The low-down on dirty bed sheets
In 2018 the UK laundry company Love 2 Laundry conducted a survey and found that while 55% of respondents washed their sheets once a week, a scary 3.8% of people only washed their sheets once a year.
We cannot. Imagine. The stench.
This may be a UK company, but it's still a worrying thought. Ergoflex is an Australian mattress company, and one of their surveys found that 55% of single guys aged 18 to 25 wash their bed linen every three months. That's one way to stay single lads! If you're getting enough sleep, you'll be lying in bed for eight hours a night. We shed about 500 million skin cells every day, and that's not even mentioning your sweat and your skin's natural oils. If you share your bed with your significant other - then you can go ahead and multiple all those skin cells and that sweat by 2. By not washing your bed linen for extended periods, you are letting unwanted bacteria and micro-organisms accumulate.
Remember when we said that humans shed 500 million skin cells today? The main food source of dust mites is dead skin. The most common type of dust mite found in Australian houses is Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, which is associated with dermatological and respiratory allergies like eczema and asthma.
Other allergic reactions to dust mites include:
- a tight feeling in the chest
- runny nose
- itchy nose
- itchy eyes
- itchy skin
- skin rashes
Another problem, although not as common, can be bed bugs. If dust mites are the tiny zombies feasting on your dead skin, bed bug are vampires that want to suck your blood. Bed bugs can be hard to get rid of, as they usually live in the walls or floorboards of a room, but at changing your sheets regularly means you'll be on the look out.
How often should you change your sheets?
As a general rule, you should wash and change your sheets every 1-2 weeks, and the same goes for your doona cover.
How often should you change your pillows?
Pillows and the pillowcase itself? That's a whole different ball game.
The pillow itself should come with a 'use by' date of sorts on its laundry tag. Pillows are made from different materials, so an inexpensive polyester pillow is going tp age much quicker than a memory foam one. Here's a rough guide to the lifespan of your pillow:
- Feather: 18-36 months
- Memory foam: 18-36 months
- Down: 2+ years
- Synthetic down/down alternative: 18-24 months
- Polyester: 6 - 24 months
If you notice that a few of following things apply to your pillow, it may be time to get a new one
- There are noticeable lumps in the foam or filler materials
- There are noticeable, permanent stains from body sweat and oil
- You wake up with aches and pains
- You wake up tired
- You wake up with headaches or are developing tension headaches
- You constantly have to re fluff your pillow to get comfortable (feather pillows only)
- If you fold your pillow in half, it stays that way instead of expanding back out (feather pillows only)
You should try to change your pillow cases at least once every 7 days. When you sleep, your skin's oils, your sweat and saliva are absorbed by your pillow case. Constantly sleeping on a dirty pillow case can cause you to break out, so it's much simpler to just take an extra five minutes to change your pillowslips.
Laundry is no one's favourite thing to do. But who doesn't love a good night's sleep on fresh sheets? If you want to avoid dust mites, allergic reactions, bed bugs and acne, a great place to start is maintaining the cleanliness of your bed by changing the linen once a week.