Bed sheets act as barriers between you and the mattress. To understand their importance, however, we have to talk a little more about the latter. As you might be aware, these pads can become host to allergens such as dust mites, which can greatly affect your quality of sleep. Luckily, we can minimize our contact with these microscopic bugs by using a bed sheet.
That’s not all that they’re good for, though. As it turns out, bed sheets also protect your mattress. “From what?”, you might be wondering. The answer is simple, really—the perspiration that escapes your body. By taking in the moisture, the sheets are able to prevent your mattress from being soaked.
Trust me, a soaked mattress is not a good thing. It can lead to the development of spores, molds, even mites! The worst part of all is that they are difficult to wash. Can you imagine trying to scrub your mattress clean? Definitely not a fun task.
The Importance of Keeping Your Bedding Clean
This goes without saying but you always want to keep your bed sheets clean. As you can imagine, they tend to get dirty quickly—after all, they’re in constant contact with sweat and allergens! Who wants to sleep on icky linen? Wouldn’t it also defeat the purpose of having sheets in the first place if they’re soiled?
Not just that, but it can actually lead to a number of consequences. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Accumulation of Bacteria
Dirty sheets often contain sweat and body oils—but did you know that you can also find fecal matter in the fibers? You can easily see how this would lead to the presence of bacteria.
To make things worse, bacteria love dead skin cells and sweat, both of which can be found on your sheets. This often leads to rapid multiplication. Assuming that your linens are not regularly washed and that you have an open wound, the germs can enter and cause an infection.
In some cases, fungi spores can also grow on the bed sheets, which can lead to icky things like ringworm.
Greater Risk of Allergies and Asthma
Every time we sleep, flakes of skin go onto the sheets (we shed more than a million dead cells a day!)—this food source only attracts more dust mites. The longer you sleep on a bed sheet (i.e. the dirtier it is), the more dead skin flakes there will be.
The greater the amount of dust mites, the more excrement there will be on the fabric. Ultimately, it is their excrement that is known for causing allergies—even asthma in some cases. This can be a serious issue for those with existing breathing conditions.
Spread of Infections
If someone in the bed is sick, chances are, the bacteria or virus will be present on the bed sheets. More often than not, it will be soaked into the fibers. As you can imagine, this makes it easy for the infection to spread to others. Remember, always wash your hands with soap if you are sick before getting into bed.
Development of Odors
Bed sheets can get smelly. This isn’t surprising, though, when you consider the fact that they’re often covered with sweat, dirt, body oils, and bacteria. As you might expect, the odor can easily transfer onto you or your clothes during your sleep.
How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?
As a general rule, you want to wash your bed sheets at least once a week. Doing so will help to keep sweat, allergens, and bacteria at bay. Sure, it might be a bit tedious, but your health is worth it—especially if you have pre-existing allergies to dust mites. And anyway, the cleaning process is not too bad given that you have a washing machine (more on this later).
As the temperatures get warmer in the summer, however, you might want to wash them more frequently. After all, you’ll likely be sweating more at night. The same goes for when you’re sick—washing the sheets more often will help to prevent the spread of infection.
During the cooler months, you might be able to get away with washing your bed sheets once every two weeks. Having said that, it’s a good idea to stay with the once a week rule; that will for sure, keep them fresh and clean.
How To Wash Bed Sheets, Comforters & Other Bedding
Washing your bed sheets require a bit of effort, but it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think! Follow these steps and you’ll be able to enjoy freshly cleaned linens!
Note: Be sure to read all of the care labels before you begin. While most bed sheets are machine washable, some might require special care that you might not be able to provide at home.
First things first, take the sheets off of the bed. Seeing as how they take up a lot of space in the washer, it’s a good idea to wash them separately from other laundry. That’s not to say that you can’t add a couple of pairs of socks or underwear in, if there is room, however.
Carefully place the sheets in the washing machine—make sure that they do not bundle too much. Never wrap them around the agitator; not only will that cause them to tear, but it might damage or break the motor. Once the linens are in the machine, add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent. Do not use too much otherwise it will be difficult to rinse off.
Wash the bed sheets with warm water on a regular cycle (some washers might have a setting specifically for sheets). Hot water can be used if the sheets are excessively dirty. Do note, however, that the warm temperature will cause the fabric to wear out faster.
Remove the bed sheets from the washer once the cycle is complete. Do not leave them inside for long periods of time—that will only invite bacteria and mold. Shake them out gently before hanging them on a clothesline. Avoid putting it under direct sunlight as that can cause the colors to fade. As an alternative, you can put them in the dryer on the lowest heat setting.