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How to wash your duvet as 41% of Brits say they've never cleaned theirs

41% of Brits have never washed their duvet. (Getty Images)
41% of Brits have never washed their duvet. (Getty Images)

Most of us are pretty on it when it comes to regularly washing our bedding (we did say most!), but the same can't be said for cleaning our duvet.

In fact a whopping 41% of us have never actually given our duvet a wash, despite one in 12 having theirs for over a decade.

That grubby fact comes via a new Bedding Calculator tool from Happy Beds, which has uncovered some of the nation's less than savoury bedding cleaning habits.

Sure, you might think your duvet is protected by it's cover, but that doesn't mean you can skip the cleaning process, particularly as not washing it can lead to some pretty gross outcomes.

One study conducted by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that duvets are basically a breeding ground for bacteria.

Turns out snuggling up in duvet every night leads to it holding onto dead skin, sweat and body oils that can host thousands of dust mites and all other types of nasties.

If your duvet isn’t washed regularly, that bacteria can build up over time, discolouring your duvet and even triggering allergies for some people.

Not washing your duvet can have a knock-on impact on your sleep too with studies identifying a high association between those who are sensitive to dust mites and trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

While we wash our bed sheets, we're skipping the cleaning of our duvet. (Getty Images)
While we wash our bed sheets, we're skipping the cleaning of our duvet. (Getty Images)

Why then, when we're so good at keeping on top of our bed sheet washing, are we skipping the duvet itself?

"Washing your duvet can feel like a mammoth task, especially for those who aren’t aware they can wash it at home," explains Rex Isap, CEO and sleep expert at Happy Beds. "Due to this, many people are likely put it off due to time constraints or simply not knowing how to do it.

"However it’s vital that you wash your duvet, otherwise it could become a breeding ground for dust mites.

"One study found that dirty duvets can house up to 20,000 dust mites at a time. Don’t forget, that is in addition to the bacteria, stains and dust mite faeces," he adds.

Dust mite allergies are fairly common with one in 20 young children and one in five adults testing positive according to the NHS North West Paediatric Allergy Network.

How to wash your duvet

As Isap highlights part of the duvet washing problem is not actually knowing how to clean them, but cleaning your duvet is more simple than you might think and doesn't always require a trip to the dry cleaners.

"Washing a duvet can be easily done at home in a washing machine using a gentle non-bio detergent," explains Isap. "However, we don’t recommend using fabric softener as this is stronger and could damage your duvet."

Experts say you can wash your duvet at home. (Getty Images)
Experts say you can wash your duvet at home. (Getty Images)

Isap recommends washing your duvet on a normal spin cycle at 60° as this temperature is hot enough to get rid of any house dust mites that could be lurking in the crevices of your duvet.

"When it comes to drying your duvet, where possible we recommend drying your duvet outside on a sunny day as the sun can naturally whiten bedding," he adds.

"However, you can use a tumble dryer, if you own or have access to one, at a low heat setting. Place a drying ball inside of the tumble dryer with the duvet to ensure it regains its shape once dry."

It is also recommended to check the care instructions on the label of your duvet before washing it and your washing machine instructions as well, to ensure it can fit the size and weight of the duvet.

Dry your duvet outside if you can. (Getty Images)
Dry your duvet outside if you can. (Getty Images)

"Alternatively, the average UK cost of getting a double duvet dry cleaned is £29.15 according to Checkatrade."

To maintain a healthy sleep environment, Isap says duvets should be washed two to three times a year, even if you've recently acquired them.

"A useful tip is to time duvet washes with the change in season," he adds. "So, if you swap your winter duvet for a summer duvet when it gets warm, wash your winter duvet before storing it to avoid any mould and mildew growing on it."

Read more about cleaning

Watch: How to beat seasonal allergies