Being a parent means rarely, if ever, getting to take time for yourself. There are many daily, weekly, monthly tasks that are etched into our brains. Then, there are some that completely escape us. Finding time to change your sheets is the latter for me. I know, I know – that’s pretty heinous of me not only sleeping on old sheets myself, but letting my son do it too.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I don’t go months at a time without changing them, but it’s often 3-4 weeks before I even think to do it. I get so caught up in sorting through the obvious clutter that accumulates daily that I don’t think of the “unseen”. I do laundry when the basket is full, dishes when they’re in the sink (or after I’ve went room to room gathering them – by the way I found a fork in the bathroom; I don’t want to know!
This morning while I was stripping the beds, I started thinking about the importance of changing sheets, and the adverse side effects of not. I went online to do some research and what I found was pretty gross. I’m trying to force my brain to schedule washing and changing all of our bedding more regularly.
I’m Molting, I’m Molting
Well, not as severe as that, but similar. As we lie sleeping in our beds, our skin cells are shedding like there’s no tomorrow. As it turns out, these skin cells are a delicacy for icky little bugs called dust mites’.
Dust mites’ are one of the leading causes of allergies and asthma in the home. Not only do they cause scary breathing problems, but they’re pooping in your bed weighing down your mattress and pillows – grossed out yet? I know I am. Ready to change your sheets yet?!
How Long is Too Long not to change your sheets?
Okay, so how often should you really change your sheets? This is a highly controversial subject, and everyone seems to have their own preference. So let’s get a little technical. The average life cycle for a male house dust mite is 10 to 19 days. The female dust mite can live up to 70 days if she’s mated, and in her last 5 weeks of life can lay up to 100 eggs. In 10 weeks dust mites’ share about 2,000 particles of poo and even more partially digested dust particles (i.e. your skin) which is the key cause of allergies and asthma. This information tells you what you should already know, not changing your bedspreads and sheets more than monthly is not only gross, but hazardous as well.
What to do About it
If knowing you and your family are sleeping in a pile of poop nightly doesn’t encourage you to change your sheets more often (the “safe” number seems to be between 1 and 2 weeks – obviously more often if severe asthma or allergies occur, or in cases of bedwetting), then there are a few things you can do.
- You can make sticky notes, or annotations to your To-Do list to remind you when you need to change the sheets.
- You can use post-its on your dresser and/or walls to remind you when you last changed the bedding.
- My personal favorite: you can buy new bedding and change it out often. For starters, try some gorgeous palm tree comforters (these match my bathroom!!!) or fun tie dye comforters (great for kids!)
Whichever method you choose to change your sheets, choose one that will help you remember to change your bedding at least every 2 weeks to better protect your family. Also, be sure you’re washing your bedding in warm to hot water to get rid of the poo and kill the mites and their eggs (1 hour at over 60 °C (140 °F) or freezing kills most of them; 10 minutes in the dryers kills them all!)
So, I really want to know – how often do you change your sheets, and will you be changing them more or less often now?