This is how often you should wash these household items


Ever caught a good whiff of your dishtowel and wondered about the sort of evils that exist within its microfibres?

You’re probably not washing things like your towels, floor mat, and pillows often enough. Use this guide to see if your household items are getting their routine showers when they should.

Dishtowel – Weekly

Your dish towel comes into contact with foods, spills, and bacteria. Wash it weekly to prevent contamination to clean dishes and the kitchen counter which hold your food!

Hand towel – Everyday

© 123rf

Our hands touch many dirt and bacteria-ridden things on a daily basis: toilets, doorknobs, garbage, and keyboards. Multiply your pair of hands by your family of 5, and that’s how dirty hand towels are. Bathroom hand towels also pick up the germs and bacteria from the toilet.

If you live alone or just with your partner, then wash it every 2 – 3 days.

Bath towel – Every 3 – 4 uses

Many don’t get this one right – bath towels should be washed more frequently than once a week. They’re a playground for dead skin and bacteria especially when not hung to dry thoroughly.

Bath mats – Weekly

These ones tend to be neglected because they appear as dirty or drenched. However, bath mats are Dirt Central because they’re the hand towels for feet.

Read more: Dirtiest spots in your kitchen (and how to clean them)

Bed sheets – Weekly or fortnightly


Picture: Getty

To be safe, wash your sheets once a week. Some of the nicer things your sheets collect are dead skin cells, sweat, and bodily oils. How often you wash your sheets also depends on how you treat them. If you often skip showers and dive in after late nights, then wash them weekly.

Do this by turning your sheets inside out and throwing them into a washing machine with a warm wash cycle. This prevents colour runs and shrinking, and kills any bacteria. To be safe, check the washing label beforehand.

Sofa covers – Every 6 months

If your sofa doesn’t have removable covers, then get leather or fabric spray-on cleaners. If they’re machine-friendly, put them on a gentle, cold wash cycle. Tend to dirt marks and potential spots immediately with stain removers and spray-on cleaners because the wine spill you leave behind won’t age like wine.

Rugs – Every 6 months or yearly

Rugs are cosy and inviting, and not just to you; but to pet fur, your fur, dirt, and tons of bacteria. Deep clean your rugs every 6 – 12 months, but vacuum it weekly. If you have a pet that sheds frequently, then you’ll probably have to do these more often.

To do a deep clean, read the washing label on your rug. Smaller ones can usually be hand-washed, while some are machine-friendly. If they’re none of the above, hire a professional to give it a thorough steam cleaning.

Read more: How to clean carpet

Curtains and blinds – Every 6 months

Curtains collect dust and dirt that dull their colours over time. A dusty curtain can also trigger allergies.

Lightweight curtains can usually be machine-washed. However, as certain fabrics shrink in the wash, check the washing label or your curtain provider for proper washing methods. Sheer curtains or any curtain made of delicate material should be hand-washed while heavy fabrics should be steam cleaned – hire a professional for this.

Dish-Washing Sponge – Every use

Never thought you needed to wash the washing tool? Sponges – especially when damp – are a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure to rinse it after every use, wring it, then dry it on a flat, open surface. Replace your sponge every 2 weeks.

Pillows – Every 3 – 6 months

© 123rf

It’s not just pillowcases that need regular showers, but pillows too. As with everything else, check the washing label beforehand as a feather or down pillows should be dry-cleaned.

If your pillows are machine-friendly, wash them in a gentle cycle of hot water, using liquid detergent. This will remove mould, bacteria, and odour. Then, dry it out in the sun to fluff it back up. Wash 2 pillows together to avoid the clanging from an imbalanced load.

Duvets and blankets – Every 6 months

©Katarzyna Bialasiewicz |123rf

The feather or down pillow rules apply to your duvets. For machine-friendly ones, treat stains by moving the filling to the side before applying stain removers. Then wash your duvet with warm water and on a gentle setting.

Since most duvets are too large for home washing machines, we advise you to take this to a professional laundry shop to get it done.

Mattress – Every 6 months

Yes, even with a bedsheet and protector, your mattress collects dirt and needs to be cleaned regularly. If it stinks, sift baking soda onto the mattress and leave for an hour to absorb moisture and odour before vacuuming it up.

If there is no traceable odour, then jump straight into spraying the mattress with a mattress disinfectant before wiping it with a damp cloth dipped in water and upholstery cleaner. Leave to dry thoroughly under a fan.

READ: 29 one-minute cleaning hacks to transform your home

This article was originally published as This is how often you should wash these household items by and is written by Charmaine Kon