How Often Should You Wash Household Linens?

How Often Should You Wash Household Linens?

You know what it’s like when you go and stay with those friends who seem to have a perfect life. Their linen smells of sea breezes and freesias. Their towels are soft. Their cushion covers are clean and freshly scented. Their beds tempt you to slumber with a gentle waft of lavender. Life just feels fresher and more beautiful in their world. So what’s their secret? Well, we’re going to let you in on it.


For starters, using the correct washing detergents is key – those in the know tend to favor Tide, and are careful about what temperature they wash their linens at, as well as how often. Just chucking your duvet covers in the machine and hoping they’ll come out OK simply won’t, well, wash. Here’s what you need to know about all your household linens:

How often should you wash towels?
Once a week, or every five uses, wash on a high heat (140 F), using Tide detergent. Don’t use fabric softener as it limits absorbency. Alternate between drying in the tumble dryer and air-drying, to avoid that ‘starchy’ feel. If you tumble-dry towels too frequently, you’ll shorten their life, as the motion and friction can cause fiber damage and loss.

How often should you wash face cloths?
Hand-wash face cloths once a week using mild detergent or soap. Replace every two months or so.

How often should you wash bed linen?
Ideally, once a week (leave no longer than two weeks), separately from everything else. Wash at a minimum of 140 F, to kill dust mites, using a good-quality detergent such as Tide. Hang up to air-dry, or tumble-dry on a cool setting.

How often should you treat duvets and pillows?
Plump pillows every morning to retain their shape and get rid of lingering dust and dirt. Clean them twice a year, by squeezing the air out and washing them, two at a time, on a mid-temperature (100 F). Hang out to dry.

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Wash your duvet at least once a year at a low temperature (85 F). Use a mild detergent and, if stained, use a detergent that has an inbuilt stain remover or Tide’s pre-treat cap. Stop your machine before the spin cycle in order to rinse your duvet twice, as it can retain a lot of detergent if not properly rinsed. Tumble-dry on a hot setting – if it’s too small for the duvet, use a launderette. Do not hang out to air-dry as duvets take so long to dry fully that they can start to smell moldy.

How often should you wash blankets?
Wash once a month, on a very low temperature to avoid shrinkage. A cold, wool setting is generally best, but check the care label. Do not tumble-dry. Dry flat on a towel over a clothes airer, outdoors (weather permitting).

How often should you wash table linen?
If stained, rinse immediately. If long-term stained, use a specialist pre-wash treatment as high temperatures will seal in stains. Wash regularly (after every use if necessary) at a high temperature (140 F – 190 F) but separate colors from off-white and white linen. Fast spin recommended. Do not tumble-dry but hang out to air-dry instead. Iron while slightly damp.

How often should you wash soft furnishings?
Wash cushion covers and loose covers as needed, but at least every three months. Hand-wash at a cold temperature, then partially dry on a line or at a low temperature in the dryer. Put back on cushions and furniture when still slightly damp in order to retain their shape.

How often should you wash dish towels?
Often – every day if possible – and on a high heat (140 F – 190 F) to kill germs. Even linen dish towels can take the heat as they’re made of strong fibers. Dry on the line so that any stitching or glue doesn’t melt in the dryer.

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