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Bed Bugs, Dust Mites and Dirt. Oh, my!
February 17, 2010 3:29 PM   Subscribe

"Half a million dirty Britons wash their bed sheets only three times a year, a survey discloses laying bare the disgusting bedroom habits of the nation. One in six people also admitted waiting at least a month before washing their bed sheets." "Londoners have the dirtiest bed sheets in the country."

Lest we forget Tracey Emin's My Bed exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999.
posted by ericb (238 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now a new stereotype like 'Brits have bad teeth' and 'the French bathe/shower infrequently?'
posted by ericb at 3:31 PM on February 17, 2010


Once a week? Seriously? I don't make it a habit of asking but I feel relatively confident stating that I don't know many people who wash their sheets that frequently.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


One in six people also admitted waiting at least a month before washing their bed sheets

what? this is supposed to be unusual?
posted by dunkadunc at 3:34 PM on February 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


boy talk about airing dirty laundry
posted by boo_radley at 3:35 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fortunately, the UK has come up with a solution to this problem.
posted by lukemeister at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? You're supposed to wash those?
posted by HTuttle at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unless you're showering before bed, every two weeks. It's pretty easy to tell when you walk into someone's bedroom if they regularly wash the sheets. The funk lingers.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Bed sheets?
posted by ODiV at 3:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


Who are all these dirty, grimy people that need to wash their bedsheets so often? If it ain't soiled or smelly, then it's clean. This goes for clothes also. I wash my bedsheets about once every three months.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am in the once a month camp. I mean I shower daily, and I don't wet the bed.
posted by molecicco at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once a week? Seriously?

Sure. Every sunday. Clean sheets feel awesome.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2010 [36 favorites]


Also, in an urban environment like London, where people live in flats, washing anything is ten time the pain in the butt because you have to pack up your dirty laundry, carry it out to some "my beautiful launderette," and -- you know -- interact. It takes a lot of self-discipline not to put if off forever.
posted by Faze at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's nothing quite like passing out blind drunk and fully clothed and drooling into fresh, crisp linen for fourteen hours.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2010 [27 favorites]


Bed?
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:41 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ahem

Jacky Brown, of Sheilas' Wheels home insurance, which conducted the study...

"With many beds being used as an alternative to the kitchen table for a place to breakfast or snack, it is crucial homeowners have accidental damage cover in the event of a major spillage."

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I make it a point to change my bedsheets at the same time that I change my NBC suit, replace my Kleenex boxes that I use for shoes, re-check the sealed vacuum locks to my hyperbaric chamber, and and the filter on my orgone generator.

Seriously, though, if it takes you longer than 5 seconds to remember when was the last time you cleaned your sheets, it's about damn time.
posted by chambers at 3:44 PM on February 17, 2010


MaryDellamorte your sheets are noticeably gross after a couple weeks even if you don't have wild wet sex on them. Your body secretes dander and oil. If it looks like it needs washing after 3 months, you have been sleeping on pure grunge eight hours nightly for over two months.

By the time you can smell it you have been a complete stinko to every person who has gotten close to you for a long time who has a functional sense of smell.
posted by bukvich at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


"With many beds being used as an alternative to the kitchen table for a place to breakfast or snack, it is crucial homeowners have accidental damage cover in the event of a major spillage."

"Christ, Audrey, the vindaloo has boiled over again."

"You get to sleep in that tonight. Are the naan ready yet?"

*checks under pillow* "A few minutes more."
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2010 [38 favorites]


It's good to see that in today's news-saturated world the pressing issue of British laundry habits is finally getting the attention it deserves.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:46 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


and isn't there some way that a red-headed sanctimonious Scotswoman could present this to me in video form?
posted by boo_radley at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Experts say up to ten per cent of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites

What? I will bet anyone who cares to take the wager that if I use a pillow for 2 years without washing it, it will not be anything close to 10% skin and mites. That's ridiculous. Experts at what, exactly?
posted by Justinian at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


But do they wipe sitting or standing?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you were to judge the British by what passes for journalism in their newspapers1, you'd think they were a bunch of credulous clods and prissy old ladies wringing their hands at how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I was surprised this wasn't in the Daily Mail, given its shocking, shocking revelations.

And then... and then... there's USA Today.

1The exception, of course, being The Guardian. mostly.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2010


>: Experts say up to ten per cent of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites

I'm going to get a lab coat and a name tag that says "Expert". Then I'll go around making proclamations and the news media will be free to quote me as much as they like.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


By the time you can smell it you have been a complete stinko to every person who has gotten close to you for a long time who has a functional sense of smell.

Some people take showers in the morning.
posted by kmz at 3:50 PM on February 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


Charles Saatchi bought My Bed for £150,000, so obviously a dirty bed is both a work of art and a good investment.

Or maybe dust mites are the hot pets for 2010.
posted by sallybrown at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2010


To be fair, there's a difference between washing your bed linens and changing them. I have a supply of sheets in my linen closet so that I can change them weekly. One of my monthly chores is washing all the sheets collected thus far in the bedroom hamper. So I change my sheets weekly, but wash them monthly.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I change sheets twice a week but that hygiene is offset by sharing a bed with 4 cats and a dog.
posted by jamaro at 3:52 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do clean my pillow case more often than my sheets but I sleep just fine on my apparently grungy sheets. I'm just one of those people that never sweats or secretes odors unless I'm out in the dead of summer working in a field. I didn't say I washed them when they started smelling, I just said that I wash them every few months. And I shower every morning before going out into the world so calling me a stinko is stupid.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2010


Oh, yes, this is shaping up to be another MetaFilter classic. Pretty soon someone will show up with the cost of electricity and detergent calculation. Then 'are dryer sheets really bad?' Then line-drying laundry is making a comeback except if your HOA forbids it. The possibilities are endless, peolple, be creative here!


How often do you suppose Epic Beard Guy launders his sheets?
posted by fixedgear at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


I send the bed linens to Paris for laundering every week. The CAT'S bed linens. Mine are burned after one use.

Brittney Spears wears only brand new panties. Isn't this a fun thread?
posted by longsleeves at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it possible that your sheets need to be cleaned less frequently when you regularly put a Donk on it?

Seems like the vibrations alone would rid the fibers of a significant amount of debris.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2010


But do they wipe sitting or standing?

No.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Experts say up to ten per cent of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites

I once had someone tell me that up to half the weight of an old mattress is skin cells and dust mites. I didn't buy it. Sounds like a job for the diary of numbers guy.
posted by ekroh at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2010


The well-made bed: an unappreciated public health risk
posted by lukemeister at 3:58 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


I just went and smelled my bed...didn't notice anything and I haven't washed in in a month or so. Clean sheets are great but changing them every week is a shitload of laundry.
posted by ghharr at 3:59 PM on February 17, 2010


related
posted by davejay at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2010


Looks like I'm a filthy dirty monster.
posted by seanyboy at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2010


This is exactly why I only have sex in the kitchen.
posted by benzenedream at 4:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oriole Adams nails it. If you own more than one set of sheets, the question should be "how often do you change the sheets?" Or does everyone in GB only own one set?
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:02 PM on February 17, 2010


Metafilter: offset by sharing a bed with 4 cats and a dog.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:03 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sheeeet!
posted by Elmore at 4:03 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just went and smelled my bed...didn't notice anything and I haven't washed in in a month or so.

As a bad smell paranoiac, I can tell you that it could be that you just don't notice because you are used to the smell. The only way to know for sure is to come home from being away from your apartment for a significant amount of time and to immediately run to your bed and inhale deeply.
posted by ekroh at 4:03 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some people take showers in the morning.

Oh god please let this thread go the way of the wiping one oh please oh please oh please...
posted by davejay at 4:04 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


MaryDellamorte your sheets are noticeably gross after a couple weeks even if you don't have wild wet sex on them. Your body secretes dander and oil. If it looks like it needs washing after 3 months, you have been sleeping on pure grunge eight hours nightly for over two months.

By the time you can smell it you have been a complete stinko to every person who has gotten close to you for a long time who has a functional sense of smell.


Yes, and after six months, MaryDellamorte, you are actually killing your neighbors with toxic lint, so for the love of GOD will you get with the program

hamburger
posted by scody at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just went and smelled my bed...didn't notice anything...

So you are so use to the stench, as to be incapable of detecting it?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


lukemeister: "The well-made bed: an unappreciated public health risk"
Oh my god, it's just like when I found out surfing the net made me more productive!!
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2010


Anyone who finds the news that some people are dirtier than others to be revelatory clearly has never lived with roommates.
posted by Kiablokirk at 4:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


The thing is, in order to change the sheets I'd have to move the pile of sleeping kitties, and they're too cute. Sure, you say I'll stink, but I'll stink because of kitties.
posted by subbes at 4:11 PM on February 17, 2010 [19 favorites]


I shower standing.
posted by Elmore at 4:13 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every month.
posted by Elmore at 4:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a Large Sweaty Man, and I seem leave a noticeable outline of my body on my side of the bed after only a week of bed-related activities. I also serve breakfast in bed every Saturday and Sunday, so Sunday is clean sheet day. I can't imagine how shiny my side of the bed would be if I let it go for a whole month. Even when I was single I'd change my sheets every week because it was hard enough to lure somebody into the bedroom. I'd hate to have all that seduction go for naught once she caught sight of my sebum-soaked sheets.
posted by Floydd at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Experts say up to ten per cent of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites

Speaking for the hack writer, I will note that this is completely accurate if the weight could POTENTIALLY reach 10%, if for instance the subject oozed a thick fluid from a head wound for eight hours each night, and then slept on it the next night, and so on for six months.

If in 99.999999% of cases the added weight is just .00001%, the statement is true as written.

That's just journalism 101, folks.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I gotta go with the once a week crowd.
Then again, I'm usually pretty grimy by the time I get to bed, and don't always have the energy for a shower.
So yeah, every Sunday.

Also, on preview, this:

Anyone who finds the news that some people are dirtier than others to be revelatory clearly has never lived with roommates.
posted by Kiablokirk

posted by kaiseki at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2010


Back when I was living across the courtyard from the most accomplished satyr I have seen up close and personal (I have posted about him before--I call him Justin Lookalike) there was one thing the guy had down. Immediately after his conquests (I saw a couple every week and I did not spend any time watching his apartment; this was just casual observation entering and exiting my own apartment) he took the sheets and pillowcases straight to the laundry room. I always admired that attention to detail and conscientiousness. He probably had the deluxe thread count numbers and went through them like the rest of us go through dental floss.
posted by bukvich at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every other week, unless sexytimes/crazed winter weather night sweats/puppy farts causes the need for more frequent changes.

I shower before bed at night AND before work in the morning, though. How can people get into their bed all dirty and sweaty from their day? Feh.
posted by elizardbits at 4:18 PM on February 17, 2010


The thing is, in order to change the sheets I'd have to move the pile of sleeping kitties, and they're too cute.

Can't the kitties lick the sheets clean?
posted by lukemeister at 4:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Panic attack panic attack panic attack
posted by applemeat at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clean sheets are one of life's greatest pleasures. I change mine once a week but if I wasn't so lazy I'd do it more often.

So delicious and soft. I'm in bed right now!
posted by sugarfish at 4:21 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I sleep on the couch.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I'm in bed right now!
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:26 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


How often do you launder your couch?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:27 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clean sheets are one of life's greatest pleasures.

Indeed. Shower + clean pjs + clean sheets = heaven.

Plus, the more you wash them, the softer they get. Nothing like old, clear sheets...
posted by prettypretty at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2010


iThe thing is, in order to change the sheets I'd have to move the pile of sleeping kitties

That's the best part: the excitement of fresh bed sheets turns even the most sedate cat into something out of Aliens.
posted by jamaro at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, in an urban environment like London, where people live in flats, washing anything is ten time the pain in the butt because you have to pack up your dirty laundry, carry it out to some "my beautiful launderette," and -- you know -- interact. It takes a lot of self-discipline not to put if off forever.

The magic words are 'service wash'. This minimises uncomfortable social interaction and removes the need to obsessively collect 50p coins for the dryers. Bargain!
posted by Lebannen at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2010


You know who wash their sheets regularly?

Klansmen.
posted by jonmc at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


How often do you launder your couch?

Every week. A clean couch is one of life's greatest pleasures.
posted by sallybrown at 4:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Back when I was living across the courtyard from the most accomplished satyr I have seen up close and personal

Well, he probably also got horse poop on them.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last time I made a "HURF DURF BRITS HAVE BAD TEEFS!" a Brit commented that the NHS covers everything but dental care.

All that showed was that the British government goes out of its way to incentivize bad teeth for tourism purposes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once a week for me, and I'm not even an especially clean freak. Or to me more accurate: I wash them once a month or less... but I change them each week*.

Don't people have many sets of sheets? Who has one sheet, anyway?

(*Well, sometimes twice if the week has been especially action-packed, but that's another thread, innit?)
posted by rokusan at 4:34 PM on February 17, 2010


Every week without exception..
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2010


People are saying how awesome clean sheets are as if people who change them less often don't realize. Duh. The question is not how often would I LIKE my sheets changed. I'd LIKE them changed every 2.5 hours. By Jeeves. Also a pony.

The question is one of priorities. I change the sheets when the priority on that task rises above one of the many other things I have to do in the day, including doing the resulting laundry. The time it take for the priority to rise above other tasks is going to vary by family and the tasks they have.
posted by DU at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Bedroom?
posted by armage at 4:37 PM on February 17, 2010


Every month.

Whether you need it or not.
posted by Danf at 4:37 PM on February 17, 2010


the excitement of fresh bed sheets turns even the most sedate cat into something out of Aliens.

I thought that was just my cat! Only one of the 3 (or only one of a much larger number I've owned in my life) ever did it.
posted by DU at 4:38 PM on February 17, 2010


Kiablokirk: Anyone who finds the news that some people are dirtier than others to be revelatory clearly has never lived with roommates.
So, it's news to about half the people. The other half (the dirty roommates) come away with the opposite impression: that roommates are just obsessively annoying neat freaks.

I realize that comparatively speaking if your roommate is cleaner than you, that makes you the dirtier roommate, but most people tend to think of themselves as normal, and everybody else as deviating from that normalcy. Hence everybody who drives faster than you is a crazy maniac, everybody who drives slower than you is a plodding imbecile.

BTW beds and sheets are for peasants. Real men sleep on giant slabs of iron suspended in the air by magnets.
posted by Davenhill at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


If we can have cotton-soft toilet paper, why can't we have disposable bed sheets? You just flush them down the toilet each morning and pull a new set off a roll behind the headboard in the evening. Plus, they could sell an extra-absorbant 4-ply version for kids, deviants, and the incontinent. It'd also be good for hiding evidence.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Once a week? Seriously? I don't make it a habit of asking but I feel relatively confident stating that I don't know many people who wash their sheets that frequently.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:33 PM on February 17



*sniffle* I do....
posted by magstheaxe at 4:42 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am a Large Sweaty Man, and I seem leave a noticeable outline of my body on my side of the bed after only a week of bed-related activities.

That happens to me too, but I prefer to sleep in a slightly different position each week - moving the arms and legs out bit by bit.

This is how I get a lovely sweaty-body-outline-on-my-sheets angel!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:43 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Real men sleep

in their Dodge Chargers, obviously.
posted by sallybrown at 4:43 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


What? Washing them more frequently than twice per year robs your sheets of the essential layer of grease and body hair that insulates your skin from contacting the raw sheets.

The correct procedure is to use the same set of sheets until it it starts making a velcro sound when you get up. At that point, you burn the old sheets, and put on new ones. You should avoid showering for the first couple of weeks after a sheet change, to accelerate the formation of the new protective layer.
posted by qvantamon at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I shower before bed, which makes the sheets stay clean longer, but I still like to change them once a week.

I also rotate the mattress while I'm at it (how many of you do that?).

I enjoy the feel of clean sheets and I find it's easier to get to sleep. Maybe it's psychological, but it works.

And then there's the feel of the sheets themselves. Egyptian cotton, anyone?
posted by bwg at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2010


Huh, all the Britons I know are obsessive clean freaks who live at the dry cleaners. But then again, alot of them come from the North, which is Different.
posted by The Whelk at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the study describing and cataloging British skid mark prevalence.

'Cause you just *know* they've all got them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:46 PM on February 17, 2010


I also rotate the mattress while I'm at it (how many of you do that?).


Wait, your mattress has tires?
posted by qvantamon at 4:46 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I shower before bedtime and the sheets get changed about every three weeks - once a month at most. Bedsheets don't get very dirty.
posted by The Whelk at 4:47 PM on February 17, 2010


Let's compare apples to apples, people. I'm betting that those who launder their bed linens once a week also happen to have their own washer and drier.

There's a big gap between "so filthy it's a hygiene problem" and "laundering frequently because it is convenient to do so." Let's not confuse preference with empirical facts.
posted by ErikaB at 4:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually read about this awhile back, and felt bad about how infrequently I had been washing my sheets. So I started on a weekly rotation, but, not wanting to destroy the world, have been hanging my sheets on a line. Unfortunately, the neighbor's cat decided to start clawing the hell out of the sheets, _climbing up the sheets with its claws_ in order to attack songbirds. After witnessing this the second time, I kidnapped the cat, then set up an appointment with the local vet in which I had it declawed. All was well for a little while. But then the neighbor apparently took notice that the cat had been declawed and went on a rampage around the neighborhood looking for the sadistic fuck who had done the deed. Rather than risk a direct confrontation, I filed with the EPA to have said neighbor's cat investigated for threatening the lives of local endangered migratory songbirds. In spite of filing under an alias, the EPA managed to get hold of my identity, and disclosed it to the neighbor pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act filing about two weeks ago. I didn't know about this of course, and the guy invited himself over for tea one afternoon, and then laid into me about how the federal government was brining suit against his cat, and then laid out the FOIA statement and pulled a gun on me. Well, I just looked there confusedly for a moment, then, after feigning a teary breakdown, slammed a mug of hot Earl Grey into his nose. At this point, I have the body wrapped up in some sheets in my bedroom, which, as luck would have it, were quite clean and hopefully thus lacking in DNA evidence to link me to the body.

So here's my question: Anyone know where to get a replacement motor for a cuisinart? I managed to get about half-way through the neighbor's left arm before mine gave out.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2010 [100 favorites]


I sleep on Jersey cotton sheets. Everyone tell me how I'm wrong to like a cheap, warm and soft material.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]



I also rotate the mattress while I'm at it (how many of you do that?).


Wait, your mattress has tires?
posted by qvantamon at 4:46 PM on February 17 [+] [!]



Real men sleep

in their Dodge Chargers, obviously.
posted by sallybrown at 4:43 PM on February 17 [+] [!]

posted by TwelveTwo at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I also rotate the mattress while I'm at it (how many of you do that?).

Of course I do that. I set up a Google calendar recurring reminder, along with one for my furnace filter, etc. etc.
posted by fixedgear at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2010


Anything less than once a week is Fucking. Disgusting. Unless you shower before bed.

And I say that as someone who seldom showers before bed and often goes two weeks between washing sheets. Thank goodness my wife is not as Fucking. Disgusting. as I am: she launders them weekly.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:00 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a protest against Al-Quaida I won't sleep on muslin sheets.
posted by Xurando at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Let's not confuse preference with empirical facts.
posted by jquinby at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rotate, baby, rotate.

Length one week, width the next.
posted by bwg at 5:02 PM on February 17, 2010


A fox can't smell it's own hole
posted by spicynuts at 5:05 PM on February 17, 2010


Ah! But note that I say that as one who sleeps in the buff! If you are wearing pajamas, I'm certain the sheets stay clean for much, much longer.

If you're in the nude, changing sheets once a week is like changing underwear once a week. Naturally, there are sure to be people who do just that.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm fucking disgusting then. Funny, you wouldn't know it from looking at me.
posted by Evangeline at 5:06 PM on February 17, 2010


bwg: "I also rotate the mattress while I'm at it (how many of you do that?)."

I have a selectcomfort bed, rotating is for plebs.
posted by boo_radley at 5:07 PM on February 17, 2010


But we'd know it by sniffing your bed. Can we sniff your bed?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2010


You are absolutely welcome to come sniff my bed!

Everybody, come! Sniff my bed!
posted by Evangeline at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2010


You'd have to buy me a drink first.
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on February 17, 2010


I think it's you who should be buying me a drink, jonmc. Just wait until you've inhaled that heavenly aroma.
posted by Evangeline at 5:11 PM on February 17, 2010


Thank you, but I'm spoken for.

I was referring to Triple-F. He has to buy me a drink first before sniffing my bed. He may want one for himself, actually.
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on February 17, 2010


Everybody, come! Sniff my bed!

Only if your sheet don't stank.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:15 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I live in London, shower before bed and haven't had sex since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Laundering every two weeks is fine.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:16 PM on February 17, 2010


I wash them once a month. But I have 4 sets and swap 'em out every week. If you want my sexy I expect the same in your bed. (Though I guess if you can't do that, I'll fuck you in my bed.)
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:17 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a selectcomfort bed, rotating is for plebs.

Manufacturer claims of no need to flip or rotate are pure BS, part of their cost-cutting pretense that a two-sided mattress is as good as a one-sided mattress.

We have a real mattress -- almost impossible to find these days -- so we rotate AND flip.
posted by palliser at 5:19 PM on February 17, 2010


My sheet don't stank. Nothing about me stanks. My sweat smells like Chanel No 5. My breath smells like daisies. My poo smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
posted by Evangeline at 5:20 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just put down a fresh scattering of Bounty sheets every few days or so.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:20 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came in to say that we wash our sheets once a week, but then my husband snorted at me, "If we remember!" so sometimes, yes, it goes ten days or even two weeks.

And, for further statistical data, we wash the mattress pad about once every three weeks. And we flip it every three months or so.
posted by misha at 5:21 PM on February 17, 2010


My poo smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

Mine, too! Is yours with or without pecans? I like pecans.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


so we rotate AND flip.

That's what I meant by rotating; you've got to do both.
posted by bwg at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2010


My sheet don't stank. Nothing about me stanks. My sweat smells like Chanel No 5. My breath smells like daisies. My poo smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

My sweat smells like Newark smog. My beath smells like Budweiser and Jack Daniels. My poop smells like the three chili-cheese-kraut franks from Papaya Dog on 14th I had today. Thats normal, dammit!
posted by jonmc at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


My poo smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

Reminds me of this.

Also, your shit may be Cinnabon, but mine's Hot and Crusty.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:25 PM on February 17, 2010


I wash my bedsheets about once every three months.

Oh, and MaryDellamorte, I'm trying to decide if you are just trolling all of us, since you also said you never wash your hands way back in this thread.
posted by misha at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2010


No pecans. I'm a purist!
posted by Evangeline at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2010


HP, that sounds really, really ouchy.
posted by Evangeline at 5:28 PM on February 17, 2010


Then line-drying laundry is making a comeback except if your HOA forbids it.

I hate line-drying my sheets, 'cause the clothesline isn't really tall enough, so I need to dobule them over, and I always end up dragging one corner on the ground before I can get them pinned, and they're really heavy to carry all the way out there and the dryer is right next to the washing machine...
posted by madajb at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2010


I really wish we could go for more than a couple days before condemning each other as disgusting filthy people for little to no reason.

I think I've told this story before, but in college I went through a period of completely ignoring any social hygiene rituals. It goes far beyond changing your sheets once a month vs. once a week.

Really, we'll be OK if we don't change our sheets every Sunday. In the hygiene heirarchy, I rank it somewhere around the 50th most important ritual.
posted by muddgirl at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


As annoying as a MeFi argument about laundry is, at least it reminded me of this awesome Descendents song.
posted by The World Famous at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are all disgusting filthy people, and your sheeting practice(s) suck(s).
posted by everichon at 5:33 PM on February 17, 2010


I don[t have my own washer and dryer. A load of laundry costs me $2. So no, I'm not washing my sheets weekly.

I'm also one of the apparently mythical creatures with only one set of sheets. There are several reasons for this: 1) my current sheets are super soft and comfy, 2) I don't have a lot of storage space, and what I do have is taken up by my many, many articles of clothing, and 3) when I contemplate buying sheets, I always end up decide there are lots of things I'd rather spend my money on - usually it's shoes.

I promise, I don't stink. Given the blunt people I associate with, someone would have told me by now. But this thread did inspire me to spend 8 of my precious quarters on washing my sheets tonight.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 5:38 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stop that! Stop that! It's Filthy!
posted by bwg at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2010


DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY!
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on February 17, 2010


That's what I meant by rotating; you've got to do both.

Woe upon we sleepers with pillow-top mattresses! We cannot flip; we can only rotate; alas.
posted by scody at 5:42 PM on February 17, 2010


Wash 'em once a week or once every two weeks or so... can't say with absolute certainty beyond "I like clean sheets and I change them when I notice, oh hey, these sheets aren't clean."

Also: shower at night. Always have. The showering in the morning crowd seem counter-intuitive to me. You just slept! In your stink! You went and took it to bed with you and slept with it! You brush your teeth before you go to bed so that you don't go to bed with grossness festering in your mouth - why go to bed with your sweat festering in your armpits?

(Yes, everyone in my family shares this neurosis. I grew up in the only family in America in which the bathroom is guaranteed to be free in the morning, but you'd better schedule your slot if you want to pee after 10PM.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:47 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I live in London, shower before bed and haven't had sex since dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Try the mammal!
posted by fish tick at 5:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


because showering in the morning is a lovely ritual for removing nightime sweat and nightmare echos and mentally props you the rest of the day.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Beds without an underpad are really disgusting, too. I've done moving/delivery stuff in the dark past, and one of the most horrifying jobs was to wrestle with people's omg-unbelievably foul mattresses. Stained, stinky, dusty, grungy, disgusting.

Hellzbellz, grapefruitmoon, there are people who don't brush their teeth. Revolting, but I'm sure we have at least one member who will claim their gums are happy and their breath as fresh as daisies, even though they've never brushed their teeth.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:55 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I sleep on Jersey cotton sheets. Everyone tell me how I'm wrong to like a cheap, warm and soft material.

No, you're wrong for investing in sheets that are going to shrink a third of their size and be impossible to spread neatly over the bed and keep fitted to the mattress, and then get constantly expanding rips in them, making you feel like a chump for investing in a bunch of jersey sheet sets, but determined to see them out for years on end, until they finally fall apart and you can justify the purchase of a new set. And by "you," of course, I mean "me."
posted by Countess Elena at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2010


Sleep?


I get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I go to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when I get out, my Dad kills me, and dances about on my grave singing "Hallelujah."
posted by Kloryne at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, showering at night makes sense to me, especially in Hong Kong, where you're out all day in the city air, with people coughing and sneezing around you, vehicle exhaust gets in your hair, and nevermind high summer when you've to shower several times a day owing to heavy perspiration.

That's not to say a morning shower isn't a nice way to wake up though, which is why I suspect a lot of people do it then.
posted by bwg at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2010


Meanwhile there are people who feel lucky to own a sheet, no matter how dirty.
posted by mareli at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2010


Woe upon we sleepers with pillow-top mattresses! We cannot flip; we can only rotate; alas.

A Real Mattress has two pillow-tops. Don't let the bastards get away with it!
posted by palliser at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Woe upon we sleepers with pillow-top mattresses! We cannot flip; we can only rotate; alas.

And I'm never buying another one. It was OK in the store, but not so great for all night. Live and learn.

Also, I thought white collar folks showered in the morning and blue collar folks showered after work. Is that not the case?
posted by fixedgear at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


More often than every two weeks seems a bit much to me, going longer than a month is noticeable. My schedule has not changed since I got a washer/dryer...I have to do laundry at least once every two weeks anyway.

I dated people who thought that their sheets didn't need washing more than every several months; I gently set them straight. It's not that the sheets smell like sweat or stink to high heaven, but the buildup of body oils does cause a musty odor of, well, unwashed laundry.
posted by desuetude at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2010


You always like it undercover
Tucked in between your dirty sheets
But no one's even done nuttin' to ya
In between the hollers and the screams
posted by bwg at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2010


Well, he probably also got horse poop on them.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:33 PM on February 17 [+] [!]


That's a centaur, dude. He would get goat poop on them.

Your copy of Bulfinch has been revoked.
posted by Amanojaku at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Higher thread-count please.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Washing the sheets is only something you do in the wear cool lingerie/actively try new positions phase of a relationship.
posted by bardic at 6:12 PM on February 17, 2010


Every Sunday.

I've been washing my sheets every Sunday for years. While I have had my own washer and dryer for 3 years now, prior to that I trucked all my laundry in a cart a few doors down to the laundromat. And before that, I bundled it all into a tump*, hoisted it onto my back, and walked 20 minutes to the nearest laundromat. Before that, I'd haul it down to the basement of my building every Sunday. It goes on and on. 2 bucks a load, sure. The advantage of laundromats is that you can do the dark and white loads all at the same time; where I do two loads at home now, which is running in the background most of the day on Sunday (sometimes Saturday, it depends), and I tend to forget about it for a few hours at a time, at the laundromat, it's all done inside of an hour and half. I'd have it all done before lunch.

I need to do laundry every weekend if I want to wear all my favourite clothes in the coming week. Adding the sheets really isn't that big a deal. Most of my clothes are dark anyway, so if I didn't do the sheets I wouldn't have a full light load every week. It just makes sense.

I have multiple sets of sheets, but I like them straight out of the dryer. Also: I play favourites. I have my favourite sheets, and usually I just pull them off, wash them, and then put the same ones back on again. It's really not that big a deal.

* A tump is a very large bag used by canoers to carry all the heavy stuff. It can be carried like a knapsack, and often has a strap designed to fit around your forehead (a tump line), but it's only for portages. It's not designed to be easy to carry. Only to hold a lot. Outside of my old professional camping days, I haven't heard anyone else use the word tump.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Washing the sheets is only something you do in the wear cool lingerie/actively try new positions phase of a relationship.

Married twenty-plus years. I'm thinking it's cause I wash the sheets. ; )
posted by misha at 6:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fuck, just realized it's been almost two months since I last changed my sheets. No wonder my imaginary girlfriend is so upset with me.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now that we have critical mass on sheet laundering, what are people's thoughts on pillow replacement frequency? My pillows are four years old and they look a little gnarly to me. In the house I was raised they never bought new pillows but I am thinking maybe every couple years might be close to the expiry date on pillows.
posted by bukvich at 6:31 PM on February 17, 2010


Fuck, just realized it's been almost two months since I last changed my sheets. No wonder my imaginary girlfriend is so upset with me.

It it because she's a pillowcase?
posted by kersplunk at 6:32 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Once a week is for dirty nasty stinky people. Clean and nice people like myself change them twice a week.

Honestly, it's one of my few little luxuries, and I really enjoy it. It's a very small amount of extra work, and in exchange I get to enjoy the feeling of clean, new sheets twice as often.

Even when I was one of those unfortunate souls who had to schlep my laundry to the laundromat in a backpack, I still washed the sheets every week. I experimented with longer intervals (and have gone much longer when forced to by circumstances) but after a week I can smell and feel the difference.

I'm sure wearing PJs and having infrequent sex, as well as being a naturally clean and dainty person with no pets, can make for longer intervals without bad smells. Since I like sleeping naked, having sex, and other unhygenic things, I'll continue changing my sheets more frequently.
posted by Forktine at 6:35 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you clean your sheets so often, how to you harvest the bed-crust for your homemade cornflakes?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I usually just sleep in the shower.
posted by Sailormom at 6:38 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


fixedgear: "I thought white collar folks showered in the morning and blue collar folks showered after work. Is that not the case?"

White collar wash hands after using the bathroom, blue collar beforehand. It's a question of which is filthier, your workspace, or what's in your pants.
posted by idiopath at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I never believed this "dust mites make up 10% of pillow weight" malarky for even a moment. And if it's true, I simply don't want to know.

I love high-thread count - but lazy for laundry.

Evangeline: I am home in Brooklyn and I detect nothing. Nothing. No Chanel, no cinnamon, no maple syrup, no nothing. I believe you're making it all up...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:47 PM on February 17, 2010


In the house I was raised they never bought new pillows but I am thinking maybe every couple years might be close to the expiry date on pillows.

Same here, we never got new ones. Now it's every couple of years. Pillows are cheap and it's one of those things where you go 'wow, that is really great and worth every penny, should have done so sooner.'
posted by fixedgear at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2010


...and I should add that it's my work area that gets the real fug. if I could launder my chair once a week..
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2010


Come closer, little one...
posted by Evangeline at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2010


what are people's thoughts on pillow replacement

I think I'd give my left nut for a pillow that was comfortable. I've had the worst luck buying pillows these last few times.

I am jealous of Forktine.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:51 PM on February 17, 2010


This reminds me of the line attributed to Queen Victoria, that as an example to her subjects, she will take a bath once a year, whether she needs it or not.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 PM on February 17, 2010


But do they wipe sitting or standing?

I'm pretty sure the results of this survey indicate that they wipe laying down.
posted by emelenjr at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't really care how often people wash their sheets. As for the smell that is supposedly emanating from me that I can't notice because I've been wallowing in my own filth for so long - well, I truly doubt that everyone in my offices washes their sheets once a week, and odds are some of them go a month or more without washing, and yet, I'm not smelling any weird funk from them. Not a one of 'em.

I'm really surprised what people choose to get all up in arms about. This is silly, but my favorite threads are the ones where someone complains about a digestive issue and several people jump on to post about how beautiful their dumps are, and how if you'd only do what they're doing, you could have sparkling clean shit too! Somehow this thread reminds me of that.
posted by Evangeline at 6:58 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have no dryer and it is cold and moist outside and in. Sheets would probably take a week to dry. I have to wait for a convenient sunny day, and even then one set of sheets is all I have room for. Also not having a dryer and having to dry things inside means that sheets end up kind of crunchy. Which isn't actually that nice feeling.

Also, I can't imagine getting sweaty in bed. If I am ever sweaty in bed I am hot. If I am hot in bed I don't sleep. I also can't sleep without some sort of cover, so the summer can get quite torturous.
posted by that girl at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2010


this is funny! I have to say my husband and I, who sleep naked, are pretty lackadaisical about changing the sheets, although I usually definitely do it every 2-3 weeks because we do both enjoy that lovely feeling of sliding into clean sheets...

but this thread motivated me to change the sheets tonight (and do some laundry, we've got a washer n dryer in house, no excuse!)...

I broke my leg in the beginning of january and the LAST thing I was worried about during recovery, with my husband "taking care of the house" (har) was the bedsheets!!! so yeah, it had been 6-7 weeks, the bed was all wompsed up. whatever. it will feel nice tonight though...
posted by supermedusa at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2010


Also, I can't imagine getting sweaty in bed.

I can think of several ways, all while awake. Less jokingly, haven't you ever woken up from bad dreams all covered in nasty cold sweat?
posted by Forktine at 7:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jacob Dietmahler was not such a fool that he could not see that they had arrived at his friend’s home on the washday. They should not have arrived anywhere, certainly not at this great house, the largest but two in Weissenfels, at such a time. Dietmahler’s own mother supervised the washing three times a year, therefore the household had linen and white underwear for four months only. He himself possessed eighty-nine shirts, no more. But here, at the Hardenberg house in Kloster Gasse, he could tell from the great dingy snowfalls of sheets, pillowcases, bolster-cases, vests, bodices, drawers, from the upper windows into the courtyard, where grave-looking servants, both men and women, were receiving them into giant baskets, that they washed only once a year...
Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
posted by generalist at 7:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I almost slept on that shit!"
posted by cashman at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2010


Ah, the glorious infinite variety of the human experience!

It never ceases to make me hate people all the more.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Forktine, I do admit that there are non-sleeping ways of getting sweaty in bed, but I have minimal chances at them lately, so the vast majority of my bed activities are sleeping. I also am under the impression that I am less sweaty than the average person, so I don't get sweaty unless I am uncomfortably hot.

As for the cold sweat, can't say I have ever woken up that way. With dreams if I wake up in the middle of them my automatic response is to try to fall back asleep to get back in. Sometimes some other part of my brain goes "wait wait that wasn't a good one we don't want to go back in."
posted by that girl at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2010


The Straight Dope on the mattress full of mites urban legend.

And here's an interesting tidbit. It turns out that dust mites can't get through sheets that are 300 thread count or higher. Just look at a 100 thread count and 300 thread count sheet through a microscope and you'll see why. So buy the more expensive sheets and you'll keep a handful of dust mites from making your mattress a nice, cozy, damp home to sleep in while you are away for the day.
posted by eye of newt at 7:32 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The maid changes my sheets every day, while making my bed.

And gives me three fresh bath towels, and three fresh hand towels, and three fresh washcloths.

And cleans the sink, replaces the toilet paper and tissues as needed, puts out fresh soap (sink and bathtub) and shampoo (whether needed or not), and puts a supply of four Styrofoam and four plastic cups (each individually wrapped in plastic, oddly enough) by the microwave. Every day.

But then, I live in a hotel room.
posted by orthogonality at 7:32 PM on February 17, 2010


Confession time.

I never did my own laundry until I left for college (that's not the confession). My dorm had washers and dryers on every floor, and I wasn't a complete chowderhead, so clean clothes were never an issue.

The bed linens, on the other hand, were supplied by the dorm. One had only to take their dirty sheets down to the basement and turn them in for a fresh set. I have no idea how long it took for me to get around to doing so the first time. After the first few weeks, it started to nag at me that I hadn't done so, but I was afraid of how I would be received for having waited so long (Mom washed our sheets every week, after all). I feared the ridicule and shame that would come from having my lack of hygiene mocked in front of the entire (co-ed) dormitory population, several of whom I was probably actively trying to sleep with.

Finally, after - at least - a month, my roommate (whom we'll call Doug, because that was his name) shamed me into going. I don't think it was a smell issue, since everybody on our floor smoked (cigarettes and otherwise) and nobody's nose worked very well to begin with. He was probably just sick of my hand-wringing, and I remember quite clearly him assuring me that nobody would care it had taken me almost six weeks to turn in my sheets.

And so, I accompanied him down to the bowels of Jester Dormitory. I was surprised/alarmed at the number of people there, but trusted in Doug's word that everything would be hunky-dory.

Finally, it was my turn. I approached the counter and, with as much confidence as I could muster, presented my soiled linens. I'm a little hazy on what was required for the transfer; if I had to sign something, or present a ticket, or what. Whatever the case, my obvious lack of knowledge raised some sort of laundry alarm with the woman supervising things and she came over to question me.

Her: "What floor are you on?"
Me: "Eight."
Her: "And when was the last time you got new sheets?"
Me: "I never, ah, this is my first time."
Her: [loudly] "Who waits this long to change their sheets? That's...that's nasty, boy."

Everyone, and I mean everyone, enjoyed a good laugh. None more so than Doug, who brought it up every time the opportunity presented itself for the remainder of the school year.
posted by total warfare frown at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


grapefruitmoon wrote: Also: shower at night. Always have. The showering in the morning crowd seem counter-intuitive to me. You just slept! In your stink! You went and took it to bed with you and slept with it!

I usually shower in the morning, unless I'm incredibly stinky. Why? Because I'm used to the way I smell, it doesn't bother me. I do understand, however, that I may offend other people. Therefore, I shower prior to leaving the house, nearer to the time I might offend others if I were to stink.

Also, I think every two weeks is fine on the sheets unless they become soiled. One of my animals tends to upchuck in inconvenient places, so that sometimes accelerates the schedule. I suppose if someone else would change my sheets, I wouldn't mind it being done weekly.
posted by wierdo at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2010


Since I like sleeping naked, having sex, and other unhygenic things, I'll continue changing my sheets more frequently.

At first, reading this thread, I thought the same thing, but then I thought maybe all these people are just ten times awesomer than me and are keeping their sheets pristine by having sex, like, on the kitchen counters or suspended from the ceiling or something.

Maybe strategic deployment of towels?
posted by palliser at 7:41 PM on February 17, 2010


Wash your sheets weekly, people. By the time you can smell yourself, as someone said above, it's far too late. I wouldn't wear the same clothes for a month, and I 'wear' my sheets for at least 8 hours a day.
posted by Malice at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2010


Those blue tarps you get at the hardware store have a decent thread count and can be hosed off.
posted by maxwelton at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


I have to say that after reading this thread, I felt motivated, nay, compelled to go take a nice long hot shower.

But the sheets will get changed per their usual schedule.
posted by bwg at 7:59 PM on February 17, 2010


I changed my sheets AND took a hot shower. Be proud, Metafilter!
posted by pecknpah at 8:05 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm really surprised what people choose to get all up in arms about.

You may be reading more into things than it merits. No one actually gives a hoot whether you sleep in your own filth for weeks on end. Not even me.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:07 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I sleep in a race car... do YOU??
posted by porn in the woods at 8:47 PM on February 17, 2010


I turn out my straw on May Day
posted by jfuller at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bed I slept in last night hasn't been changed since 15 December. Admittedly, this is the first time I've slept in it since then, so it doesn't really count. I don't expect it to be changed until March though, as I like my bed to smell of its owner: I never understood the fresh sheets thing.
posted by Sova at 9:21 PM on February 17, 2010


I am of two minds on this subject,one the one hand, clean sheets do feel really nice but also grimy old decaying sheets sort of have their own warmth from the biological action.
posted by Iron Rat at 9:38 PM on February 17, 2010


You guys are all suckers. I gave up on sheets years ago and transitioned to a sleeping bag. No need to make the bed, no need to clean the thing. It just lies on top of the mattress and reminds me of how much better I am than everyone and how creative my energy saving tricks are. My massive intellect clearly causes immense feelings of inferiority in people because they can barely stand to be in my presence. I pity you sheeted fools.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:43 PM on February 17, 2010


I gave up on sheets years ago and transitioned to a sleeping bag. No need to make the bed, no need to clean the thing.

Dude, you're supposed to clean your sleeping bag. Nasty.
posted by The World Famous at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2010


The World Famous: "Dude, you're supposed to clean your sleeping bag. Nasty."

Yeah especially when eating all that hamburger in bed.
posted by idiopath at 9:50 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Change your sheets,

but don't make your bed.
posted by eye of newt at 9:52 PM on February 17, 2010


I change my sheets about twice a month.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2010


I'll have to ask the wife how often she washes the sheets, because she's the clean person and I'm the slob. Hey, I offer to help with the laundry, I even have a super-safe technique: I wash everything in cold water, a technique that got me through life for 10 years as a single man. But she won't let me do it, she claims I'll "mess things up", as if you can mess things up washing everything in cold water.

Where was I?

Oh yes, the sheets. I never knew about sheet hygiene until college, and my freshman year I probably went a good six months before washing them. It wasn't like I was getting laid my freshman year of college anyway, so no big deal. Anyway, a chubby friend of mine claimed all you needed to do with bedsheets was wipe them down with a wet cloth every month or so. And he was pretty repulsive so don't be like him!

Wait, where was I? The correct answer is sitting down, back to front, front to back--alternating, people alternating--with a twisting, spiral action focused on the affected area.
posted by zardoz at 10:25 PM on February 17, 2010


how many of you do that?

I may flip the mattress more often than I wash the sheets, but I have a lot of sheets. In 1950, where I live, sheets cost 50 cents. I have drawers full of sheets and it's 10 degrees outside [F] and the laundromat is full of weirdos.

It would never occur to me to call someone smelly or dirty if I had not seen or smelled them. Competitive hygeine was weird when I was in college and people were all super-unclean ["Don't you know that soap is a tool of The Man? I myself only wash with rainwater cascading from spruce trees under a full moon..."] and it's weird now. If you see me at a meetup, please tell me if I smell badly, my sense of everything appears to be broken.
posted by jessamyn at 10:47 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: "In 1950, where I live, ..."

Wow, I have considered moving to the early '70s, but 1950 is an interesting choice. I presume you did not move there for the big cars or the backward gender politics.
posted by idiopath at 10:54 PM on February 17, 2010


I change my sheets on a reasonable schedule. I just wish I understood what drives one of my 2 cats (sisters) to poop on the blankets of the bed when I go away on vacation.

I'm assuming that she is distressed. I addressed the symptom by closing the bedroom door.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:28 PM on February 17, 2010


some of you guys are trying waaaaaayyy too hard
posted by bam at 11:52 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am fascinated by the confusion between washing and changing sheets. Presumably people have more than one set?
posted by A189Nut at 11:53 PM on February 17, 2010


By the time you can smell it you have been a complete stinko to every person who has gotten close to you for a long time who has a functional sense of smell.

I mask this with cigarettes.
posted by vbfg at 12:07 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just last week washed everyone in the house's bedding, because I couldn't remember when the last time was. Whoops. Nobody's bed was horrific, thankfully.

What I really want to know is, if you're sleeping European style with separate duvets and no top sheet, how often should you wash your duvets? Blankets and comforters, not sheets and pillow cases, are the hard laundry items to deal with in that case.

Just as aside, we all shower before bedtime usually. My kids still occasionally grab one of my pillows and say things like "Can I borrow your pillow? It smells like you." I know, weird. But, it's still comforting to them. Smell is one of the most primordial senses. If something smells bad, don't eat it, right? Smell of clean mom is apparently comforting to my kids, so sometimes we swap pillows. It isn't a big deal or anything, just who needs what size and shape of pillow. But, then, we're family.

I also want to know how often Americans vs. Europeans wash their jeans? Especially, if you get to wear jeans to work. After one wearing? Two? Until their actually dirty?

Also, how many folks change into separate home comfy clothes after work each day? (Yeah this is what I do, but I'm a painter, and I don't want paint on my "good" clothes.) This week, mine includes a t-shirt that says on the front "tl; dr" that I wore as an undershirt on Monday (it's a GREAT Monday undershirt when you're doing customer service for college kids). Well, it's Wednesday now. I put on the same sweat pants, a comfy t-shirt, and maybe something over it after I strip off the day's work clothes. The work clothes are clean. No really. When the comfy/artsy clothes get stinky, they go into the hamper.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:28 AM on February 18, 2010


We have extra sheets and pillow cases that get changed. I just can't figure out the schedule for everything else, especially blankets.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:30 AM on February 18, 2010


The duvet has a cover, and you wash that.
posted by molecicco at 1:42 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, no fair! This FPP was posted at 11:30pm London time. So, Brits wake up to hundreds of comments by Americans before they even get a chance to respond.

Also, in an urban environment like London, where people live in flats, washing anything is ten time the pain in the butt because you have to pack up your dirty laundry, carry it out to some "my beautiful launderette," and -- you know -- interact. It takes a lot of self-discipline not to put if off forever.

Launderettes are a lot less common here than they were in NYC or San Francisco, where I lived before. Its pretty standard for a London flat to include a washer/dryer and most student accommodations (which the article lays the blame on) have washer/dryers in the basement. So, thats not really the reason.
posted by vacapinta at 1:46 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I change my sheets maybe once or twice a month. More if the SO and I are sweating on them a lot because it's summer, or because we're humping a lot. Occassionally I'll let it slide for a few months, but not usually much more than that. I love the soft feel and smell of freshly laundered bedding, especially if I'm freshly bathed and dressed in clean jammies.

I really don't think I've ever had stinky sheets, though, no matter how long I've gone without changing them. The record is probably close to a year :)

See, I have no body odor. Many of you will not believe me. You'll be thinking I'm just some dirtball who has become so accustomed to her own stink that she can no longer smell it, but I promise this is not so.

I've never once worn deoderant. I can go for days without washing--sweating, exercising, etc. all the while--and if you put your nose directly in my armpit you wouldn't smell anything but skin and clean sweat. Several people have confirmed this for me. No BO. At times I've actually worried about it because it doesn't seem normal. My sister is the same way, so we figure it's genetic. I read that it may be related to the type of earwax we have. Everyone has either "wet" or "dry" earwax and supposedly those with the dry type don't typically have underarm stink. What's weird about that is:
A) I'm white, and this genetic feature is much more commonly found in Asian populations
B) I'm an otherwise pretty greasy person. Super oily skin. My hair has to be washed daily or it looks like I've been styling it with bacon grease. So my whole head is an oil-slick, but my earwax is dry. I don't get it.

Whoa. That was a bit tangential, and possibly TMI. In conclusion, changing your bedding at least once a month is probably optimal for most people, but the frequency should be adjusted to suit personal taste, stinkiness, and time spent frolicking. And if someone you've never met tells you they don't stink, don't smugly assume that it's simply not possible. I'm living proof!
posted by apis mellifera at 1:51 AM on February 18, 2010


molecicco, we've got that part going correctly, thank goodness. But duvet covers are often bulkier than plain top sheets (mine doesn't even have a duvet in it due to hot flashes), and what about the occasional extra blankets?

I shower before I sleep. I do a thorough sponge before work everyday and before I put on the comfy clothes. I'm not trying to be difficult. Just don't want to be considered "gross" either.

Granted, soon, I'll have a pair of teenagers who will be doing their own wash, especially their own bedding. I'm lucky right now in that the worst hormonal issue any of us have is my peri-menopause, so I'm ultra-sensitive to my own sweatfest, when it happens.

Right now, the blanket washing schedule is in the spring, and then they get thoroughly cleaned and dried, then stored until the next cold season.

Now, it's time for me to shower, so I don't get ripe. (Any hints about jeans, etc. are still appreciated.)
posted by lilywing13 at 2:06 AM on February 18, 2010


"Don't you know that soap is a tool of The Man? I myself only wash with rainwater cascading from spruce trees under a full moon..."

I went to that college (albeit years later), and she's totally spot-on. Hampshire started providing free laundry during my 2nd year... well, by "free," I mean "laundry funded by the student activities fund rather than quarters." So, you paid a flat rate in your tuition and got laundry.

This was referred to campus-wide as "The Hippie Tax" as the hippies who never did their laundry had to pay for it anyway. And believe me, these hippies were legion.

(It also meant that you could lure cute Smith girls [and all of their dirty clothes] home with you with promises of free laundry.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:50 AM on February 18, 2010


I want to know what the thing is with denim as well. It seems to have some grunge resistant property or maybe it is merely perfectly camoflaged. The only people I have ever seen in my life with denim on who looked or smelled dirty were street people who had been wearing the same pair pants 24 hours a day for months continuous.

Everybody I knew in college wore the same pair jeans 16 hours a day for 3 straight weeks when they did one load laundry.

Obviously what some of you folks really want is denim sheets.
posted by bukvich at 3:50 AM on February 18, 2010


Yeah, I do the duvet cover every second or third sheet-washing wash. It takes up about 75% of the washing machine (we have a small washing machine). I don't have a real stuffed duvet, it's just a duvet-shaped blanked and that get's washed once or twice a year.
posted by molecicco at 4:09 AM on February 18, 2010


When the semen stains take over as the primary pattern visible on your bedsheets it's time to wash them. IMO.
posted by longbaugh at 4:29 AM on February 18, 2010


When the semen stains take over as the primary pattern visible on your bedsheets it's time to wash them. IMO.

Obviously, what I need is acid washed denim sheets.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:51 AM on February 18, 2010


"...sleeping European style with separate duvets and no top sheet"

I wasn't aware of this. Is this right, that Europeans tend not to use top sheets when sleeping under covered duvets?
posted by Auden at 5:19 AM on February 18, 2010


Yes this is right. There was a whole AskMe about it.
posted by jessamyn at 5:22 AM on February 18, 2010


Yes, I used sheets and blankets in San Francisco.

My wife (from Portugal) was used to just covered duvets - and thats how we do it now. The duvet cover and sheets get washed regularly.
posted by vacapinta at 5:31 AM on February 18, 2010


>>"Don't you know that soap is a tool of The Man? I myself only wash with rainwater cascading from spruce trees under a full moon..."

>I went to that college (albeit years later), and she's totally spot-on.


I went to a west coast version of that college, and her description applied there, too. You could have offered not only free laundry machines, but also fold-and-iron services performed by beautiful people in scanty outfits who would also serve you free cookies and beer, and the hippies would still have complained about the man keeping them down. Sadly, we had to provide our own quarters.

But honestly, I'll take stinky over stuck up any day, so hippies are all right with me. I work with some people who are all "deodorant is bad for you" -- they smell fine in the morning, though by 5:30 it's better to not be directly downwind. But it's an honest kind of stink, much better than when someone douses their self in so much perfume or cologne that it makes your nose burn.
posted by Forktine at 5:41 AM on February 18, 2010


Oh, yes, this is shaping up to be another MetaFilter classic. Pretty soon someone will show up with the cost of electricity and detergent calculation. Then 'are dryer sheets really bad?' Then line-drying laundry is making a comeback except if your HOA forbids it. The possibilities are endless, peolple, be creative here!


How often do you suppose Epic Beard Guy launders his sheets?
posted by fixedgear at 11:57 PM on February 17 [8 favorites +] [!]


I was all geared up to laugh at this until I got to your username and suddenly stopped.
posted by srboisvert at 5:42 AM on February 18, 2010


That was an interesting thread, jessamyn. Thanks; I'm American and never use a top sheet under my duvet for exactly the same reasons expressed by many of the British and European commenters (pointlessness, annoying tangle factor, etc). I had no idea that, in Europe, I'd be in the norm.
posted by Auden at 6:17 AM on February 18, 2010


I was all geared up to laugh at this until I got to your username and suddenly stopped.

I was fixing to post an angry retort until I figured it out. They say 'fixed wheel' on your side of the pond.
posted by fixedgear at 6:17 AM on February 18, 2010


palliser wrote:
At first, reading this thread, I thought the same thing, but then I thought maybe all these people are just ten times awesomer than me and are keeping their sheets pristine by having sex, like, on the kitchen counters or suspended from the ceiling or something.


Yeah, you know that couch you're sitting on...? Or that dinner table we're eating from...? :o
posted by wierdo at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2010


Heh. Sheets are a Hugely Important Topic in our house. Our sheet-buying trips are long and torturous with much rubbing and feeling of samples, weighing of merits, and discussions of finishes. Sheet Washing Day is a weekly holiday with Sunday naps on fresh sheets being a highly anticipated event beloved by all. We also have cats and so anti-cat measures are carefully followed thusly: sheets and blankets pulled up and over pillows with a draped throw placed over the resulting pillow slope-- which seals off access to the bare sheets (the cats' preference.) Also, there are strict laundry rules (instituted by spouse, not self) which dictates no other objects of laundry can be placed in washer with the sheets. Only warm water and no liquid softener. Into the dryer on gentle cycle and at the shortest time possible.

I must also confess that around here I am known as The Sheethen due to my lack of sheet respect-- I can sometimes be found asleep with the top sheet squished into a puddle around my feet and the blanket making contact with my bare flesh.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:47 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me: I'm really surprised what people choose to get all up in arms about.

FFF: You may be reading more into things than it merits. No one actually gives a hoot whether you sleep in your own filth for weeks on end. Not even me.

Perhaps I should rephrase: I'm really surprised at what people choose to get self-righteous and judgmental about. I'm not necessarily talking about you, but seriously, some people in this thread... be proud of your time spent in the Peace Corps, or the time you climbed Mount Everest, but... how often you wash your sheets? No. And as for judging people, again, find better things on which to base your assessment of people. You really want to label people as dirty and filthy because they don't wash their sheets as much as you? And imply that they smell bad, whether they know it or not?
posted by Evangeline at 7:52 AM on February 18, 2010


Once a week? Seriously?

Sure. Every sunday. Clean sheets feel awesome.


Yep. Clean sheets on the bed every Sunday night. It's like a treat before the work week.
posted by jokeefe at 7:57 AM on February 18, 2010


You really want to label people as dirty and filthy because they don't wash their sheets as much as you? And imply that they smell bad, whether they know it or not?

Well, sure. That's what MetaFilter is for.
posted by Floydd at 7:58 AM on February 18, 2010


And as for judging people, again, find better things on which to base your assessment of people.

You are right, and I'm gonna go back to judging people on the books they read or don't read, the music they listen to, what they wear, where they live, and what they do for a living.
posted by fixedgear at 8:14 AM on February 18, 2010


Or, alternatively, just don't judge people.
posted by Evangeline at 8:17 AM on February 18, 2010


The showering in the morning crowd seem counter-intuitive to me.

Those of us over 30 will tell you that a funny thing called "pillow face" starts happening as you age and that these wrinkles are best ironed out in a steamy shower; otherwise you look haggard all day. Also: hair care.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:19 AM on February 18, 2010


Any parent of a ten year old boy is familiar with this syndrome.
posted by cross_impact at 8:43 AM on February 18, 2010


Can't the kitties lick the sheets clean?

Oh my goodness. My dog has been licking the sheets for years, and I couldn't figure out why, but now I know: she was cleaning them! Bless her heart. She's finally earning her keep.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:48 AM on February 18, 2010


Next Hot Topic: Changing Underwear, Changing Socks.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 AM on February 18, 2010


Change them into what?
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 AM on February 18, 2010


We wear socks and underwear in public. Where their funk can be detected.

Look, if you're walking around in a bedsheet, then please change it once a day. Otherwise, it's not a big deal.
posted by muddgirl at 9:38 AM on February 18, 2010


I change my sheets at least once a week, usually twice a week. I followed this pattern even when I didn't have my own washer and dryer and had to walk to the laundromat. Clean sheets are just that important to me.

I also shower both a.m. and p.m. In the morning to shave my legs and wash my hair. I shower again before bed because I work out in the evenings, and would never want to go to bed sweaty.

Personally, I think dirty sheets are just foul. But if someone else wants to sleep that way, more power to them. It doesn't effect me.
posted by MorningPerson at 10:00 AM on February 18, 2010


I only clean my sheets after I have clipped my cat's nails on them, performed a circumcision on them or after I have written a diatribe about fat people whilst lounging on them.
posted by longbaugh at 10:35 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would change my sheets more often if I didn't then have to make the bed.

Who doesn't like clean sheets? But making the bed? Ugh, that's worse than cleaning the cat's litter box.
posted by librarylis at 10:40 AM on February 18, 2010


Who doesn't like clean sheets? But making the bed? Ugh, that's worse than cleaning the cat's litter box.

What?
posted by fixedgear at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait, you're supposed to wash your sheets?

/hamburger
posted by sandraregina at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2010


I'm with Forktine. Once a week, and always has been--back as a kid growing up in my parents' home (probably why it feels so normal and no big deal), even as a broke 'n lazy college kid schlepping her sacks of laundry to the public 'mat, and now as a duplex apartment dweller with her own laundry hook ups. Sure, we'll occasionally get super busy or whatever and it'll go closer to 2 weeks than every, but that's the exception, not the norm. And we are so not clean freaks in general, no happy housekeeper am I (if you're on the more anal side of things like some of our friends you'd probably get to feel superior if you dropped by for a visit; our place is OLD and somewhat run-down, and we do all our own housekeeping, and not super vigilantly either, though routinely yeah). It does come down to what feels normal from how I was raised, plus yeah, it just feels really nice, and while not unbearable or anything there is definitely a stale sort of smell if you let them go a real long time and use your bed uh, vigorously. Occasionally we snack in ours, and we've been known to just hang out--watch movies and play video games--in it a lot too. Plus, we don't like to sleep in full-on sleep outfits when we can help it, and we have cats. We both shower in the morning (whoever said upthread it's a lovely routine that freshens your brain for the work day is spot-on) and I cook a LOT late into the evening, so I'm usually kinda...wilted by nighttime. And YES, you get to play that "freak your cat and put them on a defensive battleground" game once a week like clockwork. Fun times.
posted by ifjuly at 11:46 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Now this we will carry with us in the vanguard!" Ignatius shouted over the sprinkled applause. He dramatically whipped from his pelvis the sheet, flapping it open. Among the yellow the word FORWARD was printed in high block letters in red crayon. Below this Crusade for Moorish Dignity was written in a intricate blue script.

"I wonder who been sleepin on that old thing," the intense woman with the spiritual bent , who was to be the leader of the choir, said. "Lord!"
posted by xod at 12:24 PM on February 18, 2010


I'm telling you guys, it's so much easier once you convert yourself to a being of pure energy. None of this "bedsheets" and "laundry" crap, every day you go commando and you never, ever sleep...

Because that's when they'll catch you and make put you into a battery.

Those fuckers at Duracell are the creatures of our nightmares.
posted by quin at 2:25 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My dog has been licking the sheets for years ...

Ew, dog spit.
posted by bwg at 4:14 PM on February 18, 2010



If any of you all had been in the Marine Corps you would have learned that once a week is the (Marine Corps) way.
posted by notreally at 5:37 PM on February 18, 2010


"Can I borrow your pillow? It smells like you."

Oh, no. I'm weeping now.
posted by SPrintF at 6:54 PM on February 18, 2010


If any of you all had been in the Marine Corps you would have learned that once a week is the (Marine Corps) way.

Yeah, but when you bounce a quarter off that bed it puts your eye out.
posted by fixedgear at 6:55 PM on February 18, 2010


Metafilter: about how beautiful their dumps are, and how if you'd only do what they're doing, you could have sparkling clean shit too!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:43 AM on February 19, 2010


I sort of want links to the "sparkling clean shit" threads. That would really make my afternoon.
posted by palliser at 11:37 AM on February 19, 2010


palliser see here
posted by bukvich at 2:53 PM on February 19, 2010


It's Maine, it's cold, and I don't like to run the furnace a lot. I wear pajamas, or, more often, a long flannel nightie(sorry if that's tmi). Sometimes I wear fleece socks in bed. These clothes are easily laundered. I shower often. I wash the pillowcases about weekly. So the sheets are pretty clean. My goal is to change the sheets monthly, and I often attain it, but, if not, no big deal.

My adolescent son, who sleeps in boxer shorts, and has adolescent male hormones? I could walk into his room and tell with 1 sniff how old the sheets are.

The feel of fresh, clean, cotton sheets is wonderful, and I wish my fairy godmother would come and change them weekly. But it's one of my least favorite household chores.
posted by theora55 at 8:22 AM on February 23, 2010


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