If You're Not Washing Your Sheets, You're Basically Rolling Around In Filth

by Emily Arata

You gross me out. Truthfully, I also gross myself out.

As humans, we're basically a walking amalgamation of microbes, dead skin, hair and various goopy substances we've smeared all over our skins in an attempt to look presentable. Then, we come home from work and roll around (mostly naked) on a linen-covered bed for up to 10 hours in a single stretch.

Have you ever spent five or six hours on your couch, binge-watching a Netflix show? Imagine that feeling of disgust, but doubled.

It should come as no surprise, then, that not regularly washing your bedsheets and duvet is a health risk. When you haven't thrown your top sheet in the washer for two weeks or more, skin cells and dust mites are the least of your worries. This is especially alarming since a recent mattress company poll revealed more than half of men between the ages of 18 and 25 launder their sheets once every three months. (Insert dry-heaving here.)

During a 2015 interview, Philip Tierno, a New York University pathologist and microbiologist, told Tech Insider,

You have [...] all sorts of excrements from the body including sweat, sputum, vaginal, and anal excretions, urine milieu, skin cells...

Just what we like to hear: both feces and urine in close proximity to our pillows.

In a recent advice column from VICE, Tierno adds a staph infection might also be in order, not to mention a collection of potential allergens. He recommends purchasing mattress and pillow protectors, saying,

Even if you wash weekly, you still have buildup in the core of your mattress and pillows.

So, that's gross. But, on the positive side, creative and enterprising brains are already dreaming up a safer way to sleep. Labels like the Kickstarter-funded brand Silvon use natural materials (in this case, silver) as antibacterial guards.

In the meantime, change your damn sheets. Do it for all of us.