How Often Should I Wash These 6 Common Household Items?

Keeping a clean and tidy home can be challenging when you already juggle a full work and family schedule. The household items you touch and use every day may look clean, but invisible germs and contaminants can cling to your towels, bedding and curtains. Keep your home’s fabrics clean by learning how often to wash these six common items you use around the house.

1. How Often Should I Wash My Towels?

A bath towel helps us dry off after we step out of the shower or the bath, and it is all too easy to hang it up on the bathroom towel rack and forget about it. After all, it will be dry the next time you come back to bathe.

But bathrooms get humid, and they can create the perfect breeding ground for things like germs, mold and mildew. Every time we towel off, we shed microscopic contaminants we pick up during the day while we go to work, school, the gym and run errands. Leaving a damp towel invites those invisible germs to grow. Plus, a moist environment summons mold and mildew to join the party.

Limit the use of your bath towels to 3-4 times.


Rather than letting those germs and particles add up until your bath towel starts to acquire a questionable smell, take action to inhibit growth before it starts. Limit the use of your bath towels to three to four times. This means if you shower in the morning before work and then again after you get back from your evening hour at the gym, you have used the towel twice. Once you shower again the next morning, toss the towel in the hamper or straight into the wash.

Count the number of times you use the towel, not the number of days it hangs on the rack. If you share a bath towel with a partner or a child, count how many times they use it, too. The three to four times rule still applies. If someone happens to be sick, whether with a mild cold or the full-blown flu, skip the sharing and stick to a one-time use rule. Tossing those towels directly in the wash will help prevent spreading that sickness.

How to Wash Bath Towels

Now that you know how often to wash your bath towels, what is the most effective way to do so? Here are a few tips to keep your towels clean and make them last:

  • Wash your towels in a separate load. Remember when you first learned how to do laundry? Keep similar fabrics and colors together. The same rule applies to bath towels.
  • Use cold water. Hot water seems like the best way to get rid of those pesky germs, right? Actually, hot water can cause your colored towels to fade quickly. Go ahead and wash your white towels with hot water, but stick to the cold cycle for your colored towels. Don’t worry. Detergent will do its job and get both loads clean.
  • Wash your towels with vinegar and detergent. There is such a thing as too much detergent, and it can leave a residue on your towels. Instead of doubling down on detergent, try using half the recommended amount paired with a cup or so of white vinegar. The vinegar will help your towels keep their vibrant color, and it’ll remove any residue left behind by the detergent.
  • Avoid fabric softener. Everyone loves a soft, fluffy bath towel, but beware of fabric softener. Using too much of it can actually lead to a build-up of residue that makes your towels less absorbent. Try using dryer balls as an alternative way to achieve that fluffy feeling.
  • Make sure your towels are dry. After you’ve done everything right to clean your towels, you want to keep it that way. Make sure your towels are completely dry when you take them out of the dryer. If they are even a little damp, they could allow mold and mildew growth before you even use the towels again.

2. How Often Should I Wash My Kitchen Towels?

We use kitchen towels to clean up after we cook, dry our hands after we wash them, and sometimes even as napkins. You want any household item close to where food is being prepared to be as clean as possible, but a recent study found 89 percent of kitchen towels carry coliform bacteria, a type of germ that can cause food poisoning.

89% of kitchen towels carry the type of germ that can cause food poisoning.


How often should you wash towels in the kitchen? Kitchen towels almost always get used more often than bath towels, so they should get washed more often. Sometimes, it only takes common sense to know when to toss a kitchen towel in the wash. For example, if you clean up a messy spill, you know that towel needs to be washed before it gets used again.

Other times, it isn’t as clear. Maybe you are just drying your hands a few times a day on a kitchen towel. A good rule of thumb is to wash those types of kitchen towels every other day. Just like bath towels, keep an eye out for damp or smelly towels. Those are both a clear sign that a good washing is in order.

Kitchen towel and bath towel fabrics tend to be similar, so you can take the same approach to keeping them both clean. Wash your kitchen towels separately, particularly if they have any sort of food on them, and avoid fabric softeners, too.

3. How Often Should I Wash My Sheets?

You spend a lot of time in your bed. That is supposed to be a place where you can shed all of your worries and get a good night’s rest. Naturally, that means you want it to be clean. We sweat and shed skin cells in our sleep, and most of us have dust mites in our beds. Some of us even eat in bed. Do not let food crumbs, allergens and natural bed build-up linger for too long.

How often should you wash sheets? Making stripping down your bed and getting the sheets into the wash a weekly or bi-weekly ritual. It can be hard to get in the habit but think of your sheets like an item of clothing. Would you wear the same outfit for weeks on end without washing it? Definitely not. Plus, the feeling of sliding in between a clean pair of sheets is one of the best feelings in the world.

Strip down your bed and wash your sheets a weekly or bi-weekly ritual.

How to Clean Your Sheets

Here are few tried and true tips for keeping your sheets clean:

  • Read the tags. Sheets come in all different colors and fabrics. The best place to start is by looking at the label on your sheets, which probably has specific washing instructions. You do not want to accidentally shrink your sheets or ruin the coloring. You can look to the label for directions on water and drying temperatures.
  • Do not stuff the washer full. You want to make sure your sheets are completely cleaned, which means they need enough space to move through the wash cycle. Cramming your washer full could mean parts of your sheet miss out on a full cleaning.
  • Consider ironing your sheets. You know how the sheets in hotels always feel impossibly cool, crisp and clean? Ironing is a part of that secret. It might seem like a hassle to add this extra step, but ironing can do more than create that hotel feeling. Ironing will eradicate any stubborn germs or dust mites that survived the washing process. Plus, ironed sheets are much easier to fold and put in storage if you are not planning to use them right away.

4. How Often Should I Wash My Pillows?

You can toss your pillowcases in the wash every week or every other week with your sheets, but what about the pillows? Our pillows are in bed with us, so they get their fair share of exposure to sweat, dust mites, food and damp hair straight from the shower. You want the place you rest your head every night to be clean. Breathing in allergens is no way to sleep.

How often to wash the pillows on your bed? Pillows are pretty low maintenance. You can get away with washing them every six months or so— finally, something that doesn’t land on the weekly to-do list. It is also a good idea to replace your pillows every few years. New, fluffy pillows are never a bad thing.

Wash your pillows every 6 months of so.

How to Clean Pillows

Pillows can be pretty bulky, so what is the best way to wash them? Try these approaches:

  • Check what material they are made of. Usually, pillows made of foam or synthetic materials can withstand a machine washing. On the other hand, feather-filled pillows will need to be washed by hand. You can do this with a basin, warm water and gentle laundry detergent. Make sure you check the label before you toss your pillows in the wash.
  • Pair them up in the washer. If you do have machine-washable pillows, put them in two a time to keep your washer balanced. It’s a good idea to run the rinse cycle twice to make sure all of the detergent is out of the pillows.
  • Use rubber bands. Roll your pillows up and secure them with rubber bands in the middle. This can help your pillow keep its shape without the stuffing material clumping together. Make sure you remove the rubber bands before drying your pillows.

5. How Often Should I Wash My Curtains?

It is easy to forget about your curtains, but they can attract a lot of dust and other airborne particles as well as absorb smells in your home. Curtains in the kitchen can also end up collecting grease, particularly if they are near the stove. As with any other fabric in your home, you do not want to wait until your curtains look or smell dirty.

How often should you wash curtains? This can depend on where they are in your home, but you should put this on your cleaning agenda every one to three months. This will keep them fresh, help them last longer and prevent the build-up of allergens, like dust.

How to Clean Your Curtains

Here are a few tips for washing your curtains:

  • Know your curtains’ fabric. As always, check the label before you start washing. If you have curtains made of a material like cotton, you can easily wash them in your machine at home. But if your curtains are made of a fabric such as silk, they will be too delicate for the washer. These types of curtains will need to be professionally dry cleaned.
  • Follow instructions. If your curtains are machine washable, the label will have instructions on what water and drying temperature to use. You might even need to hang-dry your curtains. Read carefully to ensure you do not damage the fabric.

6. How Often Should I Wash My Pet’s Bed?

Many people let their pets sleep in bed with them — they can be great cuddlers — but oftentimes cats and dogs have their own beds too. Pet beds pick up fur, dander, oil and probably mud from your furry friends. This means you need to keep those beds clean so your pet does not spread the mess to the rest of the house.

When is it time to wash your pet’s bed? It depends on how dirty your pet gets. An indoor cat’s bed will probably be pretty clean, but it will still pick up hair, oil from the cat’s fur and dust. A dog’s bed will have all of that, plus whatever mischief it gets into in- and outside of the house.

Think at least once a month for washing your pet’s bed, but know that the as-needed approach will be best. Dogs have accidents. Cats throw up. Keep an eye on their bed for any unexpected messes.

Consider a machine-washable pet bed.

You can make cleaning your pet’s bed easier by selecting the right bed. Think about getting a one-piece, machine-washable bed you can toss in the wash without a second thought. You can also get beds with a removable cover, which could make washing a simpler process. You can even make your own bed with old pillows and blankets you do not use anymore. Beds with foam pads or multiple parts might look great, but the clean-up process can be a big hassle.

Remember, cleaning your pet is another important part of keeping your pet bed clean. Cats are fastidious groomers who can largely take care of their own bathing needs, but dogs are a different story. Breeds with long or oily coats will need more regular baths, while breeds with shorter coats tend to require less maintenance.

Of course, your dog might get into messes on purpose. Playing in mud or rolling in the grass means an automatic bath. If you dry Fido off with a bath towel, you can toss that one straight into the wash.

Buy Your New Towels From Towel Super Center

If you want more insight on how to keep your towels fresh and clean, check out these helpful washing tips. When you are ready to replace your home’s kitchen towels and bath towels, find a wide variety of wholesale towels at Towel Super Center. Remember to stick to your cleaning schedule once you receive your brand-new towels.

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