Every month maybe? How about once every six months? Or maybe not bother washing it at all? Yes, believe it or not, some people never wash their duvet, and pillows are often thrown out and replaced without ever going anywhere near a washing machine.
How often you should wash both pillows and duvets is debatable, but the consensus seems to be every three or four months, and most certainly at least twice a year. And never, not ever.
By not washing your duvet and pillows often enough, you could be putting your health at risk. During the night, as we sleep, we shed skin cells that encourage dust mites. The droppings that these mites produce encourage bacteria as well as causing irritable eyes and asthma. The longer you leave your duvet and pillows unwashed, the more these dropping will accumulate.
The majority of people use more than one duvet throughout the year as they change from a higher tog rated one down to a lower one as winter passes and summer arrives. This is an ideal time to wash your winter duvet before replacing it with a cooler one.
Now we have determined how often you should wash your duvet and pillows, let us look at the washing process itself. The variety of different materials and fillings used in our bedding means not all washing processes are the same.
Choosing to ignore the manufacturers' instructions on how to wash them could easily end up ruining your duvet, and you could end up spending the night sleeping on twisted and contorted pillows.
Some duvets and pillows that contain feathers or down may not be suitable for washing machines and may need to be professionally dry-cleaned.
Let us first determine the best way to wash a duvet before moving onto the pillows. You have two main choices when determining where to wash your duvet: your own personal washing machine or a laundrette. The size of your drums washing machine and duvet will determine whether it's possible to do it at home.
If you're looking at washing a double duvet, you'll need a machine that holds 7kg or more. It's possible to clean a king-sized one in a machine with this capacity, but it will depend on the duvet's thickness and its tog rating. A machine that has a 6kg capacity will suffice if you only need to wash a single-sized duvet.
It's not unusual to find yellow stains on your duvet. This is not anything to worry about. They are the natural oils that your body produces during a night's sleep that are secreted in the form of sweat.
But it's wise to treat them first prior to putting your duvet in the washing machine. To make it easier to treat, shake away the filling in that area until it's isolated, then treat with the appropriate chemicals.
There are two main types of washing powder. Biological and no-bio. The primary difference between the two is the biological variety contains enzymes that are used for lifting stains. Non-bio products, on the other hand, contain no enzymes. Always use a non-bio powder when washing a feather duvet or pillow as the enzymes can eat away at the feathers, possibly ruining your duvet.
Try to fold your duvet in half before putting it in the machine and open it up when it's in there. This will ensure it has enough room to maneuver around the drum. If you have to force the washing machine's door shut, you'll need to take it to the laundrette as washing it in your own machine when it clearly doesn't comfortably fit will result in it not being sufficiently washed, and you could easily damage your machine.
Use a gentle cycle to wash your duvet, whether it's feather or synthetic, and run it through the rinse cycle twice to ensure all the soap suds have dispersed. A normal spin cycle is fine, again for both feathered and synthetic duvets.
Depending on the weather and the climate where you live, it's always best to dry your duvet outside. Not only will it smell fresher, but the sun's ultraviolet rays are a natural disinfectant, ideal for killing any bacteria that may be residing on your duvet.
Just make sure it's completely dry before you bring it inside and put it back on your bed.
Drying your duvet outdoors on the washing line is not always possible, especially in the winter months. In these circumstances, you can either use your own domestic tumble dryer or take it to a laundrette if you don't possess one or yours is too small to accommodate your bedding.
Select a low heat setting when drying your duvet and take it out every so often and give it a shake. This is to avoid clumping and running the filling. It might be a good idea to invest in some dryer balls. Commonly made out of compressed wool and plastic or rubber, these balls help prevent laundry from clumping together, making them an ideal accompaniment for your duvet.
We spend a great deal of time snuggled up to our pillow. It's often our place of comfort when we're feeling under the weather. All that bacteria from colds and other germs soon accumulate over time.
Although most pillows are machine washable, make sure to check first. Avoid washing foam pillows in a washing machine. These may need to be dry cleaned instead. Inspect your pillow beforehand to make sure the pillowcase has no holes, or else you could end up with a machine full of fiber filling, or worse still, a mass of wet feathers.
To ensure no filling falls out into the machine, insert your pillow into a pillowcase before putting it into your washing appliance. A temperature setting of sixty degrees would be ideal as this will kill most bacteria. If the size of your washing machine permits, try to wash two pillows at the same time. This will help to balance out the weight inside the machine.
Due to their size, pillows are a lot easier to dry naturally outdoors. If you do need to use a tumble dryer, use a low heat setting, and of course, check the cleaning label first to ascertain whether they are suitable to be tumble dried. Again, it's a good idea to use dryer balls, or even tennis balls or rolled-up socks to avoid clumping.
If your washing machine is too small and you live too far from the nearest launderette, you could always use a bath. Fill your bath three-quarters of the way full of lukewarm water (remember the water will rise when you put the duvet in) and add your detergent. Begin mixing in the detergent as you role the duvet around in the water.
Leave your bedding fully submerged for a few moments before rinsing off all the soap suds. To avoid a pool of water on your bathroom floor, rinse out as much water as possible before taking outside to dry.
Once you have it outdoors, you can give it a good squeeze to expel more water. When you feel you have gotten out as much water as you're going to, give it a good shake before hanging it on the line.