You're Probably Not Washing Your Sheets Nearly As Often As You Should Be

by Imani Brammer

I'm not calling you a dirty person or anything, but I'm willing to bet you're not changing your sheets regularly enough. Here's the thing: There's one reason why you absolutely need to change your sheets regularly: Your skin sheds -- yes, like a reptile. Not exactly in that manner, but I'm sure you're picking up what I'm putting down here. So, when you think about how often should you change your bed sheets, consider the fact that, when your skin sheds, it makes that comfy, cozy bed you're sleeping in slowly transform into a grime-infested pocket of filth. A little dramatic, yes, but it's sort of true.

Seriously, after just one night of sleeping soundly in your bed, your sheets can potentially accumulate a pretty disgusting amount of dead skin, bacteria, fungus, mites, and even feces. If that's not enough to gross you out, then get this: We spend more than a third of our lives in bed. Anyone else suddenly feel like the laziest human on earth?

Well, spending a third of your life in bed isn't actually lazy -- that's just science blowing your mind. But I will call you lazy if you can't remember the last time you changed your sheets.

Having said that, you need to change your sheets on a weekly basis, at minimum, two weeks at maximum.

Waiting longer than two weeks could spell a whole lot of gross trouble for you and your body.

The thing is, your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it's constantly regenerating. Therefore, it has a lot of shedding to do. When your skin sheds, new cells won't appear until approximately one month later, meaning your skin today will be completely different from the skin you have in just a few weeks' time.

To give you a bit of context here, research has estimated that, of the 1.6 trillion skin cells we have as humans, somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 will be shed every single hour.

So this means, each time you lay in your bed, you're depositing more dead skin, in addition to any dirt, sweat, or grease that may have also built up on your skin throughout the day.

And don't forget that cosmetic residue if you forget to take your makeup off before bed; that also adds to the overall dirt build-up. The Daily Mail reports that each of those elements carries individual bacteria and dirt, like E. coli. I'm cringing.

According to Business Insider, the human body produces somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 gallons of sweat when laying in bed every single year (ahem, gross). Now, imagine it's summertime, when even your sweat is sweating. All of that moisture combines to form something scientists call an "ideal fungal culture medium" -- aka a prime environment to breed gross diseases in your body.

So, the question is, do you still want to go about not changing your sheets for an entire month, swimming in your own pool of self-created bacteria? Do what you want, but if you don't wash your sheets regularly, you may be at risk for some gross bodily harm, spanning from the not-so-serious yeast infection all the way to a slightly-more-serious case of pneumonia.

Start saving up those quarters for the laundromat, guys.