With autumn just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to freshen up your sleeping space.

You’re probably in the habit of washing your bed linen regularly, but how often are you cleaning your duvet and pillows?

“It’s something that a lot of us forget about, but it’s essential to clean your duvet and pillows frequently, not only for hygiene reasons, but it can also have health benefits and help you get a great night’s sleep,” says Tina Barkway, trading director at Aldiss department store in Norfolk.

“Over time, they can accumulate dirt, moisture, and dust mites, which isn’t exactly going to make you want to jump into bed at the end of the day!”

Below, Tina shares her advice on how to wash your duvet and pillows and keep bacteria at bay:

Q: How often should a duvet be washed?

A: Ideally, duvets should be washed every few months, or at least twice a year. For allergy sufferers, you may want to invest in a hypoallergenic duvet and wash it more regularly to prevent a build-up of dirt and dust mites.

Q: How do you wash a duvet without ruining it?

A: Before washing your duvet, check the manufacturer’s label and follow the instructions carefully. Different types of duvets require varying washing methods:

  • Most synthetic duvets can be washed at home on a gentle cycle with a small amount of mild detergent. They can usually be washed at 60 degrees unless the care label says otherwise. You can put most synthetic duvets in the tumble dryer, or ideally, hang them outside on a sunny day.
  • Down and feather duvets fare best when taken to the dry cleaners. Make sure it’s completely dry before you put it back on your bed, as the filling can retain moisture and rot if left damp.
  • Duvets that have a 13.5 tog or are super king size should be washed in a large washing machine or taken to the dry cleaners.

Q: How often should you replace your duvet?

A: Generally, duvets should be replaced every five years if they have been properly cared for and washed regularly. For optimum comfort, it’s a good idea to replace your duvet in time with the seasons – I recommend a 10-13.5 tog for autumn and winter, and a 7.5 tog or lower for spring and summer.

Q: How often do pillows need to be washed?

A: Pillows should be washed every few months, or more frequently if you don’t use a pillow protector. While we sleep, sweat and bacteria from our heads can transfer onto our pillows, which is why it’s important to wash them more frequently than duvets to keep them hygienic. Buying anti-allergy pillows can also help to protect you from allergens during the night.

Q: Can I put pillows in the washing machine?

A: Similar to duvets, always read the care label on your pillows before washing. The way you clean them will vary depending on the type of pillow:

  • Most synthetic pillows can easily be washed in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. They can be air dried or put in the tumble dryer.
  • Down pillows can also be placed in the washing machine on a gentle wash – use the extra spin cycle to get rid of any excess water. Down pillows are best air dried.

Q: How long do pillows last?

A: As a general rule, pillows should be replaced with new ones every two years. However, if they have begun to lose their shape before this time, you will need to replace them sooner. Flat or lumpy pillows won’t be able to support your head properly or keep your body aligned while you sleep.

Q: How can I keep my duvet and pillows clean in between washes?

A: Finding the time to wash your duvet or pillows regularly can be difficult, especially if you have a busy lifestyle. Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can keep them looking and smelling fresh:

  • Wash your duvet cover and pillow cases at least every two weeks to ensure ultimate comfort and cleanliness.
  • Make sure you give your duvet and pillows plenty of time to air dry, ideally outside, or in a well-ventilated room for a few hours. This will ensure that dust mites are removed and prevent mould from growing.
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your pillows and duvet and leaving it on for half an hour before vacuuming can help to remove any unpleasant smells and stains.
  • Use mattress protectors and pillow protectors and wash them once a month.

To browse the full collection of bedding at Aldiss, visit their stores in Norwich or Fakenham. You can also go to aldiss.com to find out more.