Cleanliness and hygiene are very important in the home. Many homeowners are aware of the dirt and grime that can build up in common areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. However, most homeowners are unaware of the amount of dirt and bacteria that can build up on your bed.

In addition to changing your bedding regularly, it’s also important to clean your pillows and mattress. Cleaning and laundry expert Sarah Dempsey at has created this guide, highlighting the importance of cleaning the different parts of your bed as well as how often you should clean them and the best ways to do so.

How Often Should You Clean Different Parts of the Bed?

How Often Should You Clean Pillows?

You should aim to clean your pillows roughly every three months. If there are any spills or accidents, you should spot clean as necessary at the time of the accident. Dirt and grime will build up over time. For this reason, it’s recommended that you change your pillows every 1 – 2 years.

How Often Should You Clean a Mattress?

Firstly, it’s important to note that you should aim to replace your mattress roughly every 7- 8 years. If your mattress is newer than this, you should aim to air out your mattress regularly. This should be done roughly every six months. Where possible, it’s best to take your mattress outside for a proper airing out. Also, you should aim to vacuum your mattress regularly and complete spot cleans whenever necessary.

How Often Should You Clean a Duvet?

If you don’t clean your bedding regularly, dirt, grime, and bacteria can very quickly build up. A duvet that has not been cleaned in a year can contain over 20,000 dust mites. These can irritate your skin and eyes. If you have allergies or asthma, dust mites can make symptoms much worse. You should aim to wash your duvet every few months to make sure it remains clean and free from a build-up of bacteria and dust mites.

How Often Should You Clean Bedding?

Washing your bed sheets is important for your health and safety. We shed around 15 million skin cells every night, and these skin cells create the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply very quickly. With this in mind, it is highly recommended that you wash your bedding once per week to prevent the bacteria from building up on your bed sheets.

How Do You Keep the Different Parts of Your Bed Clean?

How to Clean Pillows

When it comes to cleaning your pillows, the most important rule is to read the care label. Most pillows can be machine-washed. However, not all of them can. To ensure you don’t damage your pillows, always read the care label before washing and follow the instructions accordingly.

Below is a general guide on how to wash pillows:

Allow the Pillow to Air Out

Each day, give your pillows a good fluffing up to remove dust and help restore their shape. Every few months, hang your pillows outside on a clothesline for a few hours. If you don’t have a garden or a clothesline, or if your pillows can’t be hung outside, run your pillows through the dryer on a non-heated cycle.

Wash Your Pillow Gently

If your pillow is machine washable, you should aim to wash it twice a year in the washing machine. Washing your pillow in the washing machine is not that difficult. However, it can take some time to dry completely.

If your pillow has a stain that needs to be removed, spot-treat the stain with some stain cleaner before placing it in the washing machine.

If you have a washing machine that is large enough, you should aim to wash two pillows at once. This will help to balance the load and will allow the detergent and water to circulate much more effectively.

You will need to take a different method, depending on the filling in your pillow. Take a look at the information for washing particular fillings below:

Down or feather pillows – Most down or feather pillows can be placed in the washing machine. However, you will need to use a mild detergent and cold water. Then, dry the pillows on a low heat. High temperatures can damage this type of filling.

Latex or memory foam pillows – These types of pillows may get damaged in the washing machine, so they will most likely need to be hand washed. To do this, vacuum all of the dust from the pillow and then spot-clean it with a small amount of mild detergent and a damp cloth. Lay the pillow flat and allow it to air dry.

Polyester pillows – Wash polyester pillows with warm water on a gentle washing cycle. If you can, wash two pillows at the same time to help balance the load. Use a small amount of detergent.

Allow Your Pillow to Dry Thoroughly

It is important that you get your pillow completely dry to prevent the risk of mildew. Don’t just rely on the auto dry setting on your dryer, as this will only detect surface moisture and won’t completely dry the inside of your pillow.

Most pillows can be dried for a good hour or so on a moderate heat setting. Add a couple of dry towels to the machine to help speed up the drying process. If you also put some clean tennis balls or dryer balls into the machine, this will prevent the filling from becoming clumped up.

If you are drying feather pillows, you will need to dry these on the non-heated setting. Add some tennis balls or dryer balls to prevent clumps from forming in the pillows. Drying feather or down pillows can take a long time since no heat is used. Be patient and ensure the pillow is completely dry before using it again.

If the weather permits, you can hang most pillows outside on a clothesline. Keep them hung until they are completely dry all the way through.

How to Clean a Mattress

If the mattress has a removable cover, it’s a good idea to clean it regularly. Most removable mattress covers are machine washable.

If possible, it’s best to tackle stains while they are still wet. Clean your mattress with a damp cloth and try to soak as much of the moisture up as possible. Afterwards, open your windows and allow your mattress to air dry before replacing your bedding.

Whenever you change your sheets, it’s a good idea to vacuum your mattress as well. This will help to remove any dust, dirt, hair, and dead skin cells from the mattress. This also gives you a nice, clean surface on which to put your fresh bedding. This is also highly recommended for people who suffer from allergies.

Whenever you clean your mattress, you should always allow it to air dry. This will prevent it from remaining damp for long periods of time. It’s important to ensure that it’s completely dry before you put your bedding back on.

If you want to keep your mattress smelling fresh and clean, sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the surface. Lightly cover the entire mattress and then leave it for a few hours. Afterwards, vacuum the baking soda up, and this will leave your mattress completely odourless.

How to Clean a Duvet

Most of the time, you can wash your duvet in the washing machine. However, you need to make sure that the drum on your washing machine is big enough for the duvet. If not, you may have to take your duvet to a dry cleaners for a proper wash.

Take the steps below to clean your duvet properly in the washing machine:

Check the Care Label and Make Sure the Duvet Fits in the Washer

First of all, you should check the care label on the duvet to make sure it’s suitable for the washing machine. Duvets come in all different sizes, so you should also make sure your duvet will fit properly in the drum.

The care label will be sewn into the seam of your duvet. This will tell you everything you need to know about cleaning it, including the temperature at which it should be washed out and any other instructions needed for cleaning.

Pre-Treat Any Visible Stains

It’s best to deal with stains as soon as they happen. However, if you haven’t got around to fixing a stain right away, you should pre-treat it before placing your duvet in the washer for the best chances of getting rid of it.

The method that you use will depend on the type of stain that you are dealing with and your duvet type, so make sure you consider the appropriate method beforehand.

Place the Duvet in the Washer and Wash It

Unless the label on your duvet says otherwise, it is recommended that you wash your duvet at 30 – 40 degrees and on a normal spin setting. Add washing detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s best to use non-bio laundry detergent when washing a duvet.

Once the wash has finished, take the duvet out and check it for any remaining soap residue. If you see any patches of detergent or washing powder, you may need to rinse your duvet again.

Once you’ve cleaned your duvet, you can either hand it on a washing line to dry outside or you can place it in the dryer. If using a dryer, use a low heat setting and occasionally take the duvet out during the cycle to shake it out and fluff it up. Dryer balls can help to prevent clumps from forming. Before placing the duvet in the dryer, make sure you’ve checked the care instructions to ensure it is suitable for the dryer.

How to Clean Bedding

Bed sheets can usually be cleaned in the washing machine. However, you should always check the care label to make sure as some materials may not be suitable for machine washing.

When cleaning the bedding, strip the bedding off the bed and place it in the washing machine. If your sheets are stained, pre-treat these using an appropriate method according to the type of stain and the material of your sheets.

Wash your bedding on a regular cycle at a high temperature to ensure germs and bacteria are killed during the wash. Check the care label for the maximum temperature at which you can wash your sheets. Hot water will kill the germs and will also take care of any dust mites in the sheets. Use a suitable fabric conditioner to ensure your sheets come out smelling and feeling great.

Once clean, you can then dry your bed sheets on a washing line outside or in the dryer. Make sure to follow the instructions on the care label if drying with a tumble dryer.

How to Make Sure Your Bedding Remains Clean Between Washes

There are several things you can do to help make sure your bedding remains clean when between washes. Here are some examples:

  • Take your makeup off before getting into bed
  • Shower before bedtime
  • Avoid sleeping in the bed after a sweaty gym session
  • Avoid putting on creams, oils, or lotions before getting into bed
  • Remove dirt and debris from your feet before getting into bed
  • Avoid eating and drinking in bed
  • Don’t allow your pets on the bed

How to Maintain Your Mattress

Here are some tips on how to maintain your mattress and extend its lifespan:

Use a mattress protector – A mattress protector will help to protect your mattress from stains, spills, and dust mites. It’s especially important to use a mattress protector if you have pets or children.

Rotate your mattress regularly – Rotating your mattress will help to prevent it from sagging or developing a permanent dip. Most mattresses should be rotated every 3-6 months.

Air out your mattress regularly – When you make your bed, pull back the sheets and blankets and let your mattress air out for a few minutes. This will help to remove moisture and prevent mould or mildew growth.

Clean your mattress regularly – If your mattress gets dirty or stained, it is important to clean it as soon as possible. You can use a mild detergent and water solution to clean your mattress. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as these can damage the mattress.

Avoid jumping on your mattress – Jumping on your mattress can damage the springs and foams, ultimately shortening its lifespan.

Replace your mattress when it’s time – Mattresses typically last for 7-10 years. If your mattress is more than 10 years old, it is probably now time to replace it.