Tips&TricksWashing frequency of bedding and towels often underestimated, experts raise health concern

Washing frequency of bedding and towels often underestimated, experts raise health concern

Bedding and towels should be washed at different frequencies.
Bedding and towels should be washed at different frequencies.
Images source: © Getty Images | Ekaterina Goncharova

4:46 PM EST, January 26, 2024

Surprisingly, many may not be aware that bedding and everyday towels are among the items with the highest bacteria count. Moisture contributes significantly to the growth of different microorganisms on these items. It's important to note that our beds are teeming with harmful bacteria. Experts suggest that every third bacterium present in the bedding originates from our bodies. Some can even result in serious health problems. Given that people generally spend a significant amount of time in bed, maintaining bed hygiene is crucial for a safe and comfortable sleep.

Experts Have Different Opinions on the Matter

While it might seem like a minor issue, the topic of washing is pivotal for our health. However, it appears that international researchers hold different views concerning the optimal frequency for washing bedding and towels.

Professor Rietie Venter, from the Clinical and Health Sciences department at an Australian university, recently published her research findings on The Conversation. The researcher suggests that bedding and towels shouldn't be lumped into one group. According to Professor Venter, these items are used differently, implying different washing frequencies. She recommends washing bed sheets around every one/two weeks. In regard to towels, Professor Venter advises they be washed every few days.

Consideration should also be given to how often towels are used and one's hygiene practices before bed. For instance, if you don't maintain good hygiene or don't shower before bed, it's recommended that your bedding be washed at least once a week. The same applies to towels. If they are used daily, they should ideally be washed every three days.

Effective Methods for Washing Bedding and Towels

Something worth noting is you should not leave your items in the washer for too long after washing. Be sure to hang out your bedding and towels as soon as possible after washing. This is particularly crucial for towels, given they often take on an unpleasant odor from the washing machine if left for too long. Likewise, leaving your items in the washing machine for an extended period, even after they've been washed, can result in new bacteria forming. Experts generally recommend washing at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if energy conservation is a concern, consider washing at a lower temperature and adding a cup of vinegar to the wash.

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