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How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

July 7, 2018

If you sleep with pets, the sheets need to be washed more frequently. This cat, Riley, used to like to sleep beside me (he has gone on to his reward).

Another Way for week of June 22, 2018

Thoughts Upon Changing Sheets

What’s your worst cleaning-related job? Around your own home, what chores do you dislike most? Do you keep as clean of house as your mother—or your father —did, or do? Or maybe it’s the little job or jobs that you just put off from day to day?

I was amused by a recent email newsletter by author Sarah Quezada who wrote a book we published at Herald Press, Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World. She sends out a weekly email of her best finds—things she’s enjoyed reading or viewing or discovering—usually things online. She shared an article by another writer who detailed the various lengths of times adults change their bedsheets, and confessed to going as much as two months between changes, a practice that surely would have made our mothers’ generation “clutch their pearls” in dismay, as the article put it.

I love sleeping on clean sheets, but we now have a big thick foam king size bed (for which I am very grateful). But I’m not so thankful for the job of changing sheets. It’s heavier work changing sheets with a thick mattress than a thinner type, so sometimes I postpone this needed chore for weeks. Maybe as long as a month. (Dare I confess that here?) I was certainly brought up better than that—thanks, Mom. It was our weekly ritual to pull off all the sheets, wash them, and in earlier days, hang them out to dry (best way ever to have wonderfully smelling sheets!).

Really, it doesn’t take that long—I timed myself recently. Nine minutes from start to finish (including changing 3 pillowcases, and figuring out which end of the king size blanket needs to go at the head). I didn’t rush or push myself. A small job with dreamy dividends. The writer of the article said the job usually takes only 5-10 minutes. Making the bed every morning is another one of those things most of our mothers taught us, but many of my kids’ generation don’t worry about that daily trick which makes me feel at least a little organized and energized to start my day.

I’ve had my share of housecleaning jobs especially when I was a teenager and college kid, and I remember the family—rather wealthy and the county judge—who had me change the bed sheets twice a week in the master bedroom. I got the job through my mom’s friend, so I didn’t really know them. I felt like a bed is kind of intimate private space and I always felt a little funny—doing that job in the inner sanctum of their home.

But this is really more about more than clean sheets. I’ll confess I also didn’t like that particular cleaning job because it made me feel like a maid. I confess that reveals some hidden (or not so hidden) indications of class-ism or job discrimination or superiority based on job status. Of course a doctor or lawyer or judge or teacher gets more respect in our society than waitstaff, cleaning personnel, or sanitation workers. The Bible reminds us, “Show no partiality … if someone wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

We may not be guilty of overt discrimination like this but most of us struggle with quick snap judgments about people based on job or appearance. As I age, I hope I can learn the secret to being more generous with my thoughts towards others, showing (and feeling) no partiality.

Love Undocumented

What’s your worst/most dreaded household chore? How do you feel about changing sheets? Who makes the bed at your house? Do you dare share here?? I’ll never tell. 😉

Here’s where to find that original article about changing sheets, if you go online . Or use my address below to write me for a copy if you don’t use the Internet. And if you’d like to check out Sarah Quezada’s email updates called Road Map, you can sign up here. Or buy her book, Love Undocumented, here.

You can write me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week (or two!) after newspaper publication.
I’ve been on vacation so things are a little behind here.





  1. Thoughts on Changing Sheets sounds like the title of a Romantic-Age poet. I think you can be forgiven for being loathe to change sheets: you shine in the kitchen.

    My husband’s job took him on the road for 25+ years, so cheating changing was up to me. Now that Cliff is home more, he has volunteered to be the in-house sheet changer . . . about once a week or ten days. Living in a hot-climate, we should probably change them often.

    Now to the Esquire link. Great post, Melodie!

  2. I don’t know that I shine in the kitchen and I have completely defaulted on sharing recipes for awhile. But thanks for the nod! Glad you enjoyed my post and also the Esquire link. I just saw a funny funny demonstration (YouTube) of a woman showing how to fold up fitted sheets (the other nightmare). I usually avoid folding them by washing the sheets and then putting them right back on the bed. I think that’s the other reason I delay doing the sheets: I hate having my bed unmade all day and also having the energy to put the clean ones back on at the end of the day after work. You are lucky to have your husband volunteer for that …. we have fairly old fashioned roles and I often operate by the fall back “it’s easier to just do it myself.” My husband would probably come up with some kind of gizmo to make bed making easier …. (kidding but that’s his tendency!)

  3. Athanasia permalink

    My most dreaded chore is cleaning the ovens. Yes, there are two. I have a double electric set of built into the wall ovens. I love them. Except when they get dirty. I have been known to move to one oven from the other after the first one is a mess until the second one is too. Then double trouble. But with the amount of baking and cooking I do two ovens are great. When clean. …and they are always clean in time for a holiday or big family gathering as there is nothing more handy then 2 ovens at Thanksgiving.

    As to how often sheets should be changed. Once a week, especially in the summer.

    • I’m glad this inspired some confession here and yes cleaning ovens ranks just above cleaning freezers on my scale of dreaded/delayed chores. Two ovens at Thanksgiving must be marvelous. I’m thankful for the much bigger oven I moved into when we moved 11 years ago–from one smallish built in the wall oven to a regular range size oven that holds almost all I need to put in it. You’re making me hanker for Thanksgiving now!

      And I’m not surprised you keep up with the once a week “rule.” 🙂 Blessings to you.

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