How often do you wash your sheets?
Almost three-fifths of us don’t change our bed sheets each week, research from cleaning service Hate2clean.com maid service llc of Houston has revealed. Although it can be hard to keep on top of the laundry – especially in a larger household – changing bedding less often than we should mean we’re cozying up to a small army of dust mites – and their droppings – when we bed down for the night.
House dust mites feed on dead skin that has been partially broken down by mold, and both the skin itself and the dust mites that find it so tasty can quickly build up in unwashed beds and bedding. The Sleep foundation estimates that as much as a tenth of the weight of a pillow that has never been washed is made up of human skin scales, mold, dust mites (including dead dust mites) and their droppings. Ewwww!
This isn’t a pleasant thought for anyone but it can be particularly bad news for anyone who suffers from a dust mite allergy, asthma or eczema. This is because dust mite droppings contain an allergen that is associated with all three of these conditions.
To keep your bed and your bedding as clean as possible and to help ensure you get a great night’s sleep, follow these handy DO's and DON’Ts.
6 dos and don’ts when washing sheets
1. DO wash sheets and blankets at least once a week
If someone in your household has asthma, eczema or a dust mite allergy, follow good housekeeping advice and change bedding weekly.
2. DO wash bedding at 60°F or above
Although dust mite droppings will be washed away if you launder bedding at a lower temperature, the mites themselves will survive, which won’t help in the long-run.
3. DO clean stuffed toys regularly
Persuading your child to part with a favorite teddy – even temporarily – is no mean feat. Assuming you manage this, the best course of action is to launder it at 60°C to kill any dust mites that might be lurking inside, but the care label may state that it can’t be washed at this high a temperature. If this is the case, Good Housekeeping recommends putting the toy in a plastic bag and popping it in the freezer for at least 12 hours before washing according to the care label. Try to do this once a month.
4. DON’T forget the duvet
The GH recommends laundering duvets and pillows at least twice a year.
‘If your duvet is machine washable, check your washing machine’s drum capacity before attempting to wash it at home, You might have to take it in to the cleaners or a laundry mat the large wash machines. There should be room for it to move around in the machine. If there isn’t, or if your duvet is to larger. With both pillows and duvets, it’s important to dry them as quickly as possible, especially if they have a natural fiber filling, which holds moisture more readily and could start to rot or mildew.
5. DO vacuum your mattress
Some mattress manufacturers state that vacuuming certain types of mattresses can displace the filling inside, so always check the care guide that came with the mattress first. If you are going to vacuum your mattress, use the upholstery attachment and the lowest suction setting on the cleaner. Aim to do this every couple of months, vacuuming the bed frame and the area directly underneath and surrounding the bed while you’re at it.
6. DON’T make your bed!
Or, at least, don’t make your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. We sweat while we sleep and a neatly rearranged duvet can trap moisture and warmth inside your bed, making your bed irresistible to dust mites.