Washing your bedding is probably one of the most annoying chores on your weekly docket. The biggest complaint for most of us is that to clean the sheets, you have to unmake and then remake the bed – which nobody wants to do more than they have to. With this mindset, it’s easy to let your sheets slide for another week and another, until finally it’s been a month before you think, “Maybe I should get around to cleaning these soon…”
Well, we’re here to tell you that this seemingly harmless procrastination could have some seriously gross (and dangerous) consequences for you.
Keeping your sheets clean is crucial in maintaining good health, for more than one reason. When you sleep on your sheets at night, no matter the season you sweat. In fact, research has found the average person sweat about a half pint of sweat each night. That means that sweat and a lot of other disgusting things are getting absorbed nightly by your sheets.
Mary Marlowe Leverette, a laundry expert for About.com, shared this pleasant tidbit about the reality of your dirty sheets:
“During sleep, we continue to perspire, and body oils and soil are released. It is possible to find saliva, urine, genital fluids, and fecal matter in the fibers. If the [linens] are not washed regularly, and the occupant has scratches or wounds, they can be come infected. Athlete’s foot and other fungi can be transferred from fabrics. Infrequent cleaning of sheets and pillowcases allows the fluids to seep into the pillows and mattresses, and those are MUCH more difficult to clean than tossing sheets in the washer.”
And it just gets worse. The flakes of skin you lose on your sheets each night attracts dust mites, microscopic bugs that live on the fibers of your sheets and feast on human flesh. That sounds great, doesn’t it?
While dust mites eat your dead skin flakes, they’re also excreting in your sheets; and their excrement has been known to cause asthma and allergies. According to Leverette, this can be serious for people with existing breathing problems:
“The excrement of the mites can cause breathing problems for those with allergies and asthma, but can easily be removed by washing in hot water. By not washing linens frequently, the oils and fluids build up and embed in the fibers, making them much more difficult to remove. If you have ever pulled some sheets from the linen closet, and they smell slightly rancid and stale, that is body soil left in the fibers because the sheets were not cleaned thoroughly.”
The only way to avoid these health risks is to do the one chore no one wants to do: wash your sheets. Once a week is the recommended frequency for washing. Leverette advises:
“Ideally, bed linens should be washed every week using the hottest water recommended for the fabric. If the weather is extremely hot, and the sleepers perspire heavily or the sleepers are ill, more frequent washings are recommended.”
What do you think about this unfortunate truth? How often do you wash your sheets?