It’s best to wash your bedsheets every week or two—but what about the other stuff on your bed? Let’s talk about what I like to call “solid plushy” stuff: Pillows, cushions, stuffed animals, and even comforters rarely draw much attention when you’re cleaning—maybe because they’re annoying to wash. But how often should you be doing it?
Your pillowcases need a wash every two weeks at the most, and quite rightly: Your dirty little face and your grimy little hairs are smushed all over them for eight or so hours a night. But even with their protective, decorative barriers, pillows themselves are still absorbing some of that. Martha Stewart, recommends laundering your pillows at least every six months, or every three months if you can manage it. Here’s how to do it.
Washing a big pillow is no picnic, but that’s nothing compared to couch cushions. They’re large, stuffed with fluff, and collecting more gunk and dirt than you think. Those cushions are taking in dust, spilled drinks, and probably their fair share of inadvertently deposited liquids of all varieties, particularly if you have kids or pets. So wash those suckers every six months, advises Birchwood Furniture Galleries. We’ve put together a full guide on how to clean your couch here.
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We all have our own rules for how often we wash certain items. Do I wash my zipper hoodie every time I wear it to run to the store? I do not. Do I wash my jeans every time I wear them? Perhaps I don’t. I once dated a man who had a load of laundry going at all times because he was so horrified by the idea of “dirty” fabrics he couldn’t shower unless his towel came directly from the dryer.
These rules are personal and probably misguided, but I’ve learned that comforters are especially prone to individual myth-making. You should wash it every two months, according to Mulberry’s Garment Care—but that’s subjective. If there’s typically a sheet between you and the comforter, that time can be extended. If you spill something on it, you have to wash it right away. If kids, pets, or even just one more person sleep with you at night, you may want to bump up the wash schedule, too, and same applies if you have allergies or are an unusually sweaty sleeper. Generally speaking, though, stick to every two months. (Mulberry’s also called this an “age-old question” and noted one of the top Googled inquiries is, “Do you have to wash comforters?” so you’re not alone if you had to ask.)
If your stuffies are on display around your home, they’re like cushions or pillows in that they’re collecting dust and grime naturally, but they’re not in the direct line of fire. Pop them in the wash every six months. If you or your child are hauling them around, sleeping with them, or playing with them often, though, remove dirt and grime at least monthly, per The Spruce.
Washing stuffed animals is particularly fraught, as there’s usually some kind of emotional attachment involved. Read our guide on doing this safely here.