You Probably Don't Wash Your Sheets Nearly Enough After Having Sex

by Jamie Kravitz

When it comes to doing laundry, I often let my hamper get close to overflowing before I put my clothes in the wash. I know what you're thinking. Yes, I do live on the edge. I also know that it's important to wash your bedding regularly, because of shedding skin cells and all that. I mean, if anything was going to convince me to wash my sheets more often, it would be some kind of gross statistic. (Notice the subtle foreshadowing here? Yeah, keep reading.) So, how often should you wash your sheets after sex? I've done you a solid by figuring it out.

If you're trying to guess how often you should wash your sheets while having sex regularly, here's a hint: It's most likely more often than you do now. You should probably only keep reading if you're ready to commit to a regular laundry schedule. Or if you're into hygiene, I guess. Then again, you could also just buy a bunch of new sheet sets.

Because here's the thing — there are health concerns associated with not washing your sheets after having sex. A recent study conducted by Mattress Advisor asked more than 1,000 people about their bedroom hygiene, and the results don't reflect well on men. Here's what the experts have to say.

Apparently you spend about a third of your life in bed. And that's if you have relatively typical sleep habits — so if you love to nap or watch Netflix in bed or have daytime sex marathons, it could be more. Don't crawl under the covers just yet, though, because they're probably not clean. In its study, Mattress Advisor found that the average number of days Americans go without washing their sheets is 24.4. Broken down by gender, men tend to go longer (29.6 days), while women average 19.4 days before changing their sheets.

These numbers change when sex comes into play. Women change their sheets more often, but "men are more likely to do so when they sense they’ll be sharing their beds with someone else." Essentially if they think they're going to get lucky, they might just clean their bedding before going out. After actually having sex, though, men wait an average of 11.7 days before changing their sheets, while women wait just 4.3 days (which still seems long, if you ask me). In the end we're all kind of hypocrites, though, because more than half of men and women surveyed said it was gross not to change your sheets immediately after a one-night stand.

Where do experts fall on this issue? The general consensus is that you should be washing your sheets at least once a week. "No matter if you are having sex or not, your body generates a lot of skin cells, odors, and fluids while in bed," says Lily Cameron, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Services. "Changing the sheets once a week is a pretty common rule, though the more time and energy you spend in bed, the more often your sheets should be washed. Some people happen to be more allergic than others, so a more frequent washing is a must."

It's easy to get lazy when it comes to laundry, but do you really want to play around with your personal hygiene? Think of it this way: Sometimes you go a night without washing your face, but you don't want to make it a habit. So if you think you're going to be using your bed for more than just sleeping, take the time to launder those sheets. And if all goes well, please wash them after, too.

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