A hygiene doctor has revealed why not washing your bedding could be detrimental to your health. Most of us do not spend as long in bed as we would prefer, and for many washing the linen regularly can be too time-consuming.

However, Dr Lisa Ackerley, who is a hygiene doctor and Dettol Expert is now warning that people who don’t wash their sheets and duvet covers regularly could be putting themselves at risk of catching serious infections and viruses.

Bacteria

She said anyone feeling too time-pressed to do the laundry should think about everything they do in bed, adding: “Depending upon what your bed is used for, and also how clean you are when you get in it, and indeed whether you wear nightwear, your bed can get pretty filthy and may actually be causing your body harm.”

Dr Ackerley says that while everyone has bacteria and fungi on their bodies, the bed provides a place for them to breed. While Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is common, it can build up on sheets if they are not washed, causing urinary tract infections, pneumonia and even an infection of the blood stream, particularly if you break your skin by scratching overnight.

Athelete’s foot and flu

The hygiene doctor also said that athlete’s foot, which is highly contagious, could be passed from person through dirty bedding, as could thrush, which can get into the bed from the body and will only be removed through laundering.

Sheets can also be a breeding ground for yeast infections, which thrive in moisture, and viruses such as the flu, particularly if dirty tissues are left lying around.

Dust mites, which eat dead skin, will also be found in greater numbers in dirty bedding. While they don’t carry diseases, they can cause allergy issues for some people.

Hygienists’ advice is to wash sheets once a week ideally, and at least once a fortnight.