Wash your bed sheets once a week to avoid dirt and health risks: OECD

A new OECD report sheds light on the importance of washing bedding regularly. It claims that a bed sheet accumulates five million microbes in just one week. And not washing sheets seems to be linked to various health problems, such as allergies, asthma, and even appendicitis. We spoke to doctors and nurses to get the lowdown on taking care of bedding.

We asked these folk on the street how often they change their bed sheets. A study from the OECD says that we enjoy an average of 26 years of good sleep over a lifetime. That means we spend one third of our lives asleep. And doctors say not changing sheets often enough can cause health problems.

Tseng Teh-ming
Taiwan Adventist Hospital
Normally our skin has more than 5,000 different types of microbes on it. If the sheet isn’t very clean, we can get respiratory tract diseases, such as allergies, allergic rhinitis, asthmas and so on.

International research indicates that five million microbes will be living on a bed sheet after one week’s use. That’s 24,000 times more microbes than you’ll find on your bathroom door handle! Not washing bedding enough has also been found to correlate with potentially fatal diseases like pneumonia and appendicitis, and to large number of microbes proliferating. Experts say bed sheets should be changed at least once a week.

Tan Tun-tzu
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
Only get into bed after you shower. If you keep the humidity of the room at around 50%, dust mites won’t proliferate as much.

They also advise not to dry your blanket out in the sun. Microparticles in the atmosphere will attach to your bedding, and get it dirtier than it was before. Blankets made of synthetic materials, which are easy to wash, are recommended.
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