthwhile investment, can be pretty expensive. High-end sheets, in particular, can command a high price tag, with linen sets easily running upwards of $200.
Given the importance of sleep, luxuriously soft sheets are definitely worth the splurge. But if you’re going to go all out with your bed linens, you probably want to know how often they need to be replaced. Let’s face it — forking over hundreds of dollars for bed sheets is much more doable when you only have to do it once in a blue moon.
So, how often should you be replacing your bed sheets? And what about other bed essentials?
When to Buy New Sheets: The General Rule of Thumb
If you’ve had the same bedding for decades, it may surprise you to learn that most experts recommend buying new sheets every two to three years. That seems like an awfully short lifespan, doesn’t it? But think about it — we spend a lot of time in bed — about one-third of our lifetime, say some experts. During the night, we toss and turn on our sheets, roughing up the material and transferring dead skin cells and oils into the fabric.
Washing your sheets regularly is key to keeping them hygienic, but all that washing starts to take a toll on your bed linens. Eventually, the fibers in your sheets will break down, resulting in rips, fraying and pilling.
Factors That Influence the Longevity of Your Sheets
It’s worth noting that not all sheets need to be tossed after the two-year mark. Some variables that can influence how long your sheets last include:
- Sheet Quality: There’s a reason why people splurge on long-staple cotton and linen sheets. While these high-end sheets can be expensive, they’re generally long-lasting and hold up well to frequent washing.
- Frequency of Use: If you travel frequently and don’t use your bed that often, your sheets may last longer than the standard two years.
- Frequency of Wash: Do you sweat excessively in your sleep or have allergies? Do you have pets? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably wash your bedding frequently. This will degrade the fibers faster, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
- Laundering Technique: How you wash your sheets is another important consideration. To stretch the lifespan of your sheets, make sure you read the care label and follow instructions. You can take good care of your sheets by washing them on a gentle cycle, drying them on low heat and skipping the fabric softener.
What About Other Bedding?
Now that we’ve established how often you should buy new sheets, you may be wondering about the approximate lifespan for other bed essentials. Here’s a breakdown of how often you should replace pillows, comforters and other must-have bedding items.
Pillows have one of the shortest lifespans of all bedding items and with good reason. They can harbor some pretty disgusting things. In addition to pet dander, mold and dust mites, pillows have been found to harbor harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus and feces (yuck!). For a healthier night’s sleep, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommends pitching your old pillow every year. However, you may want to replace yours sooner if it has noticeable lumps, yellow stains or a weird odor.
Comforters and Duvets
Because comforters and duvets don’t usually touch the skin directly or hold a significant amount of weight, you can expect them to last a fairly long time — about 15 to 25 years. Chances are, you’ll want to replace it earlier out of boredom (replacing the comforter is a great way to give your room a glow-up). But in case you’re particularly attached to your comforter or duvet, you should also know the signs of when it’s time to let go. If it looks limp or starts leaking bits of filling, it’s probably time to give it the boot.
Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, have become a popular sleep accessory in recent years. Many folks swear by their gentle pressure, which is thought to relax the mind and body through a mechanism called deep pressure stimulation. The good news is that you don’t need to replace your weighted blanket unless it’s starting to break down (which may happen around the 15-year mark) or the weight is too heavy/light for you. Pro tip: Consider picking up a weighted blanket cover to make it easier to clean and keep it in tip-top shape.
Out of all your bedding essentials, the mattress is arguably the most important — and the most expensive. A good mattress will provide top-notch spinal support and help evenly distribute your body weight so you can achieve a comfortable night’s snooze. To provide the necessary support, mattresses often contain several layers of costly materials — hence, their high price tag.
On average, mattresses last eight to 10 years. Sagging, faint odors, noises upon movement and waking up with back pain are all telltale signs your mattress needs an upgrade.
Out with the Old, in with the New
Saying goodbye to old bedding can be tough, especially when you’ve loved it for years. But if you want to achieve better sleep — and for the sake of your health, we sincerely hope you do — it’s worth giving your sheets and other bedroom essentials a much-needed upgrade. After a few nights with your new-and-improved sleep setup, you’ll wonder why you didn’t replace your old bedding sooner.
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