How often should you wash your bedsheets during virus season?
Slipping between crisp, cool and clean sheets is one way to ensure a pleasant and peaceful night of rest. But did you know that in addition to promoting peaceful slumber, laundering your bed linens frequently is also important for your health?
Bed linens quickly become soiled with skin cells, sweat, makeup, lotions, hair products, pollen, pet dander, dirt, bacteria and viral particles. While many may be lax about changing bed linens on a regular basis, it’s important to maintain a regular routine of changing and laundering bedsheets. But it is even more important to do so during cold and flu season or at times when illness and virus are exceptionally prevalent.
So how often should you be laundering your bed linens so ensure that your sleep space is as clean and healthy as possible? The closer an item is to your skin, the more frequently it should be washed. That means that pajamas, sheets and pillow cases should be laundered most often. Occasional freshening of blankets, duvet covers, throw blankets and additional layers should happen on a regular basis, but these items do not need to be cleaned quite as often as items that are more exposed to your body, dirt, germs and contaminants.
General wisdom suggests that laundering bedsheets weekly is wise. Changing pillow cases up to two to three times a week can aid in skin health and provide a fresh sleep surface, which is especially important since your face is in close contact to these linens. Other bedding can be cleaned less frequently. Additional items like quilts, coverlets and mattress covers can be cleaned even less frequently than bed sheets, because they are not in direct contact with your body. During seasons when viruses and illness are prevalent, it is wise to wash your bed sheets more frequently. If someone in your home has been ill, change and launder all linens quite often – daily if necessary – to ensure a clean, fresh sleep space and minimize contamination.
Healthcare workers and other essential workers that may come in close contact with viruses should change out of work clothes immediately upon returning home and should not allow these soiled clothes to come into contact with any bedding or bed sheets, as this could cause germs to spread easily to others in the home. Consider depositing dirty items directly into the washing machine to avoid contaminating your laundry hamper. Bed linens are made from a variety of fabrics and care instructions may vary, but wash bed linens and all possibly-germ-ridden items on the hottest setting safe for the fabric of the item to ensure sanitization. Bed linens can be tumble dried or line dried in the sun both for freshness and germ reduction. Pay special attention to unique care instructions for delicate or unusual fabrics.
During normal times and especially during virus seasons, remember to clean your body, your clothing and your belongings any time you arrive home from work or errands in order to avoid cross contamination of other items in your home. Keeping your bed linens clean and fresh can aid in getting a good night’s sleep and can also keep you and your family healthy and germ free.
In order to make frequent bed linen laundering a little easier and more feasible, stock your linen closet with at least two sets of quality bed sheets and have extra pillow cases on hand. Doing so means that a bed linen change can happen quickly, even if you don’t have time to run load of laundry right away. Fresh-smelling and often-laundered sheets are not only an important part of the sleep experience. Keeping bedding crisp and germ-free is also an essential part of overall health and wellness.
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