Keeping baby's things clean is a chore in and of itself — especially if you're a new, first-time parent. Between copious amounts of spit-up, massive diaper blow-outs, and whatever else babies manage to push out of their small bodies, keeping a crib clean may prove challenging. Unless you're quick with the stain remover stick or spray, keeping baby's sheets clean is more of an afterthought. So, how often should you wash your baby's bedding? The answer, it seems, varies slightly and is likely to depend on your unique situation.
With adult bedding, such as sheets and pillowcases, a 2015 poll featured in Women's Health Magazine cited the majority of people wash their sheets "fairly often," with 44 percent throwing linens in the wash at least once per week. Though, some of those polled claim to only wash their bedding 1-2 times per month — and some, even less than that. So how does that fare in comparison to the frequency baby's bedding should get the soapy soak treatment? According to laundry advice expert and founder of Mama's Laundry Talk, Lauren Hill, a baby's sheets should go in the wash 1-2 times per week, unless obvious soiling is present. You should also toss the mattress pad in the wash, too.
Hill also advises washing bumper pads just once a month—though the American Academy of Pediatrics have updated their safe sleep guidelines to recommend the avoidance of loose bedding (including pillows, plush toys, additional blankets, and bumper pads) in the crib, thus eliminating unnecessary risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). So, if you're following those recommendations, you shouldn't have any extra bedding or crib materials to throw in the wash.
If you take into account cleanliness, even squeaky-clean babies should have their bedding washed semi-frequently. Whether you swaddle, have mattress pads, or any other barrier between baby's skin and the fabric itself, bedding collects dust and debris from the air, just as anything else in the room might. Besides that, if baby lays in a crib un-swaddled, there's also skin shedding, bacteria, and sweat that may end up in the bed.
If that's not enough reason to wash your baby's bedding more frequently, think of something not quite as evident as a soiled diaper — dust mites. These allergens feed off whatever baby's leaving in the crib, so if bedding goes unwashed for too long, it's likely those little creatures have made a haven between the threading.
Along the same lines, The Spruce recommends that parents and caregivers should change bedding every week, even if it seems clean. "Drool" and "minor diaper leaks" can happen, but may not always be visible. The bottom line is, if you're unsure how often to throw baby's bedding into the wash, it's probably best to do a load of laundry more frequently than you think. Also, investing in extra bedding will be a major time — and sanity — saver.