Biologist’s Study Finds Pillowcases Often Carry More Bacteria Than Toilet Seats
There’s nothing like crawling between clean sheets at the end of a long day. But do you really know how clean your bed linens are? Even if you wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly, you may not be washing them nearly enough. Here’s why you should be washing your sheets more often, and how you can be sure you’re washing them thoroughly.
This is going to sound pretty gross, but bear with us. Dust mites are minuscule creatures that feed on dead skin and hair cells shed by humans. Their ideal feeding ground? Your bed. Many people think they have a dust allergy, but what that actually means is that they’re allergic to the feces produced by dust mites. I know what you’re thinking – yuck.
Dust mites love warm, humid environments. This is why your bed sheets (particularly after you’ve been sleeping there all night) are the perfect environment for dust mites. Some common symptoms of a dust mite allergy include itchy or watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, skin irritations, and feeling congested.
North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn conducted a study where he collected samples from various areas around participants’ homes. He took swabs from their toilets, beds, fridges, and couches. Scarily enough, the research found that the average pillowcase and toilet seat had about the same amount of bacteria. Dunn also found fecal contamination on both pillowcases and toilet seats.
Before you go throwing out your entire bed, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the presence of dust mites. When you wake up in the morning, don’t make your bed right away. By leaving the sheets thrown back, your linens will be able to dry out and cool down, deterring dust mites from coming to the area. You should also get in the practice of washing your bed linens at least once a week on a hot water cycle. You should also clean your mattress at least once a month using hydrogen peroxide or baking soda.
Now that you know these simple tips, you’ll be better equipped to keep dust mites out of your bed and your home!