What happens to your body if you don't wash your sheets every week

It's hard enough to find time to make your bed every morning, let alone wash your sheets every single week. 

But if you've been skimping on washing your bedding, you might want to think again.

Believe it or not, your health could be at risk, just by forgetting to pop those sheets through the washing machine every seven days. 

Dr Lisa Ackerley, Hygiene Doctor and Dettol Expert, says that although that doona and those sheets don't look dirty, that's actually not the case. 

"Depending upon what your bed is used for, and also how clean you are when you get in it (and indeed whether you wear nightwear) your bed can get pretty filthy and it may actually be causing your body harm," says Lisa.

"Think of all the things you do in bed. Apart from being the place where we go to sleep, it can double up as the home office, the tea room, the dining table or even your dog or cat's bed."

Here's what your germ and bacteria paradise bed could be doing to your health...

Fungal or Bacterial Infections

When the nights get hot and sweaty, so do you and sweat is just one reason beds can be prime places for fungi to grow.

This can lead to a fungal infection called Onychomycosis, which can cause symptoms like crumbling toenails.

You can also contract Tinea Cruris - another name for jock itch -  which is a fungal infection that affects the skin on the genitals, inner thighs, and bottom.

A study from mattress company Amerisleep also found that if left unchanged for even one week, your sheets have 24,631 more bacteria than a bathroom doorknob. Gross but true...

Welts and breathing issues

Dust Mites, or bed bugs,  feed on the flakes of skin that you shed when you sleep. You'll know you have them because you'll find red welts on your neck, face, arms, and upper body, or some unexplainable  breathing issues. 

It's really hard to get rid of dust mites once they're in your bed but keep them at bay by washing regularly, and store all your bed linen in a cool, dry place away from moisture.  

Skin Irritation or Eczema

"In addition to attracting bacteria, dirty sheets rub against your skin while you sleep — and that friction can lead to skin irritation," says Dr Joshua Zeichner, an American dermatologist.

What's worse is that if you use heavy creams or greasy ointments to cure that, you'll make the problem worse when they transfer to your sheets and attract more bacteria. 

If you need to treat a skin condition like eczema, Dr Zeichner suggests speaking to your dermatologist about fully absorbable medications that won't rub off on your bedding. 

Pimples and acne

We all know that you should never go to bed with your make-up on but, we've all done it.

Apart from the risks of dry skin and increasing the signs of ageing (the horror) you can cause some long-term damage to your skin as bacteria builds up.

This bacteria can cause nasty whiteheads and pimples, or make any acne worse. It's always best to cleanse your skin every night before you go to bed and sure you always wash your pillow case every week, even if you can't wash all the bed linen. 

Is there anything else you can do to stop your bed becoming a germs paradise?

Doctor Ackerley suggests hoovering your mattress every few weeks to remove dust and making sure you regularly wash your doona and buy new pillows every few months. Bed sheets should be washed at least once a week, at 60°C or higher and she also suggests changing your nightwear every two to three nights.

 

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