Half of Single Men Only Wash This Every 4 Months, New Research Finds
Single women said they wash it more often—but is it often enough?
Most of us aim to practice good hygiene—keeping ourselves, our clothes, and our living spaces tidy and clean. Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial for several reasons, including our health: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even has an entire section of its website dedicated to hygiene best practices. These tips were especially crucial during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic when handwashing was stressed to help control the spread of the virus. But even if we think we're doing a pretty good job of keeping ourselves and our households clean, a recent study found that half of single men may not be receiving the superlative for "most hygienic." Read on to find out which item this group only washes about three times a year.
When surveyed, half of single men had a gross answer to their washing habits.
A recent survey of 2,250 adults in the U.K. found that nearly half of single men (45 percent) waited up to four months to wash their bedsheets. Even more concerning, 12 percent said that they only wash them "when they remember," Metro reported, which could mean the sheets are unwashed for longer periods of time.
Comparably, nearly 62 percent of single women said they change their sheets every two weeks, while only 25 percent of single men said they wash at the same rate. Being in a relationship appeared to improve this frequency, as 35 percent of couples reported tossing their sheets in the wash every three weeks.
People cited different reasons for waiting to wash.
If you're cringing, you might also be surprised to learn why those who were surveyed said they don't load their sheets in the washing machine more often. According to BBC News, the top reasons people cited were forgetting (67 percent), not being bothered (35 percent), and not having other clean bedding to use (22 percent). Some respondents had other reasons, with 18 percent saying they shower at night and therefore don't get their sheets dirty.
To keep yourself happy and healthy, experts recommend making your bedroom a "sanctuary."
There are basic hygiene reasons to keep your sheets clean, sleep expert Lindsay Browning, DPhil, MSc, told BBC News. Sweat buildup can become clogged in your sheets and smell, and your body also gets rid of dead skin cells while you sleep, which can then lead to unwelcome pests like mites.
Sweating is less of a concern during the cooler months, but you could still be sullying your sheets with potentially dirty hands, the air you breathe from your mouth, or allergens like pollen, Browning added. "It's really important to wash your sheets regularly because you'll get those allergens in the bed, which will cause you to have that congestion," she said.
Overall, she recommends keeping your sheets clean and making your room a safe place for sleep. By creating a "sanctuary," you allow yourself to feel more relaxed and welcome when you head to bed—which can be particularly important for those with insomnia. According to Browning, "if your sheets are not washed, and they look dirty, they smell, it's adding to that sensation that your bed isn't somewhere that you want to be."
This is how often you should really be changing your sheets.
According to the Independent, experts at Pizuna Linens, the bedding retailer that conducted the survey, said that sheets, bed linens, and pillowcases should be washed once a week.
Any blankets or duvets (which go inside a duvet cover) should be scheduled for a wash every two to three months, and pillows can go a bit longer, washed every four to six months.
"At current times, when sleep health awareness is on the rise and more people would love to get into bed with clean, fresh sheets, it's surprising that many people, whether they're single or in a relationship, may leave it a number of weeks before changing their bedding—longer than the recommended," Aureen Chinchpure, brand communications manager at Pizuna, told the Independent.
However, not everyone wants to follow these recommendations, Metro reported, as nearly 41 percent of respondents said they did not believe these guidelines were true. Whichever stance you're taking, if it's been a while since your sheets have seen the inside of your washer and dryer, consider reuniting them sooner rather than later.