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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I check out research into how often us Brits change our bed sheets, and what problems the experts at Bed Kingdom say can be caused by sleeping in dirty bedding.

Growing up, my ma was a staunch once a week washer with a set routine. Every Sunday, every bed was stripped, all bedding was washed, and clean sheets were put on. When I was put in charge of my own bedding, I got a bit lazier… I was a teenager so I beg forgiveness, but I was definitely not as strict with my need for clean sheets as my ma.

Now I’m the ma, and I have a houseful of little critters who depend on me to being the one in charge of keeping the clean and hygienic.

I’m not good at routines, in fact I rebel against them with everything I have in me, but I do try to make sure I keep on top of washing our sheets as regularly as possible. Partly because I have gross children that seem to use duvet covers as tissues as much as they do for sleeping in, and partly because I have some really lovely bedding that I like to use and it’s not fun if it stays packed away.

However, I won’t lie, it does sometimes go longer than a week if I’m busy or stressed or just forgetful. But does leaving it longer than a week every now and then actually pose a risk to your health?

To answer that question, the experts at Bed Kingdom sent over some research into how often we should be changing our bedsheets, and what can happen if we don’t do it frequently enough.

Chang Your Bedsheets

YouGov’s study found that only 30% of Brits wash their bedding at least once per week. Another 36% wash their bedsheets at least once every two weeks, while a startling 18% wait at least a month before doing so.

The Bed Kingdom experts explained that because we spend, on average, 56 hours a week laying in our beds, it is recommended that you wash your bedding at least once a week. Residue and microbes flourish in warm conditions like your bed, so unwashed bedsheets can add to some frightful wellbeing or skin issues.

However, the Bed Kingdom team has identified four common health conditions that can be triggered by dirty sheets. Washing your sheets more frequently might be a good idea if you have any of these conditions.

1. Skin inflammation

Dermatitis is a typical condition that makes the skin become irritated, dry and broke, and it tends to be entirely awkward for those experiencing the condition.

Eczema symptoms can get worse if bed sheets are dirty. When you rub your skin against dirty sheets, the fabric can irritate it. Dust and dead skin cells can build up in your sheets and irritate your skin, particularly if your bed is too warm and you sweat a lot. 

To get rid of any dirt that could irritate your skin, make sure to wash your bed sheets at least once a week.

2. Pneumonia

A chest infection known as pneumonia can make it difficult to breathe. Normal side effects incorporate hacking, feeling drained and powerless, perspiring, or shuddering all the more oftentimes.

Although a variety of bacteria can live in your bedsheets, Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria typically cause pneumonia. Pneumonia can also be brought on by a wide range of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae. The safest way to get rid of any bacteria that may be hiding between your sheets is to wash your bedsheets frequently.

Treatment is effective for most people with pneumonia. Even if you’re young and fit, you should still take it seriously because it can sometimes be life-threatening.

3. Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect most people at some point in their lives. It can be painful and common. Acne can also affect the back and chest, despite being more common on the face. 

While improper hygiene is not the cause of acne, dirty sheets and pillowcases may be partially to blame. Bacteria, embedded dirt, and dead skin can clog your pores. More bacteria can accumulate in your sheets the longer you wait to clean them, which can make acne on your body or face get worse. 

Acne breakouts may get better if you change your pillowcases every two to three days and the rest of your bedding once a week.

4. Asthma

A common lung condition that occasionally results in difficulty breathing is asthma. It can happen to people of any age, but it usually starts in early childhood, though adults can get it for the first time.

If you don’t clean your bedsheets on a regular basis, your asthma symptoms may get worse. Because they thrive in moist environments like a bed, dust mites and dust particles can live in bedding, mattresses, and pillowcases. 

People with asthma and those who are allergic to or sensitive to dust mites may benefit from limiting their home dust mite exposure. To alleviate your asthma symptoms, vacuum your bedroom on a regular basis and clean your bedding on a hot cycle. 


Reading about all the grim that can be living in our sheets make he feel the urge to dedicate myself to a laundry routine as stringent as my mother’s. That said, I know I rebel against even my own rules, let alone anybody else’s, so I’m not going to pretend that’s a plan I can live up to.

What I will say is the fear of what lives in our sheets making us ill definitely makes me want to fight any urge to be lazy and not change our sheets as often as I know I should.

How often do you change yours?

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