According to the Bureau of Labor Stats, you’re spending more than a third of your day in bed. To us, that sounds like it might even be an underestimation. In this, The Age of Streaming, it doesn’t take much searching on Twitter or Facebook to see thousands of students across the country declaring their intention to spend the weekend in bed bingeing on a new Netflix series.
It stands to reason that more time in bed should mean more time spent washing bed sheets. But we seriously doubt students, of all people, are spending any more time in 2016 washing bed sheets than they did in 2000.
Bed sheets are often left behind on laundry day. If bed sheets were in a military movie, there’d be a tearful eulogy delivered about how they didn’t make it on laundry day. They were the good man that got left behind because hampers are only so big, and we can only stand so many trips to the laundry room.
The rest of your clothes provide a sense of relief on laundry day. When you can empty your hamper, get everything washed, dried, folded or hung and logic and order restored to your clothing rotation, that’s a great feeling. But bed sheets? They’re easy to forget, even though they’re putting in more work than even your most worn outfit.
Bed sheets are there for you every night, absorbing your body’s oils, skin cells, dirt, sweat and anything else you emit. Sure, a layer of clothing usually – usually – separates you from your sheets, but over the course of six to eight hours every night, they still get quite familiar with you.
So how often should you wash your sheets?
A good rule of thumb is never to let any of your household chores sit unattended to for more than two weeks. And that includes washing your sheets.
As a college student, you may be accustomed to living in a certain amount of filth. We assume your coffee table does not remain pristinely dusted and Windexed at all times. Your floor could probably use a Swiffering, and there may be a few dishes in your sink too. You’re busy with school and work and socializing. Cleaning shouldn’t be at the top of your to-do list every week. And we know you’re not made of money either. Laundry is secretly expensive. According to this article from the Daily Kansan, students spent $9-12 a week on laundry. Doing a load that’s just sheets and comforters, not even clothes that you get to wear, can be frustrating. BUT IT IS WORTHWHILE. YOUR SHEETS ARE DISGUSTING.
But when to wash them is only part of the battle. What do you do when you get them in the washing machine?
How do you wash your sheets?
Since you’re only going to be able to knock out sheet day every other week or so, make sure you do it right. According to Clean Organized Family Home – which sounds like the kind of place we all aspire to live in – sheets should be washed in hot water, especially if you’re dealing with a cold. All that built up bacteria needs to be hit with the heavy stuff.
Throw some bleach in there – bleach with chlorine if you have white sheets and that fancy oxy-bleach stuff if you have color sheets that can be stained or fade – and make sure to give it the hottest water setting. Hot water, detergent, and bleach are all necessary to kill bacteria effectively according to ABC News.
You may have been relying on your detergent to get rid of all the dirt and germs, but if you’re not using bleach or very hot water, you’re not killing the bacteria — they’re getting on your hands and staying in the washing machine.
So head up or down the stairs to the floor in your building that has laundry on it and restore order to your bed. You’re spending most of your time there, so you may as well make the best of the situation.