We know how important sleep hygiene is to our overall health. But although we shower every day and launder our linens regularly, can you remember the last time you actually replaced your bedding? Like, how old is the pillow you’ve been sleeping on? When was the last time you replaced your quilt? What about that decorative bed skirt?
In the perfect world, these items are a once-off purchase and last a lifetime. However, in reality, this is not the case, and they do reach a point where they need to be replaced to avoid many bedding problems. So, here are some general guidelines to follow.
Lifespan: one to two years
Many sleep experts recommend replacing pillows every one to two years to ensure they remain clean, free of allergens and, most importantly, supportive for your head, neck, shoulders and back. You’ll probably be able to tell when it’s time to replace them when they begin to lose a bit of structure, turn yellow, or your allergens start playing up at night. Additionally, if you’re waking up with a sore neck or if you’re unable to find a comfortable sleeping position, there’s a good chance it’s time to invest in a new pillow.
Lifespan: one to two years
First thing first: you should be washing your pillowcases two times per week (at the very least, once), especially if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, suffer from allergens or wear cosmetics to bed. Now you’re doing that, you’ll want to completely replace them every year or two. You’ll know they’ve reached their limit when they have stubborn stains, their hems are fraying, or the material has started to fade.
Lifespan: three to five years
If you use the same bed sheets every day of the year, you’ll want to consider replacing them around the three-year mark. Of course, this depends on the material they’re made out of. For luxury materials like Egyptian cotton, pure linen and silk, you can get another year or two of use out of them. There are also several things you can do to prolong the life of your sheets, like washing them on a cool or warm cycle, which helps to maintain the colour and elasticity, and then line drying them instead of throwing them in the dryer. Also, try not to store them in plastic containers when they’re not in use, as this can cause yellowing. Instead, store them in linen cloth bags for excellent ventilation.
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
According to Katie Dills, the senior vice president of The Cleaning Authority, who spoke to MarthaStewart.com, your trusty quilt can last up to 15 years, or longer, if properly covered and ventilated. Take into consideration other factors like shedding pets, which will shorten its lifespan. It’s probably unlikely you’ll remember your quilt’s 15th anniversary, so be aware of signs of wear and tear, lack of lumpiness or too much pumping, as telltale signs to say goodbye to it.
Lifespan: five years
Although they’re primarily used as decorative pieces and don’t come in contact with your skin, they’re actually prone to collecting a lot of dirt because they prevent dust, pet hair and other debris from getting under your bed, Martha Stewart shares. So, considering you wash your bed skirt every three to six months, you’ll want to completely replace it every five years.
Lifespan: seven to 10 years
Yes, they’re expensive, but replacing your mattress is essential to maintaining optimal sleep hygiene. It’s always advised to fork out more money for a high-quality one as a cheaper mattress will allow for earlier sagging, long-lasting body impressions and dropping edges (hello, body aches and disruptive sleep).