A Disturbing New Report Will Make You Think Twice About How Often You Wash Your Sheets

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Sleeping in freshly washed sheets in your neat and clean bedroom at the end of the day has to rank pretty high on the list of simple life pleasures. However, the hours-long (and very tedious) act of actually washing, drying, and folding your bed linens (perhaps even your down comforter)? Not so much, which makes it too easy to put off doing this household task. So it’s not surprising that a new study confirmed that you’re probably not washing your sheets as often as you should be.

Many people don’t think of their beds as places that can trap dirt — after all, you’re mainly sleeping in bed, which is a pretty low-intensity activity. But sheets can get seriously grimy, and most people aren’t washing their sheets enough.

According to a new survey from Mattress Advisory, the average American waits almost a month before swapping out their dirty sheets for a freshly laundered set 24 days, to be exact. That’s way longer than what experts recommend, and there are many reasons why you should be washing your sheets way more often than every 24 days.

Less-than-fresh-smelling linens are the least of your worries. While you sleep, your sheets absorb your sweat, oil, skin cells, sebum, and any other impurities that are still on your skin or hair (i.e., makeup or hair styling products). The longer you wait to wash your sheets, the more time germs can breed on your bedding and potentially irritate your skin. The resulting bacteria, dust mites, and mold can cause inflammation, itching, and breakouts, as well as eczema.

So, how often should you be washing your sheets? It can depend on the person. For example, people who have pets, eat in bed, have sensitive skin and allergies, or who live in humid climates might want to wash their sheets more often than the typical recommendations.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you should be washing your bedding and other bedroom linens about once a week — and not just your sheets. Your duvet cover, regularly used blankets, and pillow covers should also be washed weekly. You should wash your pillows twice a year, and any decorative pillows once a month. You should also be putting your comforter in the wash about once a month to a few times a year, experts told us

With the warmer months coming up, you might not even need this reminder — in the summer, people generally sweat more and may be more keen to keep their bedding cleaner. But if this is all news to you, consider this your reminder to put “stripping your sheets and replacing them with clean ones” at the top of your chores list every week — for your own benefit!

This article originally published on Apartment Therapy. See it there: A Disturbing New Report Will Make You Think Twice About How Often You Wash Your Sheets