The key to a healthy bed is ensuring that your bedlinen is clean and that your mattress and pillows are protected. We should change our bedlinen once a week but according to research, 5% of us wash our sheets only every four weeks, and more than 30% of us change their bedlinen every 2 weeks.

The fact is that our bed sheets absorb a large amount of sweat, body oils, saliva and dirt (to name but a few of secretions that may contaminate our bedding!). Infrequent cleaning of sheets and pillowcases also allows these fluids to seep into the pillows and mattresses, which are much more difficult to clean. On top of all of this, the dead skin cells we shed attract dust mites. Dust mites are the one of the most common triggers for allergies and a lack of regular cleaning could result in sneezing, a runny nose or, in extreme cases, even wheezing or breathing problems.

Whilst we recommend that you wash your sheets every week, if you’re prone to acne, it’s advisable that pillowcases are changed more often. The same applies if you go to bed without removing your make-up, have greasy/oily hair or use lots of oil based products on your skin.

We also advise that you use pillow and mattress protectors to create a barrier to prevent these contaminants being absorbed. They are simple to fit and easy to launder and keep your mattress and pillows fresh and clean.

So, what’s the best way to wash and care for your bedlinen?

1. Protect your bedding from staining

There are plenty of stains that can be avoided. For a start, eating in bed is a big no no as stains from coffee, tea and spicy food are very difficult to remove. Similarly, pets can introduce mud and other nasties into your bed so keep them off if possible! Try and be fastidious and thoroughly remove all traces of makeup which can leave unattractive yellow stains on sheeting.

If you are unfortunate enough to get any of these types of stains, it’s important that you treat it quickly before the stain becomes fixed and more difficult to shift.

2. Wash your bedlinen correctly

If you want to keep your sheets looking as white as the day you bought them then make sure that your washing machine is clean before you start. Wipe the inside seals and run the drum clean cycle if your machine has one.

Only wash white items together – check to ensure that no other colours have got mixed in before you start your machine.

Ensure that heavy stains are soaked overnight using the correct stain removal product. To help remove stubborn stains try adding a quarter cup of lemon juice to your wash along with your normal washing powder or liquid. The citric acid will help shift marks.

Always use a quality detergent – one that contains optical brighteners will help to maintain that ultra white colour and ensure that you use the correct dosage. Avoid using bleach as this can damage the fibres and degrade your bedlinen.

Alternatively try adding bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to your wash – both of these are natural brighteners and should help to bring the freshness back to your whites.

Avoid overloading your machine – your wash items will not be able to move as freely, so dirt and stains are not removed as well as a smaller load where water and detergent are able to penetrate each item properly.

Select the cotton wash cycle – the high agitation will really clean your sheets and this programme will ensure that most of the water is removed before drying. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation found on the label to ensure that you wash at the correct temperature.

3. Dry your sheeting naturally

Drying your sheets outside in the sunshine is always recommended. The sun will naturally help to ‘bleach’ your bedding, brightening your whites even more. You’ll also find that they will crease and degrade less than when dried in a tumble dryer.

So why not treat yourself to some new fresh sheets and ensure that you follow the advice to keep them as crisp and white as the day you purchased them.