It’s no secret that the past few years have shed a light on the importance of good health and hygiene practices. This not only includes behaviors such as washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes, but also careful cleaning and maintenance of everyday household items.
Studies have revealed that humans on average spend over a third of their day in the bedroom, so what better household item to investigate when it comes to hygiene than bedding?
How are we doing?
Short answer: not great. We simply are not washing our sheets frequently enough or otherwise taking additional precautions to ensure that our bedding is hygienically clean.
A survey conducted in Philadelphia indicated that on average we are only washing our bed sheets 1-2 times per month. In fact, 11% of respondents wash their sheets just quarterly, while 5% wash them only once or twice per year! A recent survey referenced on WebMD corroborated this survey, stating Americans typically go 25 days between washes.
Consensus suggests a wash frequency of at least weekly and replacement of bedding every couple of years.
Why do we need to do better?
If you are familiar with Applied Silver and what we do, you know that soft surfaces (e.g., bedding) are fomites, meaning they can become contaminated and spread harmful microbes.
The fact is that humans are constantly shedding germs, with over 200,000,000 skin cells shed every hour. This rate of shedding, coupled with the high percentage of time spent in the bedroom, leads to bedding becoming a reservoir of contamination. Dr. Deborah Lee from the UK’s Dr Fox notes in the Courier Evening Telegraph, “A warm bed containing dust mites, shed skin, other body debris, and faecal contamination, provide a welcome environment for bacteria and viruses to grow and reproduce.”
And, since our clothes are similarly collecting germs throughout the day, every time we come home and jump into bed with our clothes on, we are making matters worse by furthering the contamination on our bedding.
What else can we do?
In addition to washing bedding more frequently and jumping into bed fresh and clean, there are a few other practices that can help improve hygiene.
Don’t forget to launder your pyjamas. Often worn multiple times between washes, pyjamas can become contaminated and spread to your bedding. Also, let your sheets breathe – waking up and opening the covers gives the bedding a chance to dry and become less attractive to harmful microbes.
And, of course, learn about ionic silver and other technologies that continuously protect soft surfaces from contamination and contribute to a cleaner and more hygienic environment.