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How Often Should I...?

How often you should change your sheets? Wash your towels? Dust? Domestic CEO is here with answers to those, and other “How often should I...?” questions.   

By
Amanda Thomas,
September 19, 2012
Episode #029

How Often Should I...?

Every September, my company Moxie Girl Household Assistants, gets calls from recent graduates who are living on their own for the first time. They may have moved into their grown-up, real-world apartments a few weeks or even a few months ago, but they’re starting to realize just how much time it takes to clean and manage a home. And then, inevitably, we get a call from a young professional who moved into their house a few years ago but clearly hasn’t done a whole lot of cleaning since moving day.

What we find in those cases is not that the young professional is lazy, but usually that they simply don’t know how often things need to be done around the house to maintain a basic level of clean. So, if you are living on your own for the first time, these tips are for you. If you are a domestic diva already, stay with me because we can all use a refresher sometimes.

How Often Should I Change My Sheets?

This depends on how dirty you get in bed. 

What?!? 

Get your mind out of the gutter! I mean how dirty you literally are in bed. Do you shower in the morning (that is, go to bed sweaty)? Do you allow pets to sleep in your bed? Do you eat in bed? And how “active” you are in bed matters, too. If you shower before going to bed, never eat where you sleep, and never share your bed with pets or other people, you can probably get away with changing your sheets every 3-4 weeks. 

But if you go to bed without showering or enjoy company or snacks in bed, you should be changing your sheets every 1-2 weeks. In general, if you see a yellowish spot where you normally lay in bed, you aren’t changing them often enough. Up your frequency and you won’t have to worry about a gross body print on your linens.

How Often Should I Wash My Towels? 

In general, I recommend once a week washings for bath towels. If you like to live on the edge, you can push this to two weeks, but no more. If they start to smell funky or feel crunchy, that’s a signal to toss them in the laundry asap. Hand towels in high traffic bathrooms can be done weekly, or after having guests (you never know what germs those guests wiped on the towels). Keep an extra set of hand towels ready to go so you can replace with fresh ones as needed and wash them all at once. Just like with sheets, if you start seeing or smelling grime, you aren’t washing your towels often enough.

How Often Should I Vacuum My Carpet?

Carpet has a big job. Its main purpose, other than making your house look pretty, is to absorb the dirt that would otherwise be floating around your home. Just like an air filter, it collects the dirt to clean the air, but if it doesn’t get vacuumed often enough, that dirt will start to work its way back into the air. You may be surprised to learn that the flooring industry recommends vacuuming every day. 

Unless you have a vacuuming robot (or a live-in maid), this is probably not realistic for you. Rather than give up because you can’t do it daily, make it a priority to bring out the vacuum once a week for a quick sweep of the main traffic areas. Then, once a month, do a more thorough vacuuming of all the floors. 

How Often Should I Dust?

Simple answer here: If you can write “Dust Me” on your furniture, you need to dust more often. Many things contribute to the amount of dust you accumulate in your home: where you live (the desert is dustier than rainy places like the Pacific Northwest), if you keep your windows open, and whether you have pets, are just a few of the variables that can increase or decrease the amount of dust you see in your home. 

I personally enjoy walking around the house with a duster every week or so, but you may not need to do it more than once a month if you’re lucky. I wouldn’t go past that, though. Otherwise you will be breathing more dirt than during an Arizona dust storm.

Should I Dust High Ledges and Ceiling Fans?

Nothing grosses me out more than a ceiling fan with so much dust hanging off the edges, it looks like there are fur patches growing on the blades. Once you get to this point, it’s a real pain to clean because the dust bunnies want to fall all over your furniture and floors when you try to dust them. Not pretty! High ledges tend to gather grease and moisture, so going too long between cleanings will mean you need to scrub, not just dust.

Ceiling fans, because they are circulating the air around, should be done at least once a quarter (if not on a monthly basis) to make sure your indoor air quality is at a safe level. And those high ledges should be done every 3-6 months if you want it to be an easy task. Waiting more than that will mean you’ll need some elbow grease to scrape the grime off. Check out my episode on Kitchen Nightmares to learn how to scour those high ledges. Both fans and ledges can be easily cleaned with an extendable duster if they are done more frequently and the dust isn’t allowed to stick.

Hopefully, this answers some of your questions about how often you should do certain household chores. If you have any other questions, or additional suggestions, please post them in comments below, or on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall. You can also find me on Twitter @TheDomesticCEO

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

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