We spend 56 hours per week in our sheets that’s a lot of time. There is a natural accumulation of microorganisms in bedding as people constantly shed skin, saliva, and hair. In the spring and summer, heat and humidity provide the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive, which means they’re likely joining you while you sleep. Oh, and since it’s allergy season, pollen from the air can get in there with you, too, which means it’s basically a full-on microscopic mixer every night. So how often should you be washing your sheets in the heat?
Pillowcases should be swapped every week, regardless of the season (your face has bacteria that transfer directly to it), and duvet covers should always be washed every other week. As for the oft-overlooked items, which can also be loaded with some of the creepy crawlies, Calleja suggests washing pillows every six weeks and comforter inserts every month.
There are all sorts of things lurking in your sheets, pillows, and comforters that you may not be aware of, and they could pose a threat to your health if cleanliness isn’t maintained, and your bedding properly laundered. All those dust mites, bacteria, fungi, and pollen on dirty sheets can cause nasal congestion, stuffiness, runny nose, scratchy throat, allergies, provoke asthma, and worsen eczema and acne. Yikes.
To wash properly, research shows that hot water is an effective way to kill dust mites and other allergens. Calleja also suggests using gentle hypoallergenic, phosphate-free soaps and chlorine-free whitening powder when necessary. Because TBH, if you’re going to spend 56 hours a week in your sheets which is basically all of your free time, not counting the hours you’ll spend at the beach or sipping rosé on rooftops you may as well keep them as fresh and clean as possible.
If Fido sleeps in your bed with you, there are a few more things you should know about washing your sheets.
If you’re a hooman (as they say on the Internet) to a Fido or Fluffy or if you live with someone who is you’re likely aware of the overwhelming number of health benefits associated with dog ownership. From potentially lowering blood pressure to maybe even increasing your lifespan, pups are basically an immunity booster in a cute furry package.
And so it only makes sense that dog people would want to spend as much QT as possible with their pups, including at bedtime. Studies show that about 40 percent of dog owners sleep with their pets, but is it really safe to co-sleep?
While dogs can actually transmit some 70 diseases to humans, you don’t need to kick your little buddy out of bed in a hurry. The risks for the average population are probably overall low, especially if you do some simple basic things.
How to safely co-sleep with your furry friend
It may sound obvious, but washing your hands often is a top priority,especially if you’ve just touched your dog and are planning to eat a pre-bed snack (but it’s good advice to follow all the time). This is really really important, pointing to a recent outbreak of multi-drug resistant Campylobacter transmitted from puppies to people, which could have been avoided with proper handwashing. And don’t forget to wash your sheets, comforter, and any other dog bedding on the reg. Probably more often than you think you should.
Secondly, and this is likely another obvious one, keep your dog healthy and clean. One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners. (Although, to be fair, this could just be because dog owners tend to spend more time outside.) But you can help keep your bed bug-free by speaking to your vet about the appropriate flea and tick control products, which are now very safe for pets.
One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners.
Keeping a close eye on your dog when it’s on a walk or playing in a park is also important for co-sleepers. Eating rotten garbage or dead animals can cause your pet to become ill, and they may spread their sickness to you. There have even by documented cases of the plague and other serious diseases being transmitted from pet to owner.
Everyday grime and dirt that undoubtedly sticks to your dog’s paws could carry some risks, but they “haven’t necessarily been well-quantified. As long as their paws aren’t overly full of muck and all kinds of other things, then probably especially for the average person, the risk is pretty low. And here’s a tip: Clean your pooch’s paws before bedtime!
Of course, there are certain populations of people who should think twice before cuddling up, including young children under five, elderly people over 65, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised generally those with HIV/AIDS or people with cancer and receiving chemotherapy. These groups are not only more susceptible to the types of diseases dogs can spread, they’re also likely to get more severe cases.
What it really comes down to is: Before you let your dog in your bed, invite him to be part of your nightly self-care hygiene routine. You’ll both be better for it.