Amongst the different furniture that everyone uses on daily basis, the bed is one of the most important items. It serves as the main furniture we use for taking rest and for sleeping. However, there are some families where the bed is used for so many other purposes like delectable anytime snacking, or for work and educational purposes, or for binge-watching.(1) The sound of all this clearly explains the sheer importance of our beds in our daily lives. Naturally, this is one of the furniture pieces which must be kept clean.
One of the elemental habits of keeping your beds clean is to change and wash the bed sheets at least every week. If you are staying in a metro city or in an area where the pollution level is high, try to change the bed sheets twice a week. The same is applicable if you live in a small apartment where the bed is the primary place of all normal activities like sitting frequently for any reason whatsoever apart from sleeping.(2) However, surveys reveal that many families wash their bed sheets every 20 to 25 days.
Now, this habit can have serious consequences. Using dirty bed sheets can lead to several serious health issues. If you are living with pets and small babies then you need to be further careful of changing your bed sheets at quick intervals.
5 Health Hazards of Not Washing the Bed Sheets Often
Develop the habit of changing your bed sheets regularly. The health hazards of not washing the bed sheets often are plenty. Here is why:
A Breeding Ground for Critters:
Researchers have found the fact that your bed sheets can contain more microbes than the toilet seats in general public toilets. Everything from the dead cells of our body, dandruff from scalps to bits of edibles that get spilled from our plates can be the perfect hosting ground for several creepy mites. If you have your pets sleeping on your beds, then dander and fallen fur from their coats further enhance the buffet spread for these critters.(1, 2, 3) In the long run, these mites can lead to several diseases for humans.
Skin Irritation and Eczema:
Skin irritation is one of the biggest outcomes or reactions that can emerge from using dirty bed sheets for a long time. Your skin gets rubbed against these dirty bed sheets. This can lead to major skin irritation. If you try to self-treat the condition with self-prescribed creams and ointments it can lead to worsening of the condition than good. Conditions like eczema can occur out of using dirty bed sheets for long.(4) This is when you need advice from doctors and require medicated creams and ointments that get absorbed by the skin quickly and heal it.
Acne and Pimples as a Health Hazard of Not Washing the Bed Sheets Often:
You will often notice that even if you are taking every care of your skin, pimples and acne does not stop appearing on the face or rashes in other parts of your body. This can happen if you are using the same dirty bed sheets and the pillowcase for a long time. Just as your bed sheets and your pillowcase are overridden with germs, microbes, hair oil, and fungi, rubbing your face against it all night can either lead to new pimples or aggravate the ones that are already there.(5) This is why dermatologists advise cleaning bed sheets and pillow covers every seven to ten days.
Fungal Infections as a Health Hazard of not Washing the Bed Sheets Often:
Dirty bed sheets can be the breeding ground of several dangerous fungi, bacteria, and other microbes that can foster really dangerous diseases like pneumonia and asthma. Body sweat is one of the common sources that can lead to the growth of infectious molds like Cladosporium on the mattress, which can lead to fungal infections like Onychomycosis that can cause crumbling toenails and skin lesions. You can also contact fungal infections like Tinea Cruris and Tinea Versicolor by using dirty bed sheets for a long time.(6)
Dust mites and bacteria can be a potential source of triggering allergic reactions. They can also worsen an existing allergic reaction by attacking the already weakened immune system. Elements like mildew, molds, and dust mites can aggravate allergic reactions in no time at all. Hence if you have a history of such allergies, you must be very careful about how often you wash your bed sheets. Use proper detergents, soaps, and hot water preferably to wash your bed sheets.(1) This kills all the microbes better and gives better protection against all kinds of microbe attacks.
Changing bed sheets and cleaning them well is one of the basic hygiene tips that must be borne in mind. This is one of the safety tips that will ensure better health for the family as a whole. This tip becomes important if you have young kids and ailing elderly at home. Changing bed sheets at regular intervals is one of the simplest ways through which you can ensure better health and hygiene for the entire family. Ideally, you need to change the bed sheet at least once a week. However, it is advisable that if you have ailing members and young children you need to wash the bed sheets twice a week.
This simple habit can keep the family healthy. Apart from safeguarding the family members, you can also protect your pets from several diseases that can happen if they use dirty bed sheets for a long time. Changing bed sheets is a simple way through which you can also avoid transmission of infections from affected members to the ones who have not been infected as yet.(1,3) Additionally, to use crisp and freshly laundered bed sheets is a different aesthetic feeling altogether and will also help to catch on some quality sleep. It will also help to freshen up the basic ambience of your house like never before.
- Zock J-P, et al. (2006). Distribution and determinants of house dust mite allergens in Europe: The European Community Respiratory Health Survey II.