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Britain’s Dirty Linen 2010-02-17

Posted by clype in Health, Statistics.
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Half a million dirty Britons wash their bed sheets only three times a year, a survey discloses, laying bare the disgusting bedroom habits of the nation.

One in six people also admitted waiting at least a month before washing their bed sheets.

Experts say up to ten per cent of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites, with a dirty bed having about ten million bedbugs.

It would come as no surprise to most mothers but under 25s were found to have the dirtiest bed sheets with one in 10 admitting to washing theirs only six times a year.

In contrast, house-proud over 55s air their dirty laundry on average three times a month.

Londoners were the worst culprits when it comes to unwashed bedding, the survey of 1 029 men and women from across the UK, found.

The capital was closely followed by Brits in the North East, and the South West, also keeping dirty sheets on their bed for more than a month.

Ms. Lisa Ackerley PhD, Environmental Health Practitioner, said unwashed sheets were a breeding ground of disease.

[Picture of Dr Lisa Akerley]
‘An unsavoury (amount) of the British population regularly enjoy a bite to eat in bed… with over 500 000 Brits washing their bedding just three times a year.

‘It’s estimated that 10 per cent of the weight of a two year pillow is comprised of dead skin and dust mites —  so it’s no surprise that your bed can become a minefield of bacteria, viruses, sweat and hair which can cause or exacerbate asthma.

‘Beds are a prime habitat for dust mites.’

She said ‘America’s Environment Health and Safety Online‘ found a typical used mattress had anywhere from 100 000 to 10 million mites inside.

‘Washing your bedding takes time and effort, but, to reduce levels of unwanted organisms and mites, you need to wash your bed linen at least once a fortnight — preferably once a week,’ she said.

Ms. Jacky Brown, of ‘Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance‘, which conducted the study, said: ”

‘With the cold weather making our beds more irresistible than ever, Brits are currently spending more than 49 hours a week sleeping in.

‘The bed is one of the most used and expensive items in the home – so it’s astonishing that more Brits aren’t keeping it clean.

‘With many beds being used as an alternative to the kitchen table for a place to breakfast or snack, it is crucial homeowners have accidental damage cover in the event of a major spillage.’

She added: ‘The average person forking out up to 1020 GBP on their beds, an unpleasant 10 million bed bugs and dust mites sleep alongside you every night.’

Regions with the dirtiest bed sheets:

1. London (24 per cent)
2. North East (22 per cent)
3. South West (21 per cent)
4. East Midlands (19 per cent)
= 4. South East (19 per cent)
6. North West (18 per cent)
= 6. West Midlands (18 per cent)
8. Wales (17 per cent)
9. Eastern England (16 per cent)
10. Scotland (15 per cent)
11. Yorkshire (13 per cent)
12. Northern Ireland (8 per cent)

Note: per cent based on those washing their bedding just once a month or less frequently.Source: Sheilas’ Wheels Home Insurance

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