Why you should wash your duvet

why you should wash your duvet

New research from Argos reveals over one in five UK adults – 14 million people – have never cleaned their duvet before. So we thought we’d explain exactly why you should wash your duvet – and how to keep it clean.

But before we get to why you should wash your duvet, we’re a nation that doesn’t even know how to clean a duvet. Over two thirds of people admit that they wouldn’t know where to start. 

However, one in two of us would be put off a potential partner if their bedding wasn’t clean.

This data is from a new nationwide poll by Argos. It reveals that over a fifth (22%) of people admit that they’ve never cleaned their duvet before. Two thirds (66%) confess that they don’t know how to clean their duvet and pillows. This is despite most of them having had their duvet for over four years.

why you should wash your duvet
Why you should wash your duvet: because not washing it is a bit gross (you’ve been told!). Festive folk bedroom, Habitat.

Why don’t Brits clean their duvets?

Reasons why people from the UK don’t clean their duvet are many and varied. As well as not knowing how, they include the washing machine not being big enough (38%). Then there’s the duvet taking too long to dry (31%) and finding the task too time-consuming (15%).

In fact, over one in ten (13%) of those polled are only prepared to wash their duvet cover once a month. This is despite almost half of Brits (44%) confessing to eating food in bed at least three times a week. While almost one in ten (eight percent) admit they eat food in bed every day.

We also hold on to our pillows far too long. The research finds that 23% of people will only replace their duvet and pillows when they go brown in colour. And – eww – almost a third (30%) wait until they get so dirty that they smell. (We’re not going round to their houses!)

Habitat AW22 lookbook bedding
Why you should wash your duvet: so it looks as fresh as this. AW22 Lookbook, Habitat.

Why you should wash your duvet

According to hygiene expert Luke Rutterford, who worked with Argos on the poll, you really need to wash your duvet. And the reason why is a shocker. 10-20% of the weight of any duvet or pillow that hasn’t been washed in over two years can be attributed to dust mites and their faeces. This can be harmful to people’s health, as dust mites’ faecal matter contains bacterial components. When inhaled, these can stimulate allergies and reactions. 

Almost a quarter (23%) admitted that they have previously got into bed and had to change the sheets straight away, because it smelt so bad. Three quarters of Britons don’t tend to have a shower before bed, with 17% admitting they never do this. Despite all this, one in two Brits would be put off a potential partner if their bedding wasn’t clean! 

why you should wash your duvet
Why you should wash your duvet: so it doesn’t start to smell. Photography: iStock.

Luke is encouraging Brits to embark on a ‘clock change clean’, as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop. Research shows one in ten (13%) Brits would only consider cleaning their bedding if they moved home. Then 45% say they were more likely to buy a new bedding set instead of attempting to wash it themselves. A quarter (24%) admit to splashing out and taking their duvet to the dry cleaners instead of washing at home. 

Luke Rutterford says, “Treating yourself to a new duvet can seem like the easy option. But it is very easy and cost-effective to keep your bedding clean with simple tried and tested hacks.”  

Don’t make your bed

Firstly, don’t make your bed. If you make the bed immediately after getting up, you’ll trap sweat and moisture in your sheets. Instead, pull back the duvet and let the bed ‘breathe’. This will allow moisture to evaporate, preventing the ideal environment for germs to grow.

Open the curtains

Secondly, shed some light: open your curtains to expose your bedding to sunlight. This can minimise microbiological activity as sun rays contain UV radiation, which is scientifically proven to kill bacteria.

a woman opening the curtains
Open the covers and let the sun’s rays nuke your duvet clean. Photography: iStock.

Have a shower

Clean yourself. During the day, our bodies build up microscopic dead skin cells, dust and dirt. Having a shower before you get into bed can significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary grime we transfer to our duvet.

Don’t over-wash

While it’s important to maintain hygiene standards and wash bedding regularly, it’s also important not to over-wash. This wastes time and money and can reduce the duvet’s lifespan. But fail to wash it enough, and you’ll start to accumulate dead skin cells, body fats and dust mites – which all support microbiological growth. Wash your bedding twice a month for a happy medium.

why you should wash your duvet
Why you should wash your duvet: to keep it pristine. AW22 Lookbook, Habitat.

Keep pets and food out

These are two factors that significantly influence the amount of dirt and bacteria in our beds. Leftover crumbs, grease and spills can lead to bacterial growth and odour. Invest in a bed tray to minimise this – it’s good for the occasional treat! 

Likewise, pets can increase the amount of unnecessary dirt and bacteria, in addition to transferring ticks, fleas and even disease. Consider getting an extra blanket or throw to protect your bedding if this is a non-starter.

dog in bed
Why you should wash your duvet: because your dog might have made it dirty. Photography: iStock.

So, that’s why you should wash your duvet

Olivia Atkinson, Senior Buyer for Home Living at Argos said: “It’s clear that Brits are not washing their duvets enough – but it’s a misconception that you need a huge washing machine and drier, as well as a lot of time! We hope that these simple duvet cleaning hacks will show not only how easy it can be to ‘sleep clean’ but also prolong the life of our duvets as we bed in for the winter.”

Featured image: iStock.

So, now you know why should wash your duvet. If you enjoyed this feature, you’ll also like these laundry tips.

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