The unexpected reason your bedding needs washing *more* in winter than in summer

Be sure to take good care of your sheets this winter to keep them in tip-top shape

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Washing our bedding is, for most of us, a regular chore on the list of things to do around the house. You might imagine that this task is much more essential in summer, than it is in winter, but turns out the opposite is true.

In summer, we’re more likely to experience higher temperatures that can leave us hot and sweaty whilst in bed. As such, you might believe that our sweaty, sticky bed linens should be washed more often between May - September, than they should between October and April. 

However, experts have revealed that there’s an important reason why you should probably be washing your pillowcases, mattress protector, best duvet, duvet covers and even your mattress more diligently in winter than during the summer months.

Why washing your bedding frequently in winter is important 

The UK tends to experience very little natural sunlight in the winter, unlike in summer – and this can be bad news for those wanting to keep their sheets, duvet and pillows as hygienic as possible. 

Rhiannon Johns, interior designer at Piglet in Bed, told Stylist, 'The sun is a fantastic natural cleaning aid for your bedding. The UV rays from the sun help to kill dust mites, mildew and other allergens.'

A spokesperson at Divan Bed Warehouse also told us, 'Sunlight typically also aids in moisture reduction, and helps in removing odours from bedding. 

'During winter, with decreased sunlight exposure, these benefits are diminished, leading to an increased potential for bacteria and mite growth, moisture retention, and lingering odours in bedding.'

Because of this, it’s all the more important to combat the negative effects of the lack of natural sunlight in the winter and wash your bedding a bit more often to keep it clean and hygienic.

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Another reason why washing your bedding more regularly in winter is vital, is because we often spend much more time wrapped up in it during the colder months.

'In winter we're all about that cosy life; spending more time snuggled up in bed, wearing thicker pyjamas and piling on more blankets,' the spokesperson from Divan Beds says. 'And, when the temperature drops, we crank up the heating, too, which means our bedding gets a bit more lived in in winter.'

But because of this increased contact with our body heat, and the heating in our homes, our bedding can have a tendency to accumulate all sorts of nasties.

'We're talking more dead skin cells, more body oils – all the stuff that makes a perfect party for bacteria and mites,' the spokesperson says. 'So, without the sun's help and with us camping out more in our beds, it's really important for our bedding to hit the laundry more often.'

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In winter, the lack of fresh air can also be damaging to the health of our bedding, too.

Cleaning expert Chloe Baker, a Dr. Beckmann spokesperson, explains, 'In colder months, windows are often kept closed to insulate the heat inside and so the air circulation decreases, leading to an accumulation of moisture, sweat and skin cells left on your bed sheets. 

'Again, this environment may become a breeding ground for dust mites, bacteria and allergens – especially if you’ve also changed to a heavier and warmer duvet.'

Airing out your bedding by opening doors or windows, or even hanging it outside, is a great way to tackle any moisture build-up. But given that this isn’t possible for most of us in the UK during the winter, washing your bedding more often is a good alternative when it comes to combatting any unwanted build-up.

So while most experts advise washing your bedding once a week anyway, if the cold, dark weather outside has resulted in limited sunshine or fresh air to your bedding, it may well be worthwhile washing and changing your bedding twice a week instead, if possible.


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine