How often should you wash the sheets, towels and curtains?

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​As a parent you're probably all too familiar with the washing machine and the never-ending piles of laundry - but how often do you wash these essentials?

We're not here to judge or finger wag, but we can equip you with some facts and guidelines that may influence your linen-laundering behaviour. Why don't we just jump in then?

Towels (every 3-4 uses)

You'll want to launder your towels every three to four uses. We say uses instead of days because some people shower or bathe more than once a day, while others can go days at a time without either. (Again, err, no judgment.) There are other factors to consider, too – such as how damp your home is. Always hang your towel up to dry and don't share your towel, even among family members. When you no longer enjoy using it or looking at it, it's time to throw it out.

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 Photo: Getty Images

Sheets (every 1-2 weeks)

A survey by mattress company Ergoflex found that 55 per cent of single guys aged 18 to 25 wash their bed linen every three months. Sure, there's nothing worse than coming home after a long night only to struggle with a tightly fitted sheet, but it's a necessary inconvenience. Just think of your sheets as clothes you wear for eight hours every night. We shed about 500 million skin cells per day, so if you spend a third of your life sleeping (as most of us do), 160 million of these cells will end up in your bed every night. That's not to mention the bodily oils, sweat and dirt rubbed in – especially if you're not the only body rolling around in there – plus the millions of bacteria and other micro-organisms that build up. And the longer you leave them, the more they multiply.  Hear that, young bachelors?

Duvet covers (every 1-2 weeks)

Back in university, you probably got away with washing your duvet cover once in a blue moon, but now you're an  adult, know that you ought to be doing it as often as your sheets. 

Curtains (every 6 months)

Though they don't come in contact with your body, curtains are hot spots for dust. Cleaning them every six months ought to keep them in order – but double the frequency if you or someone you live with has allergies. Regular vacuuming will help to remove dirt and particles in between washes. 

Hand towels (every 2-3 days)

Hand towels usually hang in a germ-ridden environment (near or above the loo) and are used by multiple people. As such, they ought to be washed every two to three days. Do you really want to dry your hands on your son's toothpaste residue?

Bathmats (every week)

How often you wash it depends on the texture and quality of the mat. If it never seems dry, wash it at least once a week. To prolong the time between washes, always hang it up to dry after your bath or shower.

Pillowcases (every 3 days or weekly)

Your face is rubbed against your pillowcase every night,  which means a build-up of bodily oils, skin cells, sweat and dribble. (It's probably your unwashed pillowcase causing you to break out, and not your late-night kebab benders.)  As such, it's important you clean them even more regularly than your sheets.

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Tea towels (after every use)

These readily attract and host harmful bacteria, picking up particles and remaining damp due to frequent use. They're also dangerously close to your dinner. Wash your kitchen rags after every use to avoid spreading those nasties. You don't want to be drying your dishes with germs now, do you?

Face cloths (every time you use them!)

You buy expensive creams, cleansers and serums; so don't undo your good work by dabbing your face with a bacteria-laden cloth. Dirt, makeup and oil quickly accumulate, and moisture creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mould to thrive. Don't leave them to fester – throw yours in the wash after every single use. Your skin will thank you for it.

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