This is how often you should wash your pyjamas

Woman washing her PJs and other clothes. (Getty Images)
How often should we be washing our PJs? (Getty Images)

We know we should be washing our sheets way more often than we do, but did you realise our pyjamas need regular cleaning too?

Though you might think just sleeping and lounging round the house in your PJs is pretty harmless, turns out, that not bunging them in the washing machine on the regular could lead to all sorts of nasties.

Research has revealed that we sweat between 500ml and 700ml every night, which to put it into context is roughly the same as a large McDonalds soft drink.

If however, you're like one of the third of Brits who wear their pyjamas for a whole week, you could have up to 3.5 litres of sweat lingering on your nightwear - that's the capacity of an average-sized slow cooker!

And not putting changing our PJs regularly can also increase the risk of dust mites, bed bugs and other germs that can cling to our nightwear as we sleep.

"A build-up from sweat, dirt, oil and bacteria can cause a localised breakout from clogged pores, where bacteria from pyjamas or the previous night's sleep can affect the skin due to the pressure of the face on the pillow (commonly referred to as acne mechanica)," skincare expert Bella von Nesselrode, founder of Children of Earth Skincare told Happy Beds.

Woman lying on a bed in her pyjamas. (Getty Images)
We should be washing our pyjamas after every two to three wears. (Getty Images)

“A 2023 study showed that underwear (which pyjamas effectively are) were found to harbour a unique cluster of bacteria, such as Corynebacterium and Clostridiales. These can cause wound infections in some individuals," Von Nesselrode continues.

“Therefore, a potential skin irritation or infection could occur in the event of acne sufferers, or someone with any small openings on the skin."

So how often should we be washing our PJs to avoid the risk of skin problems?

Von Nesselrode recommends putting your nightwear in the wash after every two to three wears.

"Oils, sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells can build up in pyjamas, so it's a good idea to wash them every two or three wears; otherwise, you could cause skin infections," she advises.

"Some people wash their PJs after every wear; however, that's unnecessary. Just air out your pyjamas each morning to freshen them for the night."

Turns out it isn't just how often we clean our pyjamas that we need to address, but also where we store them.

And for any tidy folks out there who have been neatly folding your PJs under your pillow ready for the next night, you might want to pay attention as this is a hygiene no, no too.

We carry many different types of bacteria on our skin, so if we constantly wear the same pair of PJs and place them on or under our pillow, any germs lingering on our skin will transfer to our PJs and then to the pillow. This could mean that usually, safe bacteria could get into places where they shouldn't be, like our eyes.

"Most of us have Staphylococcus bacteria on our skin; however, if Staph gets into our eyes, it can infect the tear duct, eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, and more," advises Von Nesselrode.

"We all have E. coli in our bowels, which can end up on our sheets, pillows, and PJs. But, if this gets into our eyes from the PJs on our pillows, we could get an unpleasant eye infection such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, and cellulitis."

It makes sense, therefore, to air pyjamas away from the bed.

"This could help prevent the transfer and growth of these bacteria to the head and face area associated with the pillow, and help balance the skin's microbiome better during the night,” Von Nesselrode adds.

Bedding and PJs on a washing line. (Getty Images)
Experts advise airing your bedding and PJs. (Getty Images)

Not putting dirty PJs under your pillow isn't the only measure we can take to reduce the risk of bedtime bacteria either.

Air out bedding, pillows and PJs

Since we sweat up to 700ml at night, removing moisture from our bedding and PJs is essential.

"Open the window in the morning to allow stagnant air to escape and to air out the bedding," advises Rex Isap, sleep expert and CEO at Happy Beds. "Or go one step further and hang bedding, pillows, and PJs on the line outside, or use a clothes dryer inside if it's a rainy day. Doing so will remove the dampness, and the air will prevent a build-up of bacteria."

Wash bedding weekly

As with pyjamas, bacteria and sweat can build up in your bedding, and tens of thousands of dust mites could live in your mattress and bedding.

"To remove all the dirt and grime, wash your bedding on a hot wash with detergent," advises Isap.

Vacuum your mattress every six months

Dirt, dead skin cells, and dust mites build up in a mattress over time. "Those dust mites leave behind their dead bodies, faeces, and saliva, which can cause allergy flare-ups and skin irritation," Isap warns. "Vacuuming your mattress every six months will help prevent the nasty build-up."