Hey there, let’s be honest: How often do you wash your sheets, towels, undies, and basically every personal utility? We know very much that keeping our personal hygiene can be a tough job, (be glad your parents did a good job raising you), but you really should be washing those personal items a lot more than you might think, and we’re here to tell you why.
Related media: How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
All Work And No Wash, Makes Jack A Dirty Boy
An article on Business Insider reports that as soon as you use your towel, “… it becomes a breeding ground of bacteria; fungi; dead skin cells; salivary, anal, and urinary secretions; and many other germs lingering in your bathroom that may have hopped onto your towel — including droplets from your toilet.”
Sounds really gross but that’s the hard truth; this seems like an unrealistic request to wash your towel after each use, though, that’s what researchers suggest.
“If you can dry it completely, no more than three times max,” says Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine.
Even if your towel hangs completely dry between uses, “A damp towel is growing,” Tierno says. “If there is odor coming from the towel, wherever there is odor, there are microbes growing, so it should be washed.”
Your towels are indeed a breeding habitat for most microbes — bacteria, germs, viruses, mold, and other debris; because your towels might contain the necessary requirements that support microbial life to flourish — water, warm temperatures, oxygen, food, and a neutral pH. The human body provides an ideal habitat for microbes to survive, and as a result make it easy for pathogens to invade our bodies and do harm.
You’re Much Gross Than You Think
By wicking the moisture off your body, microbes and other secretions — such as cellular debris that live on your body — are transferred onto your towel. Your cellular debris and other secretions serve as food for the microbes, and the moisture serves as water at a neutral pH. But it’s hard to say whether the microbes growing on your towel are harmful, Tierno added, since most germs in our households aren’t dangerous.
And, if you’re sharing your towels with your significant other! That’s not a great idea, your own microbes may not be harmful, but you could potentially come into contact with microbes that your body isn’t used to dealing with such as Staphylococcus aureus — a round-shaped bacterium usual found on the skin — which may give rise to a boil, or a pimple, or an infection.
If your thoughts were just your bath towels were bad, well, your bed sheets are double as gross as your towels. Additionally, to the types of human residue found on your towels, sheets can pick up dirty things like animal dander, pollen, cosmetics (oils and creams), and dust mites. Natural debris is also weighing down your pillows with fungus. As these substances accumulate, they could be aggravating your allergies — ever wonder why you wake up with a stuffy nose?
Here’s a really particular gross fact: Humans produce more than 26 gallons of sweat in their beds each year. Huh? Where do you think that sweat is going? Tierno insists that your sheets “should be washed probably on the average of once a week.” And if you don’t use a top sheet, this goes for your comforter, too.
A Wash A Day Keep The Microbes Away
Now, let’s talk about your clothes. We are curious about the ones ignored when it comes to hygiene — your undies and workout gear. How often do you wash those yoga pants? Probably, more often than you already do. That high-tech athletic fabric that helps whisk away your sweat is also hanging on to dirt.
“Bacteria and yeast will still be on those clothes the next day — possibly in higher number if they’ve multiplied, which they can do even when the clothes are dry,” says Dierdre Hooper, M.D., a dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans, in an interview with Shape.
So wash them after every wear. Your yoga classmates will thank you.
Where’re my ladies, now let’s discuss those bras. If you only wash your bras every couple of weeks or so, you’re not alone — but you need to re-think your strategy. Dermatologist Josh Zeichner recommends to Shape that women wash their bras after five wears. Just five. And sports bras? They should be washed every single time. Like your yoga pants, you can’t always tell when your sports bras are building up sweat. So let’s try to stay clean (and not smelly).
Last and most importantly, be aware that your towels, sheets, and every personal utility you have is getting disgusting, and you’re probably not washing it enough.
“The idea is to be prudent and to be aware,” as Tierno concludes.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Feb 04, 2019.