Why Your Clean Linens Might Be Dirty

You might have a routine down pat for washing your linens. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly even for those of you who like to walk on the wild side. But have you ever thought about what makes them clean and what makes them dirty?

Yeah yeah, you know about bacteria and skin cells, but what really goes on between the sheets and in your washing machine? Inside Edition decided to set up tests for one busy family’s load of used linens – and slippers too. Kristi Muccini runs a tight ship that includes four children and lots of laundry.

Kristi’s routine entails weekly washing for her brood – towels, bedding, and clothing. To test the cleanliness levels of their linens, samples of bed sheets, towels, and a pair of slippers were collected. Bagged, tagged, and sent off to a microbiologist, everyone waited to find out what the results would say about bacteria levels.

Image of petri dishes.Inside Edition
In the meantime, Inside Edition’s scientific expert shared some tips on keeping microbe levels low for these items that we use daily. For towels, let them breathe by stretching them out and hanging them on a rod. Leaving them crumpled up or slumped over a chair locks in moisture, helping bacteria to get cozy. He also advises against putting them on a door hook, as that prevents them from airing out.

Another piece of advice is to keep the bathroom door open after a shower. Warm, humid environments of course create breeding grounds for germs. Lastly, it’s recommended to launder bed linens on a weekly basis to cut down on germs. We know no one can tell you what to do and you will sleep, eat, and um, frolic as you please, but it’s just a suggestion.

In addition to skin cells, sweat, and bodily oils finding a place on your linens, so does drool, snack crumbs, and hungry dust mites who eat the skin cells. It’s interesting to note that some of the staining you find on your pillows and bedding are sourced from your own bodily fluids. Yes, those yellow spots on your pillow come from drool or sweat, and contain bacteria.

Can you smell what your linens are cooking? Washing regularly also cuts down on allergens like pet dander or pollen, and viruses like the common cold. Who washes their sheets after they battle a cold or athlete’s foot? Think about how you plop down on your bed to chat or nap after coming home from school or work. When washing, be sure to keep sheets separate from other laundry and avoid cramming so they can circulate freely in the machine.

To find out the results of the Muccini family’s tests, watch the video below. Kristi plans on making a few changes to their household after learning what kinds of bugs were hanging out in her home, and where they came from. You’ll never look at your slippers the same again.

What do you think of these test results? What are your washing habits for bed and bath linens? Let us know in the comments!