Washing your sheets weekly is a must-doPin

What Happens When You Skip Washing Your Sheets?

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Are you thinking about not washing your sheets this week? While it might seem like a minor detail, the science behind clean sheets reveals that regular washing is not just a matter of aesthetics, it’s a matter of hygiene, too.

Read on to understand what you’re in for when you put off washing your sheets, then keep going for my quick tips to get them squeaky clean.

1. Microbial Meet-up

Bacteria are everywhere, but they really like to gather in dirty bed sheets. Research shows that unwashed sheets can be a playground for different germs and bacteria, including MRSA and staph. That’s why it’s so important to wash your sheets weekly.

And if your immune system is weak due to age or being on immunosuppressants like I am, you’re at an even higher risk and might need to wash your sheets even more often.

2. Invisible Invaders

Dust mites are tiny creatures related to spiders that eat the dead skin cells we shed. These little guys are one of the main reasons those of us with indoor allergies wind up sneezing or waking with itchy eyes and asthma attacks if we skip washing our sheets.

3. Ringworm and More

When you sleep, your body produces oils and sweat which gets absorbed by your sheets. If you have eczema, this buildup can irritate your skin and make your condition worse. And let’s not forget about yeast and fungal infections.

The warm, damp environment of sweaty sheets is a welcome party for the fungi that causes ringworm and jock itch. Washing your sheets weekly helps remove these oils and protect your skin.

4. Smells Like “Teen Spirit”?

Bad smells from unwashed sheets can take over your bedroom, seep into other areas of your home, and linger on your hair and skin all day. Over time, this smell will permeate your pillows, bedspread, and even your mattress.

Parents of teens know they have a distinct aroma. It’s because those body oils on their sheets cling to their skin and hair. Washing your sheets every week helps keep your home and your self smelling clean.

5. Nightmarish Sensations

The limbic system, which controls emotions and memory, is closely connected to your sense of smell. When your sheets stink, your limbic system can trigger feelings of discomfort or even stress, making it hard to relax and fall asleep.

So, for a better night’s sleep, make sure to wash your sheets every week. It’s a simple habit that can improve both your sleep and your overall mood.

Washing Tips For Squeaky Clean Sheets

The Ideal Water Temperature

Cold water washing removes some but not all bacteria. If the care label recommends cold water washing, you can eliminate them by adding either chlorine or oxygen bleach, a laundry disinfectant (Lysol makes one), tumble drying with high heat for at least 28 minutes, or line drying in bright sunlight.

Did You Know?

Detergents that claim to work in cold temperatures usually add: “Works better in cold temperatures than the leading bargain brand.” That doesn’t mean they remove stains and bacteria as well as washing in hot water.

The Fabric Softener Dilemma

Fabric softener makes sheets feel softer by coating the fibers with petroleum-based surfactants. That coating can also trap odors and bacteria, especially if you aren’t targeting them with your detergent, laundry additives, or temperature settings. Use it sparingly, or replace it with vinegar in the rinse cycle.

Separate For Space

Always wash sheets in a separate load so they can move freely in the water, and you’ll get cleaner sheets as a result. Washing sheets separately also protects them from heavier fabrics that can damage them.

Not used to separating them? Check out my tips on sorting laundry to get every load cleaner.

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