Men, You Have to Wash Your Sheets

A recent survey shows nearly half of men only wash their sheets every four months. That, to put it delicately, is not often enough.

Close-up of hands loading bed sheets into a washing machine
Go wash your sheets you nasties.
Peter Carruthers/Getty

Recently, a reader emailed me to let me know that he often finds the way I talk to men in my articles unnecessarily condescending. Unlike a lot of the unsolicited opinions and advice readers often hurl my way in the form of usually pretty hateful emails, this one actually felt like a pretty valid critique. I do think it’s important not to talk down to your readers. Unfortunately, it can be hard to avoid doing so when it seems the majority of those readers struggle to complete basic tasks like washing their sheets regularly.

Yes, yet another survey of the hygiene practices of men — this one out of the U.K. — has confirmed what most of us have known for a long time: that men, especially the single ones, are nasty little gremlins and you should never, ever spend the night in their bed if you can help it. Why? Because nearly half of them are only washing their sheets every four months. If that doesn’t sound like a shockingly long time to you, then congratulations, you’re part of the problem, sir. (For reference, the ideal length of time between sheet cleanings, according to health experts, is one week.)

Per the study of 2,250 adults, 40% of single men said they sleep in dirty bedsheets for up to four months at a time, with 12% of them saying they “wash when they remember,” which, as the BBC notes, could be even longer. That’s compared to 62% of women who said they wash their sheets every two weeks, and a majority of couples who admitted to a not pristine but certainly very reasonable three-week wash cycle.

Look, men, I don’t know how else to say this: you need to be washing your sheets more often. I’m not trying to talk down to you. Frankly, the vast majority of us could be washing the sheets we sleep, drool and sweat on every night with a little more frequency. Clearly, most of us aren’t out here religiously throwing our sheets in the wash every single week. Doing laundry sucks and putting your clean sheets back on the bed is always a whole thing. But please, for the love of god, just go wash your sheets — and make sure they aren’t navy blue while you’re at it.

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