Is It Time To Buy New Sheets?

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
September 7, 2022
min read

We spend about a third of the day in bed, and that's if you don't count all the hours you spend napping or the occasional work-from-bed situation. In that span of time, your beddings collect all sorts of things, from dirt and debris to dead skin cells to pet dander. And while washing your sheets regularly will get them fresh and clean again, it can wear down the integrity of the fabric. 

Eventually, you'll have to replace your sheets. How often should you buy new sheets? Most experts recommend buying new sheets every two to three years if you are buying standard quality sheets. 

Your bed sheets lifespan can vary based on a  variety of factors such as quality of bed sheet material, washing process and if you circulate between several sheets.

Keep reading to learn more about factors that impact how often sheets need to be replaced.

Purple Offers premium bed sheets with the perfect stretch and breathability, designed to optimize the comfort of your mattress.

Why You Should Replace Your Bedsheets

You should replace your bedsheets because, over time, our beddings play host to an assortment of little nuisances – including skin cells, bed bugs, mites, pet fur and dander, and even fecal matter! In fact, according to one study, the average unwashed pillow can host up to 16 species of fungi. 

Constant exposure to these things can eventually lead to all kinds of health issues, such as allergic reactions, itchy skin, skin breakouts, and asthma. If you have sensitive skin, you may already know what we're talking about. 

Aside from this, overused and worn-out sheets stop being comfortable at one point. Even if you buy the softest bedsheets, at some point all the wear and tear and washing will render it lifeless. 

"After three years...the bulk of cotton fiber is washed away and the poly base is limp and nonabsorbent", explains Steve Samson, senior director of housekeeping at Hilton Hotels. 

Understanding Bedsheet Longevity

The average lifespan of a bedsheet is 18 to 24 months or one to two years. Sheets that don't get used very often may last for as long as three to four years. But that lifespan also depends on a number of factors, including: 

Material And Weave

Different types of materials will have varying degrees of durability. These are the most common types of bedsheet materials:

  • Linen: This is a hardy, all-natural fabric made from flax plant fibers. Unlike other types of fabrics, linen softens with each washing.
  • Sateen: Made out of long-staple Egyptian cotton with a slight sheen and a satin weave, sateen sheets can last for years with the right care.
  • Brushed cotton: This material is lightweight and breathable, making it a suitable fabric for summer sheets. And while it's a great choice for a sweaty sleeper, it's still soft and cozy enough for cold nights.
  • Percale cotton: Percale refers to the style of weave used in this luxury bedding. With a tight weave, percale sheets tend to be smooth, soft, and durable. 

Thread Count

Thread count is defined as the number of woven threads per square inch of fabric. Typically, the higher the thread count, the softer and denser the fabric will be. This is because higher thread counts are (usually) the result of using finer threads.

But that doesn't mean that low-thread count fabrics are of inferior quality. In fact, anything higher than 500 may be just as, or even more, uncomfortable than sheets with a low thread count. 

Washing And Circulation

Frequent washing will break down even high-quality sheets,” says Keep reading for tips on how to wash your sheets without ruining them.


Finally, the way you store your sheets can also affect their longevity. It can be tempting to seal sheets away in plastic storage bins to prevent dust build-up, but plastic can trap moisture and promote the growth of mold and mildew.

When and How Often Should You Replace Your Sheets?

You should replace your bedsheets after two to three years. Within this time frame, be sure to look out for signs of wear and tear, like holes, frayed hems, and thinning fabric. 

You should also replace your sheets if they have stains that can no longer be removed, their patterns have faded, the fabric feels scratchy and coarse, or the fabric has an unusual smell that won't go away. 

How to Make Your Bedsheets Last Longer

Not everyone can afford to replace their sheets every couple of years. Thankfully, there are some techniques you can try to lengthen the life of your bedsheets.

Wash With Care

Make sure to wash your sheets once a week to keep dirt, stains, and smells from settling in. 

Always wash using a gentle cycle and follow the provided care instructions. Be cautious about overloading your washer. Instead, try to wash one set of sheets at a time. Use a cool or warm cycle, as extreme temperatures can destroy the fibers of the fabric, and let the sheets dry in a low tumble cycle.

Mild detergent is best for bedsheets. And as much as possible, hold the bleach. Bleach will degrade your fabrics much faster than regular wear and tear. 

While we're on the subject, make sure to clean your mattress regularly as well! Your beddings may protect your mattress to some degree, but small particles like skin cells, dander, and even tiny mites can fall through to your mattress.

Choose High-Quality Sheets

As mentioned, thread count, material, and weave can all affect the lifespan of your sheets. If you don't want to spend too much on new bedding every few years, you should invest in long-staple cotton, which is a soft and durable type of fabric. 

Don't Sleep On Bedsheet Care

With proper care, bedsheets can last for years. However, you also shouldn't put up with bedsheets that are stained, torn, smelly, or scratchy. After all, you wouldn't want to compromise your health and overall quality of your sleep just to skimp on some sheets. 

If you're looking for high-quality bedsheets that are both soft and long-lasting, check out the wide range of bedding available on our site.