Household cleaning happens bit by bit every day. Most people are accustomed to washing their clothes when the hamper is filled or don’t have anything to wear. We wipe down our kitchen counter after cooking or washing dishes, and we run a duster over dusty surfaces in our home. However, circumstances change when it comes to the bedroom. Most people look at their bed as their sanctuary. It’s easy to fall into your bed after a long day without giving your bed sheets a second thought. Many people can’t even remember the last time they changed the sheets on their bed. Proper hygiene is essential in all areas of life, especially when it comes to our bedding.
Without regular cleaning, dirty sheets can promote asthma, skin breakouts, and allergies. There are gross things that can happen when you don’t wash and change your sheets often. A survey conducted by Mattress Advisor found that the average American waits 24 days before changing their sheets. Men leave their sheets ten days longer than women, and single men don’t change their sheets until 45 days. Here are some nasty things that can happen when you don’t wash your sheets.
Your Bed Becomes a Bacteria Cesspool
Every time you lay down at night, you transfer all the germs you’ve amassed on your body throughout the day onto your bedsheets and pillowcases. The longer you go without washing your sheets, the more bacteria will build up in your bed. After just one week, used sheets can accumulate 5 million colony-forming units or CFUs. That’s more than 24,000 times the amount found on the average bathroom doorknob. After four weeks, that 24,000 increases to 11 million CFUs, 39 times germier than a pet food bowl. The most commonly isolated bacteria on soiled sheets are gram-negative rods, which can cause pneumonia and some anti-biotic resistant infections. Bacilli, the bacteria that can cause some food poisoning, can also pop up.
Your Acne Can Flare Up
It can be very tempting to hop into bed with a full face of makeup, but please consider washing your face before getting into bed. Particles of makeup can gather in your pillowcases, accumulating bacteria that can go right back into your face. These bacteria build-up can result in worsening your present acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. Even if you don’t wear makeup, you can still deposit skin oil on your bedding, which can linger and cause infections. So please remember to wash your makeup off before getting into bed. Your skin and your bedding will thank you.
Your Allergies Can Get Worse
Microscopic insects called dust mites like to hang out in sheets, mattresses, and other cloth and upholstered surfaces where dust gathers. These places are a vital source of skin flakes that you shed daily, which dust mites eat. Dust mites can be a significant cause of allergies and asthma, especially if you live in areas that experience humid summers. Frequent washing and changing your sheets can help ward off these critters. You can also invest in a mattress cover designed to help with allergies.
You Could Get Athlete’s Foot
The bacteria and fungus that collect in your bedsheets over time can potentially enter our bodies through open sores, cuts, and other breaks in the skin. The fungus that causes the athlete’s foot can spread through contact with the affected foot’s surface. For example, if your partner has an infection, they can give it to you through the bed you share, mainly if you haven’t changed your sheets in a while. Dirty bedsheets can also spread ringworm, toenail fungus, jock itch, and external yeast infections.
You Can Wind Up in the Hospital
This example may seem extreme, but it is possible. Another bacteria that can collect in your bedsheets is staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph. Staph bacteria live in the warm, moist areas of our body and are harmless most of the time. However, if this bacteria gets into your bloodstream through a cut or open sore, it can be hazardous. Staph-based infections can range from urinary tract infections or UTIs, eye styes or skin boils. It can also cause MRSA, an anti-biotic infection that can be fatal in some instances.
You Should Wash Your Sheets Weekly
It would be best if you washed your sheets weekly to avoid the build-up of dead skin cells, dust mites, and bacteria. However, you should consider cleaning your sheets more frequently if you’re sensitive to dust, sweat excessively, allow your pets to sleep in your bed, eat in bed, or go to bed without showering. On the other hand, there are ways to keep your bedsheets clean in between washing. You can shower before getting in bed, avoid naps after the gym, remove your makeup before going to sleep, and avoid eating or drinking in the bed. Experts recommend that you wash your sheets and other bedding in hot water. The hotter the water, the more bacteria and allergens you remove.
Cleaning your bedsheets is just another part of your house cleaning routine. A majority of Americans don’t change their sheets that often. Leaving bedsheets on for extended periods may be common practice because the sheets don’t’ look dirty.However, there is a lot hidden under the surface of your bedsheets. Dirty bedsheets can cause a plethora of issues that you may not think. They can spread infections, exacerbate allergies, and they can cause acne flare-ups.
A little diligence when it comes to caring for your bedding can go a long way when it comes to helping you breathe and sleep easier. When you’re doing your routine house cleaning, think about the last time you changed your sheets. If you can’t remember the last time you changed your sheets, change them anyway. Proper hygiene is essential in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to your bedding. Good hygiene can lower your risk for diseases and illnesses spread through viruses and bacteria. Clean bedding can help you sleep and breathe easier. It may seem like a hassle, but it will be worth it in the end.