Tips On Cleaning Bed Sheets
This is a valid question because unclean sheets are the cause of a multitude of health problems and are all too often overlooked. Due to the size of bed sheets, it may not always be a pleasant prospect to have to regularly wash them. Here are some insights as to how and why regular washing is hugely beneficial.
The general consensus is that weekly washing of bed sheets is best. This is especially important if you are susceptible pollen or dust allergies, or if you’re fairly sweaty by nature, if you allow pets in the bedroom, or if you or your partner are ill or have been ill recently. It’s the hidden things, invisible to the eye, which is most likely to alarm you. Warning: don’t read on if you’re reading this over breakfast or lunch!
2. Public Enemy No. 1
In a word, the humble ‘dust mite’. Forget dead skin cells, grime, grease, and other body oils, which are bad enough; the dust mite is the number one thing you’ll want to get rid of. This 8-legged critter actually feeds on dead skin cells; yours, that is. An average mattress could be harboring anywhere from 100,000 to 10,000,000 of them. They’re partying hard at your expense, munching on skin cells then excreting the waste on to your sheets. Ugh! A pillow that’s been around for a few years is likely to be harboring 10% of its weight in the fecal matter and carcasses of dust mites. How’s that for disgusting! They are considered as allergens which can both cause and exacerbate ailments like asthma, eczema, hay fever, etc.
3. What To Do?
The best thing is to wash your bedding weekly, on your washing machine’s hottest setting possible. This may require you to ignore some of the advice on the care labels which advise a cooler temperature. The best way to eliminate the filthy dust mite and its associated pathogens are via extremely hot water. If you want to minimize damage to sheets, try the dryer instead, or if it’s a hot enough day hang them up outside, sunlight being a natural destroyer of microbes, an enemy of dust mites. Ironing could also do the trick.
Pillows (inside the pillow covers) and blankets are also worth washing, though not as often; once every two or three months should do. Again, the higher the heat the better – with pillows it’s worth having them properly laundered; there will be a lot of dust mite debris embedded in them. It can also extend their lifespan and keep them plumped up.
As well as washing your sheets once per week it’s useful to have a second set of them ready, so you don’t have to worry about getting it done immediately. In terms of replacing them with newly purchased cotton sheets, this may be a good investment. Cotton provides fantastic quality, the most costly and sought-after cotton sheets being a hundred percent Egyptian; apparently it contains extra-long-staple fibers which result in long-lasting sheets, durable for many years. Linen is even better for hotter climates because it will last even longer than cotton; decades in some cases. They are even less likely to disintegrate over time and are extremely durable and washable. This is because of its cellulose fibers – a bit longer and more tightly wrapped that cotton fibers; on the flipside cotton feels softer because its fibers are not as coarse as linen’s flax fibers.
5. What About Mattresses?
Mattresses can also sag and deteriorate over the years. There are probably about 30% of people who are sleeping on sub-standard mattresses. Yes, they should be replaced after several years’ use; a mattress topper which is washable is also a great investment because it can be washed, thus eliminating any stray germs and allergens which have accumulated over the months and years. Toppers are great for firming up your mattress and providing extra support for those with a variety of back ailments. They’re also ideal for the thorny issue of children wetting the bed. Rather than having to fuss around with plastic sheeting under the main bed sheets, or be scrubbing and washing the mattress with all manner of detergents, the mattress topper can be machine washed.
Toppers which are composed mainly of down or feather can simply be tossed in the washing machine, using a lesser amount of laundry detergent and a delicate cycle. Toppers which are made from memory foam will require a more traditional approach; baking soda and cold water mixed in a 1:2 ratio, then manual scrubbing. However, the good news is that you can simply hang it outside to dry, unlike with the mattress per se. Whatever you end up doing, though, the recommended advice is to do all in your power to rid your sheets and toppers from those dreaded dust mites. They’re bad news!