You are not alone
Raise your hand if you can go three weeks or longer before you change your bedsheets. Many of us share this dirty little secret just for the sheet struggle of making it happen. First, there’s wrestling the fitted sheet, but Bed Scrunchie has that problem solved, but there are the clips! Then you have the running back and forth to make sure that the flat sheets are a perfect match on both sides. Don’t even talk to me about tucking the sheet at the bottom. It’s a guaranteed knuckle abrasion from the natural wood bed that my husband built.
As I said, we are all far from alone with this dirty secret. A little more than a thousand Americans were polled in a Mattress Advisor survey about their bedsheet laundering practices. The results of the study revealed that on average, people go beyond three weeks (24.4 days) before they change their bed linens for the fresh and crisp replacements.
Here are some more juicy tidbits from the survey:
- Men go ten days longer on dirty sheets than women (29.6 days vs. 19.4 days).
- Single people go more than two weeks longer before changing their sheets (37 days) than couples in a relationship (22 days). Married couples go the shortest time between changing, at just 20 days.
- Almost half (43%) of men are likely to change to fresh bedsheets before they go out at night if they are hopeful for a romp in the hay later. Only 33% of women admit to the same hopeful sheet changing.
- After sex, men are okay waiting nearly 12 days before washing the sheets. Women go about four days before insisting on a change.
The dark side of sweet dreams
So what’s the down and dirty in your snuggled under? There is a whole lot of partying going on between your sheets, and most of it doesn’t involve you at all.
This occupant is the most commonly known party animal going on underneath the sheets. They cannot be seen, and they don’t bite, so don’t be too alarmed at knowing that anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million of these little guys feasting on your dead skin cells (excellent) according to the Mayo Clinic, and using your bed as a latrine (not so good). Think of your bedsheets as a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet.
Again, this is just a fact of life, however, if you are subject to allergies, their carcasses and waste (poop) are considered an allergen that can subject you to hay fever, eczema, asthma, coughing or any other allergies while in the room, you may have found your blame right here.
Bacteria are similar to humans regarding their basic necessities: water, warmth, and food. They are living on us already, and we shed some of them as we sleep. If your sheets are damp from sweat or…ahem…that creates a lovely breeding ground for them, too. Sweat and other bodily secretions all add their own flavor of bacteria to the mix, too, including fecal matter for the nude sleepers.
If you’re a side-sleeper, then your breath is spraying bacteria on your pillow and your side of the bed. Without naming names, sleepy time droolers are other notorious contributors to bedtime bacteria. If you have moisture on your sheets when you awaken, you should allow them to air dry for a couple of hours before you make the bed.
Most of your body’s bacteria, like the mites, are relatively harmless. You’ve been carrying it all around yourself. What’s a little sharing on the sheets? The worst you’ll experience is building aroma from the bacteria and your body oil.
The problem comes when you brush against others and bring their foreign bacteria to inter-mingle. Let’s say a stranger was ill, and you brushed against them, you could increase your chances of illness if you crawl into bed with foreign bacteria without showering. You have little resistance to their uninvited cooties.
The most common ailments are things like acne and dandruff. Eczema could flare up for those prone to the irritation. Nude sleepers bring a different risk being void of personal barriers. Something can crawl into the nether regions and cause a UTI.
There is a piece of good news. Unlike bacteria, viruses only have a shelf-life of a few hours, so exposure is minimal. The exception is the Norovirus which lives for up to a month. Any suspicion of suffering from this virus, change your sheets ASAP and change them often, so you don’t reinfect yourself.
Have you started your laundry yet?
So how often should you change your sheets?
Most recommend a weekly (7-10 days) change to a fresh, crisp set of sheets. You can stretch it longer if you:
- Shower before going to bed
- Wear pajamas
- Allow your sheets to air out before making the bed (or not make the bed at all)
If you say yes to all three, then the experts recommend a 2 week change, because bacteria grows for about two weeks and it will have gone from a small get-together party to an all-out rave by then.
Have you bought your Bed Scrunchie yet? You’ll be glad you had it as you find yourself changing sheets more often!
Best laundering tips for your sheets
The first thing all disclaimers will say is to read the instructions on the label of the sheets. If you ripped that label off years ago because it bothered you when your hand touched it while sleeping, you’re on your own. All the germ specialists say that heat is the ticket to killing all of your microscopic cohabitants, so wash in the hottest water you can get and follow with a good tumble in a hot dryer.
If you did find the label still attached to your sheets and you discovered that they recommend a cold or warm water wash, we have more tricks up our sleeve to suggest.
- Add peroxide or lemon juice to the wash to kill bacteria
- Hang sheets out on a clothesline and let the sun do the sanitizing
- Iron your sheets, and allow a brief exposure to high heat do some killing for you
By the way – you can launder your Bed Scrunchie too! Find this and answers to other questions on the Bed Scrunchie FAQs.