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Home Linens: Spring Cleaning Edition

Often, clients ask me questions like "How long should I keep __________?" The answer varies depending on the content of the _________, but there are some standard guidelines for household essesntials like pillows, towels and bed linens.

Over time, even the highest quality linens wear out, losing their softness, absorbency, and support. But how often should you replace these items? Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you maintain a fresh, healthy home environment.

Bed Sheets

Bed sheets are in direct contact with our skin for several hours each night, making them susceptible to wear and tear..

Replacement Frequency: Every 1-2 years

Signs to Replace:

  • Noticeable thinning or fraying

  • Persistent stains

  • Loss of elasticity in fitted sheets

  • Unpleasant odors even after washing

Maintenance Tips:

  • Wash sheets once a week. Follow care instructions on your sheets. Most can be washed on cold/ warm. I advise using hot water only when someone in the household has been ill.

  • Rotate between two sets of sheets to reduce wear.

Bedding (Duvets and Comforters)

Bedding such as duvets and comforters usually last longer than sheets due to less direct contact with the body.

Replacement Frequency: Every 4-6 years

Signs to Replace:

  • Lumps or uneven distribution of filling

  • Visible wear or tears

  • Loss of warmth

Maintenance Tips:

  • Use a duvet cover and wash it weekly along with your sheets and pillowcases

  • Fluff your comforter or duvet weekly to maintain its shape.

  • Air out duvets and comforters periodically.


Pillows play a crucial role in providing neck and head support during sleep. Over time, they lose their firmness and can accumulate allergens.

Replacement Frequency: Every 1-2 years

Signs to Replace:

  • Flatness or loss of support

  • Lumps or clumps in the filling

  • Persistent odor or yellowing

Maintenance Tips:

  • Use pillow protectors and wash them monthly.

  • Fluff pillows daily to maintain their shape.

  • Wash pillows (if machine washable) every 3-6 months.


Towels are exposed to moisture and frequent use, which can lead to wear and reduced absorbency.

Replacement Frequency: Every 1-3 years

Signs to Replace:

  • Thinning, pilling, frayed edges or holes

  • Smell that doesn’t go away after washing

  • Reduced absorbency

Maintenance Tips:

  • Wash towels after 2 uses to prevent bacterial growth.

  • Avoid fabric softeners as they can reduce absorbency and create build up on your fabrics.

  • Dry towels thoroughly between uses to prevent mold and mildew.

General Tips for Extending Linen Lifespan

  1. Follow Care Instructions: Always adhere to the manufacturer's care instructions to prevent damage.

  2. Proper Storage: Store linens in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture damage. No one likes a musty towel!

  3. Invest in Quality: Higher-quality linens have a heftier upfront cost but often last longer and maintain their integrity better over time. Companies like Parachute, The Company Store, and Quince (where my blissful linen sheets came from) sell quality linens at reasonable prices.

Replacing household linens at the right intervals is essential for maintaining comfort, hygiene, and overall health. By following the guidelines above, you can ensure that your linens are always in top condition, providing the best possible environment for your daily routines. Remember, investing in good quality linens and caring for them properly can significantly extend their lifespan, making your home a more comfortable and inviting place.


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