There is no denying that getting into a bed with nice clean sheets is one of the best feelings, but how often do we really change those sheets? If you ask your college roommate, the answer may be once a semester. If you ask your mom, her answer may be every week. If you’re going by the rule of thumb of changing your sheets when they look dirty, then listen up!
What’s Really Lurking in Your Sheets?
Your sheets are probably much dirtier than you think. Consider everything you have touched today: doorknobs, bathroom stalls, public transportation. Well, those germs are making their way into your bed. Yuck! Some 70% of what makes your sheets dirty is invisible. Bacteria that build up on your skin throughout the day are transferred to your sheets when you get into bed. Did we mention dust mites? Yes, these invisible creatures live in your bed, feast on your dead skin, and are a huge trigger for allergic reactions. Every bed has dust mites, but changing your sheets regularly will help to control them and keep your dust allergies to a minimum. Cleaning your sheets is also important for reducing bacteria, mold, viruses and fungus.
How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
The average person spends about seven hours a night in bed. That’s 49 hours a week! Germs, dead skin, bacteria and dust mites build up quickly. So how often should you wash your sheets to keep these critters at bay? Ideally your sheets and pillow cases should be changed every week. This may be asking a lot, so if you change them every other week, that’s okay too. (Pro tip: If you’re lazy like me, you can keep a spare set and change your sheets, rather than doing an extra load of laundry.)
But sometimes you may want to wash your sheets more often:
- If someone is sick in the family, you should wash their sheets as soon as they’re better. Make sure you wash everybody else's sheets, too. This will prevent the germs that got them sick from spreading through your house.
- If you’re prone to break outs, washing your pillow cases more often will prevent blocked pores caused by skin oils, dirt, leftover makeup and bacteria that have accumulated.
- If you sleep with your pet, you should consider washing your sheets often. They're running around outside, sniffing everything and increasing the risk of bringing bacteria, mold and allergens back into your bed.
- If you live in a humid climate, sweat when you sleep, or if its summer, change your sheets. Bacteria and mold tend to grow more rapidly in a warmer climate, so wash them more often to prevent this from happening.
- Are you sleeping with a partner? Sharing your sheets with another person can bring even more bacteria, germs and dust into your bed.
- If you have allergies and wake up with a stuffy nose in the morning, you should change your sheets. This reaction could mean your sheets are covered in dust and dirt, and you’re breathing them in all night long.
Next time you’re feeling lazy about cleaning your sheets, just let all the microscopic creatures that are hiding in your bed serve as a million motivators to do it.