No doubt you have had this debate at some point in your life with someone and had a different opinion over how long you should go between sheet washes. So how often should you wash your sheets? Is there even a magic number or does it depend? Do different sheets have different wash cycle requirements or are they all the same? Do they even need to be washed?
Obviously sheets need to be washed. Every time you jump into bed for your well deserved rest you are introducing a cocktail of sweat, saliva and bodily fluids, as well all the dirt and grime and gunk that you naturally pick up in a day. Add this up over several days and weeks and you are bringing through a compounding mix of accumulating things you’d rather not sleep in.
How often should I wash my sheets?
Women’s Health polled almost 2,000 of their loyal readers about how often they washed and changed their sheets. The results offer a useful insight into how other people live their lives. 44 per cent of the respondents said that they washed their sheets once a week. 31 per cent said that they would do them every fortnight. And 16 per cent said that they washed their sheets every month. That leaves 13 per cent who either never wash their sheets or do it once a blue moon.
In another poll, Ergoflex UK surveyed Britons on their sheet-washing frequency, with horrifying results. 55 per cent of single male respondents between 18 and 25 went over three months before washing their sheets. This is in contrast to 35 to 50 year old women changing their sheets every week. Those in a relationship tended to change their sheets every fortnight on average, with sheet washing delegation often being passed to females.
A clear majority wash their sheets once a week, while around an eighth leave it for a month. Is there any way that we could find out who is right and who is wrong? When in doubt ask science.
According to Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D and director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, we are not washing our sheets enough. Tierno believes that even those who are doing it once a week are skirting on the long side. A recent report by CNN goes into even greater detail about how to do it. They recommend that you wash them at least once a week as well and specify that you use hot water that’s between 55 to 65 degrees Centigrade and a then put them in a hot dryer cycle to kill all germs.
So the answer is - You need to wash your sheets at least once a week.
The reality is that no matter how clean you think you are, we all secrete organic materials on a regular basis, including what is called dander (which is actually just your skin cells). We drop a lot of dander, several grams a day. It all adds up.
The dander itself is not that big a deal. It is what it attracts that is problematic. Your dander is like a smorgasboard for dust mites. The tiny little arachnids that like to live in your bed and feast on your dead skin. Dust mites love warm and moist habitats and that is your bed through and through. They also leave droppings behind and these can cause allergies and asthma.
How bad are dust mites?
Darryl C. Zeldi is the acting clinical director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and he believes that between 18 to 30 per cent of people are allergic to the dust mite’s droppings. One study found that almost half of all homes have such high levels of this allergen that they trigger a sensitivity in people who weren't even previously allergic.
What about bed bugs?
Bed bugs are another type of parasitic invader that live in beds. Unlike dust mites, bed bugs can be easily seen with the naked eye. Avoiding regular cleaning of bed-sheets helps create an undisturbed habitat for bed bugs, and positively encourages their presence.
Avoiding the risks
So, with dust mites and bed bugs you’ve got two clear reasons why you should maintain a regular cleaning routine with your bed-sheets, and that’s not even considering some of the more basic hygienic issues.
Bed bugs, and to a lesser extent dust mites, can live in the interior cavities of certain types of mattresses and bed bases. Pocket-sprung mattresses in particular, with their many hollow spaces within the interior, provide ample opportunity for bed bugs to make their homes.
Ergoflex memory foam mattresses are developed with a layered composition, minimising interior space within the mattress core. This instantly makes the Ergoflex mattress a less hospitable option for bed bugs and dust mites to exist. Added to that, each and every Ergoflex comes pre-treated with an anti-allergenic that offers further protection and creates a hygienic sleeping environment.
Whatever your mattress type, don’t fall into the trap of avoiding basic bed-sheet hygiene – was your sheets frequently and on a hot wash.
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