According to a poll, one in ten wait a month to wash their bed sheets and just over a third change them every fortnight. So how often do you wash yours?
As I snuggled into my freshly laundered bed linen on Sunday night, heavenly wafts of lavender-infused fabric conditioner lulling me to sleep, I mused that getting into clean sheets was truly one of life’s simple pleasures.
This got me onto thinking when I’d last actually changed them. A fortnight ago? Three weeks? To my shame, I worked out that it was probably closer to a month. Admittedly, I hadn’t actually slept between them every night during that time, but I was still pretty disgusted by my slovenly ways – particularly because it’s been so humid (read sweaty) of late.
But it seems I’m not alone.
According to a recent YouGov poll, one in ten confessed that they only washed their sheets once a month. Over a third did it every fortnight, while 33% did it once a week, with over half of those polled saying they believed bed linen became unhygienic after two to three weeks’ use. In the over-60s, 42% put their sheets in the wash after a week, while only 16% of 18-24s deemed this necessary.
Once a week? I’ve only ever done this when I’ve had to, such as when I’ve given up my bed for guests or my cat has trawled in half the garden and left a trail of muddy paw prints on my white duvet cover.
But the 33% of people who do wash their laundry every week could be on to something. During an average day, you shed around a million dead skin cells, the majority at night. On top of that, during a typical night’s sleep you can also lose about a litre of sweat, along with body oils. That combined with saliva, dirt from outside and other bodily fluids all adds up to a perfect breeding ground for up to 16 forms of bacteria plus dust mites. The latter of which won’t do you any favours if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
And then there’s the increased risk of getting an infection if you have a scratch or wound and sleep between dirty sheets.
Cost of cleaning
All pretty grim stuff, especially since the average person spends 35% of their lives in bed. But would this really persuade you to do battle with your duvet cover every seven days?
What about the added expense of putting on a load at 60°C (the Which? recommended temperature for washing bed linen. However, bear in mind that Which? research found that eight out of 12 washing machines tested by us do not reach 60°C on the 60°C program.) Just think of what the cost could be, and much more if you’re changing your whole family’s beds every weekend?
And then there’s the environmental impact. Did you know that the average washing cycle uses about 50 litres of water.
I don’t even want to begin to think about how often I need to wash the actual duvet and the pillows!
Is it really worth being so fastidious about cleaning your sheets?
How often do you wash your sheets?
Once a week (44%, 812 Votes)
Once a fortnight (31%, 585 Votes)
Two to three weeks (10%, 180 Votes)
Once a month (9%, 169 Votes)
Only when necessary (6%, 117 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,863