One of the most annoying chores we all have to deal with is doing laundry. More specifically, washing your bedsheets. You have to pull everything off the bed, then remake it all over again. I'll admit, the thought of all that work has made me skip doing my sheets that week more than once in my life.
Sadly, it turns out that that seemingly harmless procrastination might actually have some serious (and potentially dangerous) consequences.
Keeping your sheets clean is actually pretty important for good health. When you sleep at night, you naturally sweat a bit, regardless of the season. In fact, the average person has been found to expel nearly half a pint of sweat every night, and all of it gets absorbed into your sheets.
Mary Marlowe Leverette, a laundry expert for About.com, shared this interesting tidbit:
During sleep, we continue to perspire, and body oils and soil are released. It is possible to find saliva, urine, genital fluids, and fecal matter in the fibers. If the [linens] are not washed regularly, and the occupant has scratches or wounds, they can be come infected. Athlete’s foot and other fungi can be transferred from fabrics. Infrequent cleaning of sheets and pillowcases allows the fluids to seep into the pillows and mattresses, and those are MUCH more difficult to clean than tossing sheets in the washer.
If that wasn't bad enough, you also lose skin flakes overnight that attract dust mites - microscopic bugs that live in your bedsheets and feast on your flesh.
As the dust mites eat your dead skin flakes, they also excrete in your sheets. This excrement can cause asthma and allergies, and according to Leverette, poses a serious danger to people with respiratory issues.
The excrement of the mites can cause breathing problems for those with allergies and asthma, but can easily be removed by washing in hot water. By not washing linens frequently, the oils and fluids build up and embed in the fibers, making them much more difficult to remove. If you have ever pulled some sheets from the linen closet, and they smell slightly rancid and stale, that is body soil left in the fibers because the sheets were not cleaned thoroughly.
The best way to avoid this is to just bite the bullet and wash your sheets regularly - ideally once a week. Leverette advises using the hottest setting recommended for the fabric, and to wash more often during hot weather and/or if the sleeper perspires heavily or is ill.
H/T: Tip Hero