Most people do laundry about once a week to take care of things like clothing and towels, but have you ever stopped to consider how often you should be washing your bed sheets?
You probably just stopped for a second to try to remember when was the last time you washed your sheets. Then you realized it’s been so long that you can’t remember the exact date. Then a wave of hot shame and disgust washed over you as you tell yourself that tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day you’re putting them in the washing machine.
According to New York University Microbiologist Philip Tierno, we spend a third of our lives in our beds and because of that, they can quickly become infested with bacteria and fungus.
If you’re starting to get a little concerned about sheets and the risks of not cleaning them often enough, keep reading. Or if you would like to continue living your blissful life full of gross bedsheets, then stop right here.
According to Tierno, if sheets are used for too long without getting washed, microscopic beings living within the wrinkles and folds of bed sheets can actually make someone sick.
The risk of fungal contamination comes from the fact that we sweat so much. According to research, we produce up to 26 gallons of sweat in our beds each year and unfortunately, this is considered an ideal environment for fungal culture.
There was a study that found that bedding which was about 10-20 years old had up to 16 species of fungus. Similar results came from a study done on feather pillows.
Fungal contamination in your bed sheets isn’t the only concern when it comes to washing sheets. You’re also sharing your bed with foreign microbes which can include animal, pollen, soil, lint, dust mite debris, and feces.
All this gunk in your bed can lead to allergy problems since you’re sleeping so close to it, and are therefore forced to breathe it in throughout the night.
If you notice you start coughing and sneezing in bed, it’s probably time for a wash. Dirty sheets can lead to these types of allergic reactions and other health problems.
So how long should you be washing your sheets? According to Tierno, all the buildup of germs and other microbes reaches a significant level in as short as a week. Especially if you’re sharing a bed.
Two weeks of sleeping on dirty sheets are enough to make anyone a bit sickly–especially if you suffer from asthma or other allergies–so Tierno recommends washing them weekly.
Allergies are among the top ten leading causes of chronic illnesses in the U.S. More than 50 million people suffer from this each year.
Another factor to consider is people who share beds with their pets. That’s opening up a whole other world of germs and microbes.
So basically, wash your sheets once a week. Or if you don’t feel like washing them that frequently, at least change them to a fresh set.
‘After a while, you have to say to yourself, ‘Do I want to sleep in that?’’ Tierno said. So no matter how clean and sweat-free you are, wash those sheets. You’ll prevent illness with some simple hygiene.