New Research Reveals That Bed Sheets and Pillows May Be Dirtier Than Most People Think

There is no concrete rule regarding when to wash bed sheets, but scientists are now claiming that bedding may need to be cleaned much more often than most people think.
Tech Insider recently spoke to Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine. He gave them some insight into the germs and debris that are lurking in every set of bed sheets at any given moment.
“You have spores of fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, finishing agents of whatever the sheets are made from, coloring material, all sorts of excrements from the body including sweat, sputum, vaginal, and anal excretions, urine milieu, and skin cells,” said Tierno.
While most of these germs are naturally occurring, Tierno also pointed out a few other ways that people tend to accidentally infest their beds with contaminants.
“…There are cosmetics that people use — they put oils and creams on their body, all of that is in that milieu, including food by the way, people eat in the bed. That of course provides a nice environment for these organisms,” said Tierno.
Tierno added that bed sheets “should be washed probably on the average of once a week,” but some bed owners wait much longer to wash their sheets because they’re afraid the bedding won’t last as long that way.
To combat this early wear and tear, most bedding experts recommend linen sheets. Organic linen stands up to constant washing better than cotton or other materials, allowing bed owners to keep their sheets clean without needing to buy new ones.
Tech Insider also performed a survey of 523 adults to find out how often they wash their bed sheets, and the results were surprising. They claim that 46% of respondents wash their sheets at least once a week.
In a similar survey, The Mirror, an English publication, found that the average adult in the UK only washes their bed sheets once every two weeks. Even worse, about 45% of respondents in that same survey said they have never even washed their pillows or duvets.
While the stark contrast between these two surveys could be indicative of cultural differences between the UK and the U.S., there’s also a good chance that some Americans fudged their responses to sound more clean than they actually are.

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