When was the last time you washed your sheets? If you can't remember -- it has been far too long and you might be shocked at what can grow (and what critters can be attracted to your soiled sheets!) in between washes.
All sorts of things from our bodies -- sweat, saliva, dandruff, dead skin cells, and even food particles -- can end up on sheets and these can create the perfect environment for bacteria, fungi, viruses -- and yes -- bugs!
The types of bacteria found in beds, according to CNN, can include: Staphylococcus, which is usually harmless, but can become serious when it enters the body through an open wound, and can also cause skin infections, pneumonia, and acne to worsen. E. coli -- which can potentially cause issues like urinary tract infections, pneumonia, diarrhea, meningitis, and sepsis -- has been found in sheets, though usually in hospital settings.
Bugs that are found in beds and on sheets can include dust mites -- which can cause allergies and asthma, bedbugs, which can bite and leave red marks, along with leading to anxiety, insomnia, and allergies.
Before you freak out and begin shopping for a new bed, CNN notes, "Proper and regular washing are all key to ensuring germs don't develop into a genuine health threat." Following these steps can help to improve the health of your bed and are fairly simple.
1. Make sure to allow your bed linens to air dry in the morning, and experts suggest pulling back your duvet and blankets and letting the sheets breathe, allowing any built-up moisture to dry.
2. Use a washable mattress cover, which will help reduce the number of germs and microbes living in your bed.
3. Vacuum your mattress and bed base every month to remove dust and allergens.
4. Flip your mattress every few months.
5. Get a new mattress every 10 years.
6. Wash your sheets every week, say CNN's experts, and wash the mattress cover every week or every other week. If you sleep in the nude, sweat a lot while sleeping, or spend a lot of time in your bed, your pillowcases should be replaced every 2 to 3 days.
7. Wash all bedding in warm to hot water, do not overfill the washer, and make sure to completely dry all the linens before using them again.
8. Do not get into bed wearing makeup, lotions, creams, or oils.
9. If you are sweaty, make sure to shower before laying on your bed.
10. Other ways to keep your sheets clean include not wearing dirty socks in bed, do not bring food or drinks into the bed, and not allowing your pets to lay on your sheets.