We tend to wait till our hamper basket is full before we do our laundry and due to this, more often than not, we run out of fresh clothes to wear. When it comes to other cleaning things in life, such as after cooking, we immediately wipe the counter so we can have a clean counter for the next day and when we see dust on surfaces, we immediately dust it. However, after a long tiring day, we tend to hit the sack without thinking twice about when was the last time you changed or washed your sheets.
Let’s learn more about this intriguing habit of human beings.
How Often Should We Wash or Change the Sheets?
A poll conducted in 2012 by the National Sleep Foundation, it was found that about 90% of people tend to change their sheets every alternate week or more than that. However, it is recommended to change your sheets every week.(1) Our bed sheets accumulate so much stuff, which is not visible to the naked eye, such as dust mites, dead skin cells and sometimes fecal matter too that is it mandatory to change your sheets every week.(1, 4)
Why is it Recommended to Wash or Change Your Sheets Frequently?
There are some factors based upon which a person’s sheets need frequent washing or changing, such as:
- If you are sensitive to dust or suffer from asthma or allergies, you need to change your sheets more regularly.(1)
- Change your sheets every week if you suffer from excessive sweating.
- If you suffer from a lesion or an infection which comes into contact with your pillow cases and sheets, then they need frequent washing.
- If you let your pet sleep with you in your bed, then you need to change your sheets frequently.
- If you eat in bed, then change your sheets every week.
- If you have the habit of sleeping naked, then you need to change your sheets frequently.
- If you go to bed without taking a shower, then it is better to change your sheets every week.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Or Wash Your Sheets Frequently?
If you do not change or wash your sheets on a regular basis and continue to lie or sleep on the dirty sheets, then you will be coming in contact with various kinds of bacteria, fungi, animal dander, pollen, skin cells, sweat and bodily secretions, which is not visible to the naked eye, but nonetheless is present on your bedding and sheets.(6) All this won’t make you sick immediately, but over the time can cause problems, especially in people who suffer from asthma, allergy or other skin conditions like contact dermatitis and eczema.
People suffering from allergies or asthma will experience worsening of symptoms or their symptoms will get triggered when they continue to sleep on the dirty sheets. In America, there are more than 24 million individuals suffering from allergies. Even if you are not suffering from these conditions, then also continuous sleeping on the not so clean sheets will cause problems like sneezing and stuffy nose.
A study from 2017 showed that there is also a risk of contracting and transmitting infections through soiled or dirty sheets and linens.(2)
Is There A Correct Way To Wash Your Sheets?
The best method to wash your bedding and sheets would be in hot water. However, you need to carefully read instructions on the label of your sheets and bedding and wash them accordingly on the hottest setting which is safe for them. The more hot the water, the more you will be able to remove allergens, bacteria and other microbes from your sheets. It is also recommended to iron your sheets after washing them.(5)
Always keep the sheets clean in between washings and you can continue to keep your sheets clean for a longer time after washing by doing the following: (7)
- Do not nap or lie down on your bed after sweating out in the gym.
- Take a shower before you go to bed.
- Always remove your makeup before sleeping.
- Please do not drink or eat on your bed.
- It is better to avoid applying oils, creams and lotions right before going to bed.
- Try to keep your pets away from your sheets.
- Before climbing into bed, remember to remove all the dirt and debris from your socks or feet.
- It is also better to replace your pillows every year or two. Always use a pillow protector to prevent bacteria and dust from accumulating.
- The same goes for other bedding, duvets and blankets, which should also be washed every week or at least every two weeks.
- You can increase the durability of your Duvets by 15 to 20 years if you use it with a cover and regularly dry clean or wash it.
A study done in 2005 which assessed fungal contamination on sheets and bedding discovered that pillows filled with feather and other synthetics were the main source of fungi.(3)
It may seem like an inconsequential thing to wash or change your sheets on a regular basis, especially if they are looking clean too you. However, there are many microscopic germs and dead skin cells residing on your bed sheets, which will be harmful to you in long term, especially if you are allergic or asthmatic.(7) A little bit of effort in caring for your sheets and bedding helps a lot when it comes to your health. Rest assured, washing your sheets and changing your sheets on a weekly basis is worth the hassle for you and your family.(7) Getting a couple of extra set of sheets will help you when you change your sheets and will allow you some extra days in between doing your laundry.
Using the hottest temperature for washing your sheets and bedding helps in destroying the fungi and bacteria present on them. Always follow the instructions on the sheets and use protective covers on your pillows to increase the life of your bedding and sheets.