As more and more medical treatments are developed to prevent or cure infections, it is clear that the general public are becoming less attentive to cleanliness, particularly in the home or domestic environments.
Many tend to assume that their homes provide a safety net away from the infections and diseases from the outside world, when in fact, germs can make their way into clothes, furniture and flooring, having been brought in by those living there.
Beds can become a hotspot for germs through contact with the human body, and bed linen and mattresses can become very dirty, very quickly. There are a number of simple ways in which we can keep our beds clean and germ free. However a recent study from YouGov discovered that much of the British public are failing to keep their beds as clean as they should be.
What should you be doing and how often should you be doing it, to keep your bed clean and yourself healthy whilst you sleep?
Britons and their beds
When we sleep, our bodies can pass skin, sweat, saliva and oils into our bed sheets and through to our mattresses. In some cases, urine and faeces, or bacteria from wounds, can be added to the multitude of matter found in our beds.
Yet the recent research conducted by YouGov found that the majority of the British public are failing to keep on top of their bed’s cleanliness:
Just 33% wash their bed sheets once a week
35% was their bed sheets every two weeks
29% leave their bed sheets at least 2 weeks before washing them
3% wash their beds sheets more than once a week
The majority of those who leave their bedding as long as possible before washing, were aged between 18-24 years old, whereas the majority of those who wash their bedding once a week were over the age of 60.
It’s crucial to understand how easily bed sheets can become dirty when you sleep, riddled with bacteria and germs. Not only that, but even insufficient cleaning can cause bacteria to linger and grow, disguised in what you think are fresh and clean bed sheets.
Here are a few ways in which to successfully clean your bed linen and mattresses, so you can be rest assured that you can enjoy a comfortable and healthy night’s sleep.
Washing bed sheets
Strip your bed of any pillowcases and bedsheets, as well as any pillow or mattress protectors you have. Wash in the washing machine on at least 60°C, preferably with a bleach-based washing detergent. The heat and bleach combination will help to kill off any bacteria.
Make sure you are at home for when the cycle has finished, to prevent the linen from sitting damp in the drum, where germs can begin to multiply again. If you are drying the linen in a tumble dryer, switch your setting to a high heat and ensure they are thoroughly dry before taking them out.
Top Tip: Allow your bed sheets to dry naturally with direct sunlight, as the UV rays can help to kill micro-organisms.
Try to wash your linen once a week, separately from your other laundry. Be sure to put your washing machine through an empty cycle every week too, using the same bleach-based detergent and a high heat to kill germs left in the drum.
Always wash your hands after handling dirty bedsheets, to make sure that the bacteria isn’t passed on to other parts of the home.
Even if your bed sheets are crease-free, iron them on a gentle setting to remove any germs or bacteria that have made it through the process so far.
Washing your mattress
Whilst washing your bed sheets, you can clean your mattress to really optimise the cleanliness of your bed. Begin by vacuuming the mattress on its top and sides, then flip over and repeat on the other side. Make sure to pay extra attention to any nooks and crannies on your mattress, where dust and bacteria like to gather.
Top Tip: Treat any stains on your mattress with a cleaner and follow on with a quick wipe of the entire mattress, using a surface care wipe.
Baking soda sprinkled across the surface of your mattress can help to optimise its cleanliness and leave it smelling fresh. If you can, allow 24 hours for the baking soda to work its magic; any available sunlight will help to sanitise the mattress further. Remove the baking soda using a hoover and finish by adding your mattress protector, bed sheets and pillowcases back to your bed.
Taking these steps to cleaning your bed can not only give you a peaceful night’s sleep, but can help towards a cleaner home entirely. By ensuring your home is as clean and hygienic as possible, you can keep your family as healthy as possible, and help to prevent the likelihood of infections and diseases being spread into the outside world.