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Yikes! Study Says Unwashed Pillowcases Have 17 Times More Bacteria Than Toilet Seats

Let's make sure we wash our damn pillowcases, yeah?
pillowcases more bacteria
PHOTO: Pexels

We don't have to be a neat freak to know that our pillows have probably seen the worst parts of us (how romantic). What we mean by that is, chances are, a long day ends with us hitting our crusty three-week-old sheets without so much as a proper wash sometimes. Yuck, yes. But come on, we may or may not all be guilty of this from time to time. Good thing the bacteria doesn't ruin our dreams... or so we thought.

Apparently, our pillowcases are breeding grounds for bacteria. And it's a lot worse than we previously thought. According to a report by mattress and bedding company Amerisleep, it only takes one week for pillowcases and sheets to have "between three million and five million CFUs (colony-forming units [of bacteria]) per square inch.” The study, of all things, confirms that “pillowcases washed a week ago have over 17 thousand times the number of bacteria as a toilet seat.”



Sheets, too, were found to have nearly 25 thousand times the bacteria than the average bathroom door knob. Bacteria like these were said to have caused infections like pneumonia and food poisoning. Amerisleep also says that no matter how clean we think they are, we must exercise a bit of caution when dealing with old beddings and the like. At some point, we all need to replace them, as washing only limits bacteria growth. They might still be there.

All our sweat, body oil, saliva, and hair, as well as our dead skin cells, contribute to our pillowcases' deterioration, creating a cozy home for bacteria to take over. Amerisleep noted that washing pillows and pillowcases can get rid of odor, but not allergens. The company claims that we need to replace our pillows every two or three years. Our pillowcases, on the other hand, would benefit from a good weekly wash.

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The one caveat in all this, however, is the part where Amerisleep failed to consider the kind of fabric that attracts more bacteria than the next. It probably will come soon enough. Until then, let's just make sure we wash our damn pillowcases then, yeah?

*This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by editors.

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