How often do you change your bed sheets?

You know that delicious feeling when you slip into freshly laundered bed sheets? Have you ever wondered why it feels so good? There’s more to it than just physical cleanliness.


I once saw a microscope image of a shirt collar. All the strands of cotton were neatly interwoven into an attractive criss-cross pattern. Next to it was another photo of the same shirt collar 24 hours later, after having been worn by someone. What a difference! The strands were now coated with thick, encrusted layers of gunk, invisible to the naked eye but looking like a backdrop to a horror movie when examined close up.

Exactly the same thing happens with bed sheets — or more so, depending on how often you change them. A study at the University of Oregon in 2015 discovered that each of us is surrounded by a unique cloud of microbes, and we leave a trail of them wherever we go, mixed in with particles from our breath, skin, hair, and clothes, and the dust we pick up in our travels. Each centimetre of our skin contains thousands of bacteria, and every time we move, breathe, fart, or scratch ourselves, they become airborne.

We aren’t born this way – babies have no microbes at all – but we collect them during the process of birth and in the first few years of life, until they come to outnumber our human cells by a ratio of about 4:3. It’s thought that this explains why babies who are born through caesarian section have a higher risk for certain allergies and obesity, because they do not acquire the usual vaginal microbes during the birth process.

Your microbial cloud has an energetic counterpart

It’s not known yet how far a person’s microbial cloud extends. It’s at least several feet. Its energetic counterpart is well documented in ancient Hindu texts, and is known as the aura (the part of the human etheric that permeates and surrounds the physical body). We also excrete etheric debris everywhere we go, and particularly during the hours of sleep, which is when the etheric body is revitalized.

The fact of the matter is that when you sleep in the same bed sheets night after night, you are sleeping in layers of your body’s own bacterial excrement and your etheric’s nightly excretion of grunge.

The quality of your sleep at night directly affects the quality of your waking life, so weekly changing of bed sheets is a must. And if you wear night clothes, aim to change them daily or at least every two days. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be very surprised at the difference it makes.

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2016, updated 2022

Related article
Why it feels so good to sleep in your own bed

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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18 Responses to How often do you change your bed sheets?

  1. I have a slightly different feeling about it. My first night in fresh bed sheets or fresh night clothes is never very nourishing for me. It feels like sleeping in a new house, doesn’t feel comfortable. I feel better when there’s some energy of me imprinted in the sheets and clothes. Changing the sheets once in 1-2 weeks feels fine, not shorter or longer than that (with the exception of pillow cases that I change weekly). But changing night clothes every or every second night would probably not do for me. I change them once a week. And I put my pillow to the freezer once a year, and am considering replacing my downs pillow with a synthetic one.

    1. Hi Tali – It’s very unusual for someone not to enjoy sleeping in freshly laundered bed sheets.

      Perhaps you are using harsh laundry detergents to wash your bed sheets or toxic dryer sheets to dry them, which your etheric is reacting to? If so, I suggest you try using natural soap nuts and woollen dryer balls instead, as this article explains: Five simple steps to taking control of your laundry.

      Alternatively, it may be that you find sleeping in your own etheric excretions comforting, in a similar way to how people who have a lot of clutter often use it to create a safe cocoon of stagnant energy around themselves. I hope it’s the former, not the latter!

  2. I had allergy testing a few years ago. I was in desperate shape and thought I would test allergic to 25 things or more…but my only allergy turned out to be dust mites. Our beds are the greatest collectors of these mites as we shed our skin in them at night. So I purchased dust mite protectors for my mattress, box spring and pillow.

    I rejoiced in having a valid excuse to not feel pressured into having dust ruffles, throw pillows, curtains, rugs, wall hangings, table coverings, stuffed animals and other soft fabric, “dust mite hotels” in my bedroom environment. My bedroom is airy, relaxing and light. Whoopie! Less clutter…less shopping, less spending, less housework! More freedom. More time. More peace. More money. More fun. Zen!

    A dust mite allergy is actually an allergic reaction to the dead body parts and excrement of these microscopic creatures, not to the living mites themselves. They proliferate as they feed on our shed skin as well as on pet dander. So it’s not a good idea to sleep with Pup and Puss, either. They need their own beds.

    Dust mites also feed on feathers (think goose down). I use low-cost polyfill bed pillows. They’re cheap and easy to replace once a year (some people change them out every 6 months). I air out my bed while bathing and breakfasting every morning and change my sheets once a week (I know this time frame works well because I occasionally start sneezing on day 6).

    Hot water isn’t hot enough to kill the living mites that remain on the sheets unless it’s at an extremely dangerous level…but even that cools down by the time it travels through plumbing and reaches the washing machine…rendering it not hot enough to succeed. Plus, it’s expensive. There are also expensive chemical additives that can be added to the wash cycle to kill the living mites and help prevent their reproduction…and, therefore, their continued excrement and death. I would never even consider these options.

    Luckily, I have a large chest freezer. I put my bed sheets in a white plastic trash bag in the freezer for 2 days before laundering. Some people say one day is enough but I play it safe and usually do 2. Also, as my clothing laundry accumulates, I put that in the freezer, too. The freezing temperature over this time period kills the mites, thereby reducing their numbers, helping to reduce their ongoing reproduction. This helps so much that I only freeze and launder my polyfill comforter about twice a year.

    Yes, I know it sounds CRAZY, but it’s science. And it’s so easy. I have my life back! Breathing is a wonderful thing. As is not being in ongoing sinus headache pain with watery, burning eyes, sneezing, sniffling, dripping, blowing, snorting, a sore throat, double earaches, unending exhaustion and overall misery. I always feel so joyful to have a clean, special bed to slip into (I can feel the higher energy)! And the polyfill comforter is pretty, lightweight and easy to handle and care for—yet still really warm on cold nights.

    Should I move to a smaller abode some day, I would definitely purchase a smaller chest freezer. There are some that are about the same size as a typical kitchen appliance (stove, dishwasher, etc.). Of course, there’s always still room for food, too.

    I hope this may be of help to others who suffer as I once did. What an incredible gift of health and liberation it has been for me.

    1. Hi Pixie – The problem with polyfill is that it is made of polyester, which is a plastic that takes up to 200 years to decompose when sent to landfill, poisoning the earth as it does so and leaching into waterways. I suggest you research the mite-proof wonders of woollen bedding, which will give you a much better quality of sleep and will do no harm to the environment at all, since wool if fully biodegradable.

  3. I agree that it is wonderful and beneficial to well-being to change sheets/duvet covers/pillow cases weekly, however I find this much easier and achievable in the summer months when they can be dried outside, than in the UK winter. Tricky in a small 750 square ft house in a cold climate, when one does not own a tumble dryer and everything takes 24 hrs to dry on airers x 3 lots of bedding. So aspirations aside, I find 2 or 3 weekly far more manageable for these for our household. Nightwear of course we wear clean daily.

  4. Thank you for your books I’ve had them for almost 20 years. In addition to this, I guess you recommend showering every day? Can you write about the benefits of this? I would like to show it to an elderly relative who showers once a week. Thank you for your blog.

    1. Hi Sophia – I do shower each morning myself, including washing my hair. During the 20 years I lived in Bali, the climate was so humid that, like everyone else, I showered each morning and evening. However, I use tiny quantities of soap and shampoo and only the kind that contain no parabens or other nasties. I’m not planning to write an article about this because each person’s needs and preferences are different. In the case of your relative, if he/she shows other forms of self-neglect, you might want to read up on Diogenes Syndrome.

  5. FASCINATING, as well as helpful.

    Fellow Haute Couture Designer, Valentino (Garavani) has always had his household help change his LINEN fiber bed linens daily with freshly washed and ironed ones.

    Seemed a tad obsessive to me years ago, but now I see the higher wisdom in it.
    I swoon at the Luxury of this practice. X O

  6. Dear Karen. Thank you for this clarification and reasoning behind changing sheets weekly. I would think that if you do not wear night clothes, changing sheets more often would be desirable. I do wear night clothes and not because of your blog, I will be changing nightly. I also pull my top covers down during the day to let my sheets “breathe”. If it’s a sunny day, I open the curtains and open the windows to let the sun do its work. Does this make sense?

    1. Washing your sheets weekly and peeling them back each day to air your bed for an hour or so while you have breakfast helps to keep dust mites under control. So even if you wear night clothes that you change each day, it is still best to wash your sheets every week. And there is no advantage to leaving your bed unmade all day. It means you will miss out on all the benefits that starting your day that way can bring.

  7. All of you are TOO funny!

    I believe that I am a wee bit OCD when it comes to space where people sit- I feel as if it is “contaminated”. I fully realize that this is beyond odd. Seeing someone sit on a bed in their street clothes, as I call them, is nothing short of gross! It absolutely puts me over the edge if it’s done in my home. HAVE to wash everything

    Maybe I can attribute a little of my craziness to being overly sensitive to the gunk left by others!

    1. Dear Jody, you may be more OCD than you think. I am very aware of energy imprints left by people and draw the line at shoes in my bedroom, but it wouldn’t bother me at all if someone I know well were to sit on my bed, street clothes and all. If contamination fears intrude into other parts of your life too, I warmly recommend you seek help. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has a good success rate with this.

  8. Another life changing article by Karen Kingston! Grabbed all my clothes for a gentle wash though they do not look or feel dirty. The bit about microbes motivated me. Thank you.

  9. I change my sheets every two weeks, but this is because I have a queen size bed and sleep on one side of the bed one week and then switch sides. Is the grunge floating over to side #2 even when I’m not sleeping on it? I thought I was being so clever and saving water at the same time!

  10. Well yuck ! Off to boil my sheets, the mattress, the bed frame, the floorboards, the cats and possibly the children….

    1. Taking the cat to dry cleaner as I speak. Sheets and towels changed on new moon and full moon. And pj’s when they can stand up on their own…lol just joking!

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