How often do Britons change their bedsheets?

Peter RavenData Journalist
November 04, 2022, 9:41 AM GMT+0

A quarter of young people wait at least a month before cleaning their bed linens

While changing your bed sheets isn't the most exciting of household chores, who can deny that climbing into a freshly made bed isn’t one of life's simplest pleasures?

According to the Sleep Foundation, most people should wash their sheets once per week. But new research from YouGov RealTime has discovered that only 28% of Britons are changing their bed sheets that frequently, with a further 2% of the population saying they wash their sheets more than once a week.

The largest group is those who keep their bed linen clean and fresh once a fortnight (36%), while 9% wash their sheets once every three weeks and 11% once every four weeks. The survey also discovered that 4% of Britons are happy to share their sleeping quarters with dead skin and dust mites for two months or more.

Age appears to play a huge factor in when the bed sheets are introduced to the washing machine. While a third of all people aged 45 and over wash their sheets at least once a week (35-36%), only 17% of 18-24 year olds can commit to a similar level of hygiene. The younger generation are also happier to wait at least a month before changing bed linen, with twice as many 18-24 year olds (26%) doing so compared to those aged 55 and over (12%).

There is also a clear gender divide, with women more likely to clean their sheets weekly (30% vs 25% of men) or fortnightly (40% vs 32%).

How long do people think it takes before bedsheets become unhygienic?

YouGov also asked at what stage people feel bed sheets become “unhygienic” and subsequently “disgusting”.

Four in ten Britons (39%) feel that bedsheets that haven’t been washed after a fortnight are “unhygienic”, a figure which includes 11% who would already have considered them unsanitary for a week by that point. A further 15% put the borderline at three weeks while another 16% say it kicks in at the 4 week mark.

Almost half (47%) of those aged 55 and over class sheets that haven’t been washed for two weeks as unhygienic compared to just 20% of 18-24 year olds. Similarly, 42% of all women agree that bed linen is less than hygienic if not washed after a fortnight compared to 36% of men.

As for the length of time between washes before bed linen is considered to be “disgusting”, 15% feel this threshold has been reached after two weeks with a further 15% describing sheets as disgusting if not washed after three weeks and another 18% being disgusted with sheets that haven’t been washed for a month.

More than a third of those aged 45 and over (37%) define bed sheets that haven’t been changed after three weeks as “disgusting” compared to just 19% of 18-24 year olds. Similarly, 34% of women consider sheets that have been on the bed for three weeks as disgusting whereas only 27% of men feel the same.