How Many Sheets Should You Own?

4 min read
4 min read

“Sheets, Glorious Sheets! Can’t sleep without them!” (‘Food, Glorious Food!’ tune from Oliver! The Movie).

Bed sheets, your mattress’ best mate. Whether you prefer printed satin, eco-friendly linen, or a polycotton mix, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep without them. Of all the bed linens — comforters, duvets, throws, shams, pillowcases, and all the decorative luxuries in between– I think most mattress users agree that there is no compromising the use of bedsheets. But, how many sheets do you need? 

Factors That Should Determine How Many Sheets I Own

The answer to that question is very simple and completely different for each household. The first factor to consider is how many people nightly occupy your home, as well as how many mattresses are in your home. The more mattresses you have, the more sheets you will need. This is where single-occupant homeowners luck out. You want to be sure to have enough sheets for each bed, while still not having too many. Imagine your best friend from college takes a surprise late-night flight to see you. You get caught up in the last-minute rush of tidying up before you have to circle the airport parking lot to find their terminal and pick them up. You guys chat it up sipping on your late-night coffees to your house. Exhausted, your bestie is longing to flop down on your guest room bed. You gladly oblige and help them carry their luggage to their room as they freshen up in the bathroom. You pull back the comforter to fluff the pillows and change the sheets. Heading to the linen closet, you open the door and GASP! You’re out of clean sheets! A housekeeping nightmare. A social faux pas!

Now I think we’re beginning to understand the importance of answering the question of ‘how many sheets do I need?’ The bare minimum is obviously two sheets per mattress, so you can have at least one set of sheets (one fitted and one flat) to put on your bed while the other set is in the wash. But, you want to avoid not having clean sheets when you have a surprise visitor, as well. That pushes our minimum sheet sets up to 3 per bed. 

Now that we have our basis let’s consider these important factors in deciding how many bed sheets you own:

  • Number of beds in your home
  • How often each bed is used
  • How frequently do you wash your sheets
  • How long it takes to wash and put away all your linens
  • How much space do you have to store extra sheets

We’ve established our basic need of 3 sheet sets per bed, based on practical measures. But what about hygienic measures?

How Often Should I Change My Sheets?

Based on a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, on average, people go 24.4 days before washing their sheets, with the maximum amount of days before being completely grossed out before a sheet change being 35.3 days. Not bad, right1. Well, the recommended time between bed linen changes is one week2. Yep, 7 days. But don’t let that put a damper on your house cleaning routine. Washing your bed linens helps to cut down on the microbial build-up on the fibers of your sheets and mattress, creating a healthier sleep environment.

Sleep is essential for the human body to reset itself. Though your mind is completely unaware of what happens when you get under your comfy covers, your body is internally restoring itself. Part of that restoration comes from shedding skin cells and perspiring. Shed skin cells + the moisture from sweat create the perfect environment for microbes to accumulate….. On your sheets. You’ll want to change your sheets every 7 days if you sleep on them daily. If you have pets or a bedwetting child you might want to double that figure and wash them twice a week. Meaning you will need 2 sets of sheets per week for high usage sheet sleepers. 

So, the next important thing to consider is how long will it take you to wash your bedding.

Laundry: the never-ending chore. Let’s face it, some are quick to complete it, but for some, it’s a never-ending story. Backtrack and think of the last time you took all your sheets off your bed and washed them. Be realistic. Did they go from the hamper to the linen closet in one day or one week? And were you washing just the sheets or all the linens? Something else to consider is how many wash cycles it will take to wash your cover after separating by color and fabric types. This might be something to consider when buying sheets. These are your linens and you should coordinate your sheet maintenance to your schedule. If laundry completion is confined to certain days you should consider adding one more set to your weekly necessity of sheets. 

How Often Will I Actually Wash and Put Away My Sheets?

The last question to consider is the amount of will and determination you are going to put into diligently changing your sheets. The final delimiting factor of how many sets of covers you should own. If laundry completion is your forte you can stick with the bare minimum of 3 per mattress and add an additional set according to your high usage parameters. If your laundry bankruptcy (the point where all dirty clothes hampers are empty and all laundry is folded in its right place)usually takes more than 5 days to achieve, you should definitely consider increasing your bed sheet basis to 4 sets. 

So now you know everything you need to make an informed decision on how many bed sheets you should own. Happy Sheeting!

Sources

Mattress Advisor. A Clean Sleep: A study on how often Americans change their bedding. 19 May 2021

Noyed, Daniel. How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets? 16 October 2020. 

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians