How frequently should you wash your bed sheets? More often than you think – CNN

The combination of sweat, saliva, dandruff, dead skin cells and even food particles make it the optimal environment for a whole host of germs such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and even tiny bugs to grow.

Here are just a few of the things that lurk beneath our covers.

Our beds can play a host to a vast variety of bacterial species.

Beds can attract bugs

Washing and drying bed linens on a high temperature (around 55) will kill dust mites, but bedbugs may need to be professionally exterminated.

Household germs

You can also bring germs to your bed from contaminated household items -- such as clothing, towels, the toilet or bath, kitchen surfaces, or even pets.

Bed hygiene

Proper and regular washing are all key to ensuring germs don't develop into a genuine health threat. But how often should you change your bed linen?

Since we can't wash our sheets every day, one thing you can do daily is air your sheet every morning. Since moisture builds up in them while we're sleeping, pulling the duvet back so the bed sheets can breathe before making the bed means your sheets and mattress become a less attractive nesting spot for bacteria and mites.

It's recommended that you wash your bedding every week (or more often if possible) -- especially if you spend a lot of time in bed, sleep in the nude, or sweat a lot at night. It's also recommended pillowcases are changed every two to three days.

All bed linens should be washed in warm to high temperatures (around 40-60) in order to effectively kill germs. Avoid overloading laundry machines and use enough soap, and make sure bed linens are completely dried before using.

Showering before bed, avoiding taking naps or getting into bed while sweaty, removing makeup and avoiding lotions, creams, and oils right before bed can all help keep linen cleaner between washes. Not eating or drinking in bed, keeping pets off your sheets, and removing dirty socks will also help.

Manal Mohammed is a lecturer of medical microbiology at the University of Westminster.

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How frequently should you wash your bed sheets? More often than you think - CNN

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