How often do you change your bed sheets?


You know that delicious feeling when you slip into freshly laundered bed sheets? Ever wondered why it feels so good?

I once saw a microscope image of a shirt collar. All the strands of cotton were neatly interwoven into an attractive criss-cross pattern. Next to it was another photo of the same shirt collar 24 hours later, after having been worn by someone. What a difference! The strands were now coated with thick, encrusted layers of gunk, invisible to the naked eye but looking like a backdrop to a horror movie when examined close up.

Exactly the same thing happens with bed sheets — or more so, depending on how often you change them. A study at the University of Oregon in 2015 discovered that each of us is surrounded by a unique cloud of microbes, and we leave a trail of them wherever we go, mixed in with particles from our breath, skin, hair, and clothes, and the dust we pick up in our travels. Each centimetre of our skin contains thousands of bacteria, and every time we move, breathe, fart, or scratch ourselves, they become airborne.

We aren’t born this way — babies have no microbes at all — but we collect them during the process of birth and in the first few years of life until they actually outnumber our human cells by a ratio of about 4:3. (Incidentally, it’s thought that this may explain why babies who are born through caesarian section have a higher risk for certain allergies and obesity, because they do not acquire the usual vaginal microbes during the birth process.)

It’s not known yet how far a person’s microbial cloud extends, but it’s believed to be several feet. The energetic counterpart of this is well documented in ancient Hindu texts, and is known as the aura (the part of the human etheric that surrounds the physical body). We also excrete etheric debris everywhere we go, and particularly during the hours of sleep, when the etheric body is revitalized.

The fact of the matter is that when you sleep in the same bed sheets night after night, you are sleeping in layers of your body’s own bacterial excrement and your etheric’s nightly excretion of grunge.

The quality of your sleep at night directly affects the quality of your waking life, so weekly changing of bed sheets is a must, and if you wear night clothes, aim to change them daily or at least every two days. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes.

Related article
Why keeping a laundry basket in the bedroom is a feng shui no-no
Why it feels so good to sleep in your own bed

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2016

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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13 Responses to How often do you change your bed sheets?

  1. Thank you for your books I’ve had them for almost 20 years. In addition to this, I guess you recommend showering every day? Can you write about the benefits of this? I would like to show it to an elderly relative who showers once a week. Thank you for your blog.

    1. Hi Sophia – I do shower each morning myself, including washing my hair. During the 20 years I lived in Bali, the climate was so humid that, like everyone else, I showered each morning and evening. However, I use tiny quantities of soap and shampoo and only the kind that contain no parabens or other nasties. I’m not planning to write an article about this because each person’s needs and preferences are different. In the case of your relative, if he/she shows other forms of self-neglect, you might want to read up on Diogenes Syndrome.

  2. FASCINATING, as well as helpful.

    Fellow Haute Couture Designer, Valentino (Garavani) has always had his household help change his LINEN fiber bed linens daily with freshly washed and ironed ones.

    Seemed a tad obsessive to me years ago, but now I see the higher wisdom in it.
    I swoon at the Luxury of this practice. X O

  3. Dear Karen. Thank you for this clarification and reasoning behind changing sheets weekly. I would think that if you do not wear night clothes, changing sheets more often would be desirable. I do wear night clothes and not because of your blog, I will be changing nightly. I also pull my top covers down during the day to let my sheets “breathe”. If it’s a sunny day, I open the curtains and open the windows to let the sun do its work. Does this make sense?

    1. Washing your sheets weekly and peeling them back each day to air your bed for an hour or so while you have breakfast helps to keep dust mites under control. So even if you wear night clothes that you change each day, it is still best to wash your sheets every week. And there is no advantage to leaving your bed unmade all day. It means you will miss out on all the benefits that starting your day that way can bring.

  4. All of you are TOO funny!

    I believe that I am a wee bit OCD when it comes to space where people sit- I feel as if it is “contaminated”. I fully realize that this is beyond odd. Seeing someone sit on a bed in their street clothes, as I call them, is nothing short of gross! It absolutely puts me over the edge if it’s done in my home. HAVE to wash everything

    Maybe I can attribute a little of my craziness to being overly sensitive to the gunk left by others!

    1. Dear Jody, you may be more OCD than you think. I am very aware of energy imprints left by people and draw the line at shoes in my bedroom, but it wouldn’t bother me at all if someone I know well were to sit on my bed, street clothes and all. If contamination fears intrude into other parts of your life too, I warmly recommend you seek help. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has a good success rate with this.

  5. Another life changing article by Karen Kingston! Grabbed all my clothes for a gentle wash though they do not look or feel dirty. The bit about microbes motivated me. Thank you.

  6. I change my sheets every two weeks, but this is because I have a queen size bed and sleep on one side of the bed one week and then switch sides. Is the grunge floating over to side #2 even when I’m not sleeping on it? I thought I was being so clever and saving water at the same time!

  7. Well yuck ! Off to boil my sheets, the mattress, the bed frame, the floorboards, the cats and possibly the children….

    1. Taking the cat to dry cleaner as I speak. Sheets and towels changed on new moon and full moon. And pj’s when they can stand up on their own…lol just joking!

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