When you get up in the morning, pull back the duvet or sheet and let the bed air for around half an hour. Once it’s aired and you’re ready to make it, give your pillows a shake, and your duvet, too, to even out fillings and refluff them before neatening everything up.
How often you change your sheets is a hotly contested issue: many of us prefer leaving them on the bed for just a week; others will go a little longer. Always follow the instructions when you’re washing them to avoid shrinkage. If anyone in your home suffers from asthma, you’ll want to choose them bedding you can wash at a high temperature, and ensure you follow a strict wash-once-a-week routine. Check the label before putting the freshly washed bed linen in a dryer, and if you don’t want a tough job getting the wrinkles out, don’t dry it fully before removing and ironing.
Any spills on a duvet should be spot cleaned immediately so they don’t reach the filling. Move the filling away from the cover to prevent it from getting wet (an elastic band will tie off the affected area), then sponge with cold water, followed by a mild detergent solution. Allow to dry completely.
You should be able to wash your duvet – but check the instructions. An annual wash should be fine, but make sure your machine is big enough. If not, it’s time to visit the launderette. Tumble on a low heat and make sure the duvet’s completely dry before you put it back on your bed.
You can also air your duvet thoroughly every so often by hanging it on the washing line (although asthma and allergy sufferers should avoid this).
Pillows will last longer and stay fresher if you use protectors between them and the pillowcases. Wash the protectors once a month or so.
They can usually be put in the dryer (but check instructions) on a low heat. Make sure they’re fully dry before you put the protectors and pillowcases back on and use them on the bed – 48 hours in the airing cupboard should do the trick.
If your pillows can’t be washed, foam versions can be gently vacuumed, and – as with other non-washable designs – spot cleaned with a mild detergent solution, rinsed and dried.
Mattresses will last better with a protector that can be washed (we all sweat at night, and it’s the mattress that absorbs it), and it can help you sleep more comfortably if it’s padded. For asthmatics, choose a cover that encloses the mattress fully and zips up.
Some mattresses need turning regularly – check the instructions. To clean, vacuum at a low suction level regularly – but check the manufacturer’s instructions as some advise against it because of the filling. Pay attention to the underside of buttons and the piping where dust can gather.