Um, Yuck!

rumpledimagesI’m not sure about you, but now that I am a grown up, I really appreciate crawling into clean, fresh-smelling sheets.  When I was young, my mom used to threaten us with the teenage horror of getting acne if we kept going to bed without showering and not washing our sheets weekly.  It didn’t always result in us getting them to the hamper every week, but at least I remember her threat.  Hmmm

I have heard the nightly news headlines about how gross hotel bedding can be, but never really thought much about it in terms of my own bedding because I assumed the problems that happen in hotels had a lot more to do with the large number of people staying there than anything else.  From what I’ve been learning, apparently I was very, very wrong.

sweatWhen we sleep most of us sweat, I know I do!  Think about the kinds of things that we leave behind on our sheets & pillow cases when we’ve been sweating, tossing and turning all night:

  • hair, skin cells, body oil, saliva, bodily fluids (if you aren’t wearing any clothing), lotions, deodorants, perfumes, hairspray, makeup, dirt, anything chemical you might have encountered during the day (especially if you didn’t shower before bed), etc.
  • pets in/on your bed are leaving behind much of the same plus traces of fecal matter (their own plus that of any other animals their faces, paws, and coats picked up from sidewalks, grass and other places they were during the day), urine, fur, dander, pollen, etc.  Hmmm

A very unscientific poll was conducted by a Colorado radio personality, just in his office, and his results were about what I’d expect to find if I conducted the same poll among a random group of people.  He shared that, ” It was funny to see their reactions as they looked at me and said, after giving me their answer, is that bad?  I found it funny how many people had similar looks on their faces and how one, who will remain unnamed, really had to think about the chore and when the last time it was done.”  For the record, I wash mine once a week.


Things that might cause me to wash them more frequently:

  • I am having frequent overnight visitors and my guest room is getting a lot of use;
  • A visiting child spills juice or some other icky stuff on the comforter;
  • Said visiting child has an unfortunate accident on the bed;
  • A pet (or 3) sleeping with us, comes in from the outside with muddy paws;
  • One of said pets has an unfortunate accident (grr!) on the bed;
  • It’s shedding season and I can’t keep up with the daily fur attack;
  • One or both of us has been sick, feverish and/or sweating at night;
  • Close your ears and eyes boys, “Aunt Flo” comes calling in the middle of the night; or
  • Action starts heating up more frequently in the bedroom. 😉

Otherwise, I generally stick to a weekly machine washing of the sheets, blanket & comforter, but, because I allow my labs and cat on the bed, I also maintain a pretty strict daily routine of:

  • Shaking and thoroughly pounding together of the decorative bed pillows, then using my Shark Pet Perfect II to suck out as much dust as possible;
  • Vacuuming the fitted and top sheets (I recommend the Shark Rocket Deluxe Pro);
  • Shaking off the comforter;
  • Brushing the comforter (The Evriholder Fur Remover is a GODSEND!) to remove as much remaining dog & cat hair, dander & dust as I can before also giving it a quick vacuum;
  • After all of that is done, and the bed has been remade, I then sweep the hardwood floors of the bedroom where I can reach, and run our Roomba at least once before mopping our hardwood floors to grab anything I might have missed.

Doing all of that generally keeps the fur, dust, and dander under control in our bedroom, as well as the rest of the house, and helps to keep my allergies and asthma from flaring up.  Speaking of “Dander,” did you know that dander is the primary food source for dust mites?  Oh wait, we haven’t talked about dust mites yet, have we?

Here’s a quick Dust Mite Primer:

  • House dust mites are microscopic bugs (Not Bed Bugs) that live primarily on dead skin cells that regularly shed from people and household pets;
  • Dust mites are generally harmless to most people;
  • Dust mites don’t carry diseases, but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their feces;  Um yeah, their poop.  When they eat our cast off skin they naturally poop it out, and that gets left behind in your sheets, on your pillow cases, on decorative throw pillows, blankets, and anything else that gathers fur, hair, dust and other environmental cast off in your house.  DISGUSTING!

In addition to dust mites, highlighted a couple of other gross things that can gather on your pillowcases if you don’t wash them frequently:

  1. Mold:  Most household pillows contain mold spores.  Mold exposure can cause a potentially fatal lung infection called chronic pulmonary aspergillosis;
  2. Bacteria:  Bacteria on your pillowcase can result from leaving it unwashed and can lead to…yep, ACNE!

The best way to avoid mold, bacteria and dust mites on your bed linens is to avoid spikes in humidity.  If you keep your room cool you will reduce the likelihood that you will sweat while you are sleeping.  Wash your face (and your entire body when you can) before you go to bed, to remove the bacteria and dead skin from your face and lessen the chances that you’ll be sleeping in the day’s accumulation of environmental contaminants, microscopic bacteria, along with a big build up of sloughed off skin cells, vacuum your mattress when you change your sheets every week, invest in good zippered pillow protectors to keep dust mites, mold and bacteria from getting into your pillows, and keep your room as dust free as possible by sweeping, vacuuming and dusting your bedroom every day or two.

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