Think you are sleeping alone? Think again! You’d be surprised at all of the living things you are snuggling up with at night! According to Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, “most people wash their sheets once a week, but many others go 3 weeks to a month without washing their sheets.”
Dr. Tierno says that once a week is the most reasonable, as your body will thank you later. Breathing in the dirt and micro debris held inside your sheets is bad for your health. Your skin cells that you leave in your bed become a meal for mites. These mites accumulate quickly over a short period of time, and not only is their presence unhealthy and disturbing, but their feces that they leave embedded in your bedding is even more frightening.
And that’s not all
Animal hair, dander, fungal mold, fungal spores, bodily secretions and bacteria, dust, lint, fibers, particulates, insect parts, pollen, soil, sand and cosmetics are all things you can find in your dirty bed.
As far as your health is concerned, mostly your respiratory system is at risk, as well as your skin. People with allergies and asthma are especially at risk, but what you may not have known is sleeping in dirty sheets can cause you to develop allergies.
The ideal way to wash your sheets is to use the hot cycle (130-150 degree water) coupled with a germicidal detergent like bleach or non-bleach bleach.
Before you toss your linens into the washer, check the label for any precautions and follow the instructions. If your linens can’t be washed in scalding water or placed on high heat in your dryer, then try hanging them out in the sun to dry. Sunlight is a natural antimicrobial agent, and it also kills mites.
While washing your sheets “too much” may take a while to do, a lot of people never think about washing their pillows, but they should be laundered about once or twice per year. Cleaning pillows is a long and manual process, but it’s worth it! You can damage your pillow with too much washing.
Another thing to consider is keeping a mattress cover over your bed. This will keep your mattress from becoming an overgrown petri-dish.