Experts (and some millennials) say it's unsanitary to skip a top sheet
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Is it the truth, though? This millennial (me) thinks not. People who don’t use top sheets are on the same plane as those who wear jeans without underwear, or sneakers without socks, or don't wet their toothbrush before brushing: it’s just weird (and kind of gross).
People say millennials “killed” chain restaurants, marriage, & napkins... But WHEN will they acknowledge our greatest take-down yet?? TOP SHEETS. I don’t know a single millennial who uses one. Top sheets are archaic. This is just the truth.— JesseLynn (@JesseLynnHarte) March 22, 2018
A bed is meant to be made with both a fitted sheet (the elastic-edged sheet that hugs tight to your mattress), and a top sheet (the large, flat sheet that acts as a barrier between you and your comforter). Why? Because sleeping without a top sheet is unsanitary.
Mary Johnson, Tide Principal Scientist at Procter & Gamble, is an expert on skin care and skin biology. She told me that just by existing, each day, "people produce one liter of sweat, 40 grams of sebum (the stuff in your pores that makes your skin oily), 10 grams of salt, and 2 billion skin cells.
And that’s just the top line, she says. "All that stuff that happens below the waist [and] up by your head—skincare products, hair care products, ear wax, snot, drool, lots of really gross stuff—is transferred to your sheets."
Now consider that the average person spends one third of their life in bed, and the average millennial probably spends double that amount of time, avoiding plans, binging Netflix, and scrolling through their Instagram feed (lol jk but not really). Imagine what else is lurking in that gross bed you love to spend so much time in.
Sleeping between sheets and washing them frequently is so important. "Think of it as double bagging," says Johnson. "You’ve got that layer of your night clothes, and then you have your top sheet between your comforter."
Johnson says sheets should be washed once a week, "but we know people don’t. How much worse are they at washing their comforter and their quilt?" Most people wash their bulky, cumbersome comforters once every several months, at best. "That is something we’d never recommend for sheets."
Without a layer of a top sheet between your body and a comforter, "that comforter is going to get really, really dirty," Johnson says. If you absolutely hate how a top sheet feels, at the very least, you should be using a duvet to protect your comforter from your grotesque bodily secretions, and it should also be washed at least once a week. Otherwise, your luxurious, cozy comforter becomes—like your pillow—a hotbed for fungus, bacteria, and dirt. Yuck.
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