Ever since it was reported that Oprah has clean sheets on her bed every day – the rest of us wonder if that’s the standard we should be striving to achieve. If we had a staff like Oprah, we could have our sheets, towels and even our shower curtains changed daily. Sheets and towels absorb sweat, dead skin cells, body oils, drool and other body fluids. If they aren’t washed frequently, sheets and towels become a breeding ground for dust mites, mold and mildew. So, let’s balance our dreams of having the ultimately clean bathroom with practicality and see if we can determine how often we should be cleaning things in our bathroom and bedroom.
Towels – Hand towels in a bathroom should be changed out daily as they get used a lot. Towels used after a shower should be washed every other day. In between uses, the towels should be hung so that they can dry out completely throughout the day. Mold and mildew can start forming a few hours after using the towel.
Washcloths – Washcloths can be on the same cleaning schedule as your bath towels. Washcloths collect dead skin cells with each use so more than two uses are not recommended. They can be washed with the bath towels using hot water to help disinfect them.
Bath mats – Bath mats should be washed once a week. They accumulate dust, fibers, and hair as well as dirt from the floor. Washing once a week keeps them clean and fresh. It also helps to battle any mold or mildew that could be forming inside the mat fibers.
Plastic shower curtains – Plastic shower curtains should be cleaned once a month. Soap scum and mildew build up on the inside of the plastic. You can place a shower curtain in the washing machine and it will come out looking brand new. Just put the shower curtain in the wash using hot water and two bath towels. Add a touch of laundry detergent to the washer as well. Wash and rinse the shower curtain on a regular cycle. Hang the plastic shower curtain back up as normal to allow it to air dry.
Use your dishwasher –A quick tip for cleaning things on your vanity is to enlist your dishwasher. Your toothbrush holder, towel caddies, toothpaste holders and even brushes and combs can be popped into the top drawer of the dishwasher. Use the regular dishwashing detergent and a regular washing cycle. The items will come out clean and disinfected.
Sheets – Most experts agree that sheets should be washed at least once every other week. If you have night sweats or tend to sweat more than the average person, you should wash your sheets once a week. Make sure to wash your sheets in a gentle soap versus a detergent. Detergents can cause skin irritations. They don’t rinse totally out of your sheets. Soaps, on the other handwash completely out of the fabric.
Blankets – Blankets need to be washed frequently, but not as often as sheets. Blankets can become infested with dust mites. Most experts recommend washing blankets monthly in extremely hot water and drying them on a hot setting in the dryer. The high heat will kill the dust mites. If you deal with a dust mite allergy, you may need to wash the blankets more often.
Comforters – Down comforters can be cleaned on the same schedule as blankets. Down comforters are very difficult to wash and dry so if you want to remove the dust and allergens quickly, you can pop the comforter directly into the dryer and set it to the hottest setting. The dryer will remove the dust and the hot air will kill the dust mites.
Pillows – Pillows are not usually on our list of things to wash. But they can become extremely infested with dust mites as well as body oils and fluids. To prevent the pillow from absorbing fluids and oils, you can use a pillow encasement that will keep the pillows clean and keep dust mites away from the pillow filling. The encasement is much easier to wash than an entire pillow.
Quilts – Hand made quilts need special attention. They needed to be washed with care. You can place the quilt in the dryer on a hot setting for a few minutes to kill dust mites and remove the dust. You can also use a clothesline and hang it outside in the bright sunlight to help keep the dust mites at bay.
For more information from DIY green cleaning expert Leslie Reichert, visit greencleaningcoach.com