What Happens to Your Body When You Don't Wash Your Sheets

Each night our beds serve as a much-needed respite from the real world, so we invest in quality mattresses, luxe pillows, and the perfect set of sheets to make sure we slip effortlessly into a slumber to greet the day refreshed the next morning. But no matter how much you invest in your sleeping situation, if you're not washing your sheets as often as you should, your sanctuary for sweet dreams might actually be a nightmarish hideaway for germs and bacteria.

While it's advised that you wash your sheets every one to two weeks, many of us go well beyond that recommended time frame. Though hectic schedules are often to blame, if you're not making the time to launder your bedding, the consequences can be downright disgusting—not to mention detrimental to your body. Redbook recently revealed the scary reality of what happens when you don't wash your sheets, and the highlights are illuminating:

Allergies: When you don't wash your sheets, you allow icky things like bacteria, mildew, and dust mites to breed and build up. It goes without saying that going to bed with them will exacerbate any allergies you might have. Dust mites feed on the dead skin you shed in your sleep, so an unwashed bed is a prime location for them to thrive. The longer you wait between washings, the harder it is to get rid of these unwanted pests.

Breakouts: The aforementioned bacteria that builds up in the fibers of your sheets don't do any favors for your skin. If you've awoken to patches of pimples or sudden breakouts, your unwashed bedding could be to blame. Any products you wear to bed at night also build up in the fibers of the sheets. While they may have worked wonders when applied directly to your skin, they aren't helping your complexion as old residue rubs against you while you sleep.

Infections: Dozing off into dreamland each night could be putting you at risk for bacterial or fungal infections. Those dreaded night sweats you sometimes experience make your sheets a prime environment for fungi. A type of mold called Cladosporium grows in damp mattresses and can lead to asthma, pneumonia, and a fungal infection known as onychomycosis, which causes skin lesions. Tinea cruris, another fungal infection resulting from dirty bedding, affects the privates, and Tinea versicolor is an antibiotic-resistant superbug that can discolor your skin.

Convinced to go and wash your sheets right this moment? Go get to laundering, and then shop everything you need for a lazy Sunday in bed.