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5 Serious Health Risks Not Washing Your Sheets Brings

5 Serious Health Risks Not Washing Your Sheets Brings

Our beds are undoubtedly one of the favorite parts of our homes. The comfort of resting your head at the end of a long day is unparalleled. So is the luxury of not getting out of your bed all weekend! For all that our beds and bed sheets endure, keeping them clean tends to be at the end of our task list.

While not changing your bedsheets, even with a few stains, may seem harmless, it is anything but that. If your bedsheet is unwashed for over two weeks, you have already invited several health hazards into your bedroom.

This article will go over the risks of not washing your sheets and how you can protect your bedroom space. We will also cover the importance of investing in simple protective items like a mattress protectorwaterproof mattress padzippered pillow protector, and zippered duvet cover.

Bargoose mattress protectors are found in luxury hotels across the Earth

Why you should wash your bedsheets, pillow covers, and duvet regularly

The amount of contaminants our bedsheets, pillow covers, and duvets absorb isdifficult to comprehend until you break it down. Before we delve into the hazards that soiled sheets can expose you to, let’s talk about what causes these hazards in the first place.

  • Bedding soaks up your bodily fluids

Your bed linen comes in direct contact with the bodies of those who lay on it — children, adults, the elderly, and pets. 

Bedsheets, pillow covers, and duvets can soak up bodily fluids like sweat, urine and overnight emissions. .

When these fluids get absorbed into your sheets, they can cause the breeding of a variety of bacteria and germs that can severely harm the sleepers.

  • Food and drinks spill on bedding frequently

A new survey has found that 35% of people admit to eating in bed.  Stemming from the need to relax, tiredness or simple enjoyment, beds have become a staple eating place for many households.  

So, what’s the big issue then?  The science behind sleep says so!

Food and drink spillage will not only leave stains on your bed linen but also invite a host of germs, bacteria, and even insects into your sleeping space. In addition, eating in bed also leaves your sanctuary sleep space open to hungry pests including ants and roaches.

Compounded with not washing your sheets on a regular basis, even from the most careful bedroom eaters, can lead to a whole host of unwanted issues, including unwelcomed visitors and interrupted sleep.


  • Germs from our pets’ bodies accumulate on your bed sheets
  • We know pet lovers! We also know it takes an iron will to limit your pet from coming into bed for a cuddle. And, if you’re like us, your pet may eventually end up in your bed regardless of the rules leaving behind dirt, hair and dander. 

    However, it is no secret that our beloved pets,  can be a repository of dust, dirt, and germs. Unfortunately, the bacteria carried by our furry, scaly or shelled friends can find your way onto your bedsheets, pillow covers, and duvets, if given the opportunity.

    While bodily fluids, food, and pets are some of the major reasons behind dirt and germ building in your sheets, , there are plenty of other reasons why you should be washing them regularly. Whether it is dirty feet, dead skin, or pollen/other allergens from an open window, your sheets continue to collect containments until they are properly washed.  

Health Hazards When You Don’t Wash Your Sheets Regularly

Machine Washing Sheets

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

When your sheets are unclean, they can invite a variety of unwanted visitors into your bedroom, sheets, and mattress, including:  .

  1. Dust mites
  2. Fungi
  3. Bacteria
  4. Mold
  5. Bed bugs

These well-known and well-studied contaminants have been known to lead to health-related issues, putting you and your familyat risk. The following are the most significant risks you should know about —

  • Unhealthy Skin and Breakouts

Your skin is the part of your body that comes in direct contact with your bedsheets, pillow covers, and duvets every night. The dangers hiding in the fibers will therefore impact your skin first.

Bacteria, dust mites, bed bugs are all responsible for affecting the health of your family’s skin. Bacteria on your linen can cause breakouts, whiteheads, skin inflammation, and intense itching. They can also cause skin problems like acne or eczema or exacerbate existing conditions.

Coupled with the stress of a bedbug infestation, bites from bedbugs and breakouts can leave scars while also being painful.

  • Fungal and Bacterial Infections

Another hazard to the skin when sleeping on dirty sheets is the risk of contracting fungal and bacterial infections.

study by Amerisleep revealed that sheets that have not been washed for one week have 24,631 more bacteria than bathroom doorknobs.

From ringworms to onychomycosis (skin lesions, crumbling toenails) and even pneumonia, your family and guests can contract many fungal and bacterial infections from sleeping on unwashed sheets.

These infections can lead to rashes and severe itching and even leave scars. 

  • Allergies and Breathing Problems
  • Breathing problems caused by unhygienic sleeping conditions impact one’s life in general and can be a severe impairment to live with.

    Studies show that dust mites are the primary cause of respiratory allergies.

    Sleeping on sheets that have not been washed for extended periods of time can trigger asthma or make existing allergies worse. Children sleeping in such environments can also be at risk of activating allergies and breathing problems previously unsurfaced.

  • Stress and Paranoia
  • Along with affecting your physical health, unclean sheets, pillow covers, and duvets can also impact your psychological and mental health.

    Uncomfortable sleeping environments, especially one with bedbugs, can cause significant stress, irritability, and even paranoia.

    These issues can further lead to inattentiveness at school or work, frequent emotional outbursts, and burnout.

  • Insomnia and Sleeping Disorders
  • When sleep is interrupted consistently, either by bedbugs or general uneasiness, it can affect the body’s sleep cycle. Irregular sleep brings stress and can lead to long-term issues that impact one’s mind and body.

    Studies show that insomnia and other sleeping disorders can be caused by mold, bacteria, and even bedbugs that uncleaned sheets harbor.

    Use this Simple Two-Part Process to Create a Safe Sleeping Space for Your Family and Guests

Laundry Basket

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Now that we have identified the root causes behind an unhygienic sleeping environment and the potential problems they can bring, let’s understand how we can tackle these efficiently so you and your loved ones can sleep in a safe, healthy bed.

The good news is, though the problem is complex and severe, the solutions are relatively simple. We have broken down the process to ensure a clean bed into two parts: prevention and protection. Both of these are essential for the best results.

Part 1: Prevention - Cleaning and Maintaining your Bed Linen Well

The goal of ‘prevention’ is to have your bed linen clean at all times. This includes preventing contamination and cleaning them thoroughly to get rid of dust and germs.

How Often Should You Wash Sheets?

  • If one of the following applies to you, you should wash your sheets once a week.
  • Your pet sleeps in your bed with you
  • You sleep in your bed naked
  • You eat meals in your bed frequently
  • You tend to sleep with makeup or heavy skincare on
  • You sweat a lot through the night
  • If the above does not apply to you, you can consider washing your sheets once in ten days.
  • If your bed is not used frequently, consider washing your sheets once in two weeks.

It is ideal to have at least two pairs of bed sheets, pillow covers, and duvets so you can swap them, as needed.

Lab Tested and Certified

How to Wash your Bedsheets, Pillow Covers, Duvets

We suggest two ways to wash your bed linen. Alternating these washing methods will ensure your sheets are always clean while keeping the load light on you.

  • Simple Machine Wash
For a simple machine wash, you can throw your sheets into the washer as normal. Opt for hot water and a heavy-duty cycle for a good intense clean. Please make sure to review your products washing instructions.  If you cannot wash on hot water, consider a laundry additive such DeMite.
  • Thorough Deep Clean

Fill a bucket with hot water. To this, add either baking soda and vinegar or a detergent of your choice. Soak your bedsheet, pillow cover, and duvet in this mixture for 20 minutes.

Once soaked well, the linen can be put in the washing machine for a heavy-duty wash cycle with hot water or per your product’s washing instructions and a preferred laundry additive.

This deep clean will help you get rid of any lingering germs and bacteria.

Part 2: Protection - Securing your Mattresses and Pillows from Damage

Pillows on bed

Photo by Nik Lanús on Unsplash

When we speak of how much dirty sheets and pillow covers can affect our health, we are literally and figuratively just touching the surface.

The extent of damage goes way beyond the thin layers of fabric, right into our mattresses and pillow. Keeping these protected and clean is just as important as cleaning bed covers.

You must be thinking we are asking for too much when we stress the need to maintain a clean mattress and pillow covers. But in truth, achieving this is not as difficult anymore, with our favorite Bargoose products listed below.

Using protectors for your mattress, pillow covers, and duvets can:

  • Offer protection from germs, bacteria, allergens, and bedbugs.
  • Make cleaning easier.
  • Protect your furnishings from water, food, drinks, sweat, and other contamination.
  • Extend the life of your products.

Here are some products we suggest you should use.

Bargoose Mattress Protectors & Bed Covers

Bargoose Zippered Pillow Protectors

Bargoose Waterproof Mattress Pads

Bargoose Zippered Duvet Covers

Maintaining a clean bed goes beyond making the bed every morning. The risks that having an unhygienic bed poses to your health are real.

Make cleaning your bedsheets, pillow cover, and duvets a regular a part of your routine. Also, consider adding an extra layer of protection with mattress protectors, pillow protectors, mattress pads, and duvet covers from a trusted brand like Bargoose.

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Diamond Bedding - January 9, 2024

I really appreciate your efforts put into this blog post. Thank you for sharing useful tips with us. Keep sharing…

Bargoose Home Textiles - October 3, 2023

Hi Gina,
When washing bedding in cold water we recommend adding DeMite Laundry Additive available from AllergyStore.
Please let us know if you need any other help!

Gina Cosgrove - October 3, 2023

My bed linen say to wash in cold water. Is it okay to wash in hot?

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