How often should you launder every item in your home?

It’s almost spring cleaning time. After all the hard work you put into tidying your home, chances are you will feel motivated to keep it that way. Establishing a cleaning schedule is a great way to do this, and one crucial aspect of any cleaning schedule is laundry. 

Many items in your home can be cleaned in a washing machine: curtains, duvets, shower curtains, and pillows can all go in the wash. But how often should you be washing them? We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of when and how to wash some basic items in every home. 

A warning before we cover when and how to launder items – be sure to carefully read the care label on all items before you launder them. Every fabric is unique, so while instructions here work for most materials, they may not work for your particular items. It is better to be safe than end up with a shrunken, shredded mess of laundry. 


Duvet covers should be washed every one to two weeks along with sheets. Because they touch your body each time you sleep, they are more susceptible to becoming dirty. However, since it is covered, your actual duvet only needs to be washed once every few months. To clean a duvet, put your machine on the gentle cycle and use warm water. Before transferring your duvet to the dryer, ensure there is no soap residue. If there is, clean it on another gentle rinse cycle. To dry the duvet, set your dryer on low or hang it to dry.

Table linens

No matter what material tablecloths and napkins are made of, you should clean them after each use. Not doing so could result in stains and unpleasant smells becoming embedded in the fabric. Washing linen and cotton in cold water is excellent for alleviating stains and keeping tablecloths in shape. Polyester tablecloths can be washed at any heat setting. Cotton and linen tablecloths should be hung to dry but you can hang polyester tablecloths to dry or put them in the dryer.


Most curtains must go through the tedious process of being either dry cleaned or hand washed. Thankfully, you shouldn’t have to clean your curtains more than once or twice a year. The exception to this is if someone in your home suffers from dust mites allergies or other similar sensitivities. Then you will want to wash curtains once every two months or even once a month. If this is the case for you, it would be ideal to get machine washable drapery to save time and money. Most machine washable drapes should be washed in warm or even cold water and hung to dry.


Pillows hold dust mites, dead skin, and bugs even when covered with pillowcases and protectors. You should launder pillows every three to four months to keep from getting allergies. Pillows should be washed similarly to duvets; on the warm, gentle cycle. Avoid putting them in top-load washers with agitators, but if you must, put them vertically.  


Does your upholstered couch have a removable cover? Great! This means you can likely wash this at home. You should wash upholstery about twice a year. However, cleaning upholstery every three months would be best if you have pets and/or kids. Simply remove the upholstered cover and wash it on a cold, gentle cycle. Hang your upholstered covers to dry or put them on the gentle, cool cycle.

Shower curtains

It is essential to clean your shower curtains as they are always in a relatively wet space. Improper care can lead to bad smells, discoloration, and even mould. If you can, wash your shower curtains at least once a month. Use cool water when laundering them to avoid damage. You can also use cool water to wash your plastic shower liners! Do not put shower curtains or liners in the dryer – hang them back on the rod to dry.


Sheets come in direct contact with our bodies for long periods every day. For this reason, you should be washing them every week. Of course, how you wash your sheets will depend on what they are made of. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean them on the highest heat setting the fabric can handle. Dry your sheets on low to reduce wrinkles and keep the fitted sheet elastic from warping.

Towels and washcloths

Towels can be used two to three times before you need to clean them. If bath towels are hung up and able to dry fully, there is no need to wash them after each use. However, washcloths used for cleaning your face, particularly if you wear makeup, should be washed after each use. You can wash towels in hot or cold water and tumble them dry. 

Many of your in-home textiles can be cleaned with the help of a washing machine. Washing sheets, towels, upholstery, and more is a great, relatively low-effort way to keep your home feeling clean. If laundering your items is overwhelming, you should consider getting an industrial washer for your home.

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