Few things are as comfortable--or comforting--as fresh, clean sheets after a long day. There are no hard-and-fast rules for keeping house, so figuring out how often regular chores like changing bed linens should be done can be a challenge. This article will give you solid guidelines for maintaining a safe and pleasant place to sleep without breaking either your back, or the bank.
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Why Change the Sheets?
No matter how personally clean, all human beings shed skin cells, hair and bodily fluids. In bed, these rub off on the sheets and pillowcases. If allowed to remain, they can cause unpleasant odours, stickiness and serve as fertile feeding grounds for fleas, bedbugs, dust mites and other parasites.
Normal Adult Use
According to the Hilton Hotel chain's cleaning staff, sheets are changed before every new guest, or every three days for guests staying for more than three days.
Most people do not have the time, resources or inclination to change the sheets this often. Adults who bathe and wash their hair often, wear clean pyjamas (if any) and use the bed primarily for sleeping should change their sheets at least once a week.
If you prefer to change your sheets more often, keep three sets so that you will always have one in the laundry, one in the linen closet and one on the bed.
More Active Use
For some people a bed is not just a place to sleep; it is a desk, a dining table, a cinema and a gym. Food particles can attract ants and cockroaches, and no one likes to wake up with little bits of things stuck to them. If you eat and drink or do crafts in bed, the sheets should be changed--or at least shaken out or brushed well--every night.
Sexually active adults should change their sheets once a week, or after any activity that leaves foreign substances on the sheets.
Dust Mites, Skin Allergies and Other Problems
Some people are more allergic to dust mites than others. Changing the pillowcase every night, and the sheets twice a week, should help alleviate the runny nose, coughing and skin irritation caused by this allergy.
Women who are menstruating should change their sheets if they experience a leak during the night, because even dried blood can serve as nourishment for bedbugs, fleas or other insects carried into the house on clothing or by pets.
Anyone experiencing night sweats should also change their sheets every night, so that the dried sweat doesn't feed dust mites or irritate their skin.
In case of flu or other illness, pillowcases should be changed every night and the sheets changed either twice a week, or immediately upon being soiled.
Children's Bed Linens
Children who are not potty trained should have their bed sheets changed every night, because sometimes a leak will dry before morning and not be noticeable.
Teething children often drool, and they should also have their sheets changed every night so that the dried saliva does not irritate their skin.
Children who bathe and wash their hair often, sleep in clean pyjamas or underwear and can sleep through the night without an accident can have their sheets changed once a week.
According to the kind of bed and the child's skill levels, children as young as five or six can change their own bed linens with a little help and supervision.
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