Laundry BasketIn a recent survey in the UK, it was revealed that 5 million adults change their sheets less than once every four weeks. Depending whether you are or in this group or not, you might find this news a little shocking. So how often should we be stripping the bed and popping on a new duvet cover?

Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, maintains that if you don’t change your sheets regularly you increase the risk of spreading bacteria. But what’s regularly? She suggests anything between once a week and once a fortnight is the sweet spot for changing bed linen.

Professor Bloomfield is quick to acknowledge that some people who don’t wash their sheets for months will never get ill, but it’s all about reducing the risk of problems. The unappetising fact is that the millions of skin cells that are shed on sheets attract dust mites, which produce droppings that contain allergens. These can lead to asthma, rhinitis and itching eyes.

When you do get round to stripping the beds Martha Stewart, the legendary voice of domestic excellence in the States, recommends washing your sheets in warm rather than hot water to avoid shrinking the fibres. She also suggests washing printed and colored pillowcases inside out to protect the colour.

Another tip is to remove the bed linen from the tumble dryer before it’s fully dry, so that there is less creasing. Having said that, always make sure your sheets are nice and dry before putting them away in the cupboard, or you could be faced with a nasty case of mildew when you bring them out again.

When you consider that we spend around a third of our lifetime in bed, it makes sense to make yours as clean and welcoming as possible. Follow these simple tips and you should be able to sleep a little more easily tonight.