One of the easiest ways to spruce up your living space is to change the linens in your home. A simple trick that instantly elevates a space, curating your linens around a theme (Tropical summer? Moody autumn? Sleek sandy hues to mimic a soothing desert getaway?) effectively transforms your home without having to invest in laborious home improvements.
Linens, whether they’re your drapes or bedding or tablecloth or pillow cases or towels, are statement-making accessories that can define a space. Consider them the bangs of haircuts. It’s only a little hair but, boy, does it make a difference.
For the germaphobes in the room, changing your linens ensures that you’re not coming into contact with accumulated dirt, bacteria and parasitic creepy crawlies. While each home and its occupants are different, here’s a cheat sheet that can serve as your guide to changing things up—home fabric style.
Pillowcases and bedsheets
Change: Once every two weeks
Pillowcases and bed sheets pretty much collect all of the disgusting body debris we don’t tend to think about—sweat, dandruff, saliva, dead skin cells, oil and other body fluids. This cesspool of micro-muck can attract dust mites and bed bugs which makes lying down on a dirty bed of your own making even worse. All of these can lead to acne problems, eczema, pink eye, runny noses and general discomfort. But, if you remember to regularly clean and change your sheets, this can be avoided. Aside from washing your sheets, you can also try showering before bed to get rid of unwanted dead cells and various fluids. ake sure not to lie down in your outside clothes so you can avoid bringing in even more dirt.
Tablecloths and runners
Change: Twice a month
Tablecloths and runners bear the brunt of food stains and grease buildup because of their proximity to food. While it’s recommended to wash frequently, you can stretch it for up to twice a month especially if you use placemats while eating. It’s difficult to hand wash a tablecloth because of its size so make sure to follow the cleaning instructions. For difficult stains like red wine or red pasta sauce, let the fabric sit in water and powdered detergent before machine washing, in order to soften and ease stain removal.
Wash: After 3-5 uses
Bath towels are a haven for dead and dry skin cells, despite using them to dry your—hopefully—clean body. The dampness of towels render them a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don’t have at least three to four towel sets to use in rotation, consider washing your towel after you’ve used it five times, just so you can immediately get rid of accumulated dead cells and bacteria. You can also stay on the safe side of preventing COVID-19 by immediately washing towels you’ve used in your “I went out and now want to clean myself of possible coronavirus remnants” shower.
Wash: Every after use
Stains and spills from food, drinks, creams and other liquids make cleaning rags prone to bacteria, so it’s really best to wash and replace them after every use. Before washing rags, make sure to remove any solid/hardened residue that may have clung to it before adding soap. You can also use hot water (the hottest temperature that won’t ruin the fabric) and bleach to effectively clean, especially if the stains are hard to remove.
Floor mats and rugs
Clean: Twice a week with a vacuum cleaner, immediately after spills
Floor mats and rugs can accumulate quite a lot of dust and small particles every day, especially because they come into contact with shoes and slippers. If your rug is safe to be vacuumed (no hanging cloth fibers), then do so regularly. You can also set time to clean it more thoroughly with a cloth and diluted mixture of water and all-purpose cleaner—however, don’t overdo spritzing the mixture so as to prevent dampness and mold build-up. Once quarantine lifts you can also look into the possibility of hiring a professional deep cleaning service every few years.