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If it’s stained, you ought to wash it. If it smells, then you definitely ought to wash it. But are those the only reasons to wash something? Nope; there are plenty of things that for the sake of our health ought to get a regular wash, and these are just a few of them.

Woman sleeping in bed

The kitchen sponge

We use them to wipe up spillages, scrub dirty plates, clean up chopping boards, and we leave them in dirty puddles of washing up water. It’s for that reason that our kitchen sponges can contain up to 10 million bacteria per square inch! To stop germs from spreading you should rinse it out thoroughly every day and wash it on a hot wash once a week.

Bedding

Just think of all the things our bedding comes into contact with on a nightly basis – sweat, hair oil, saliva, dead skin cells, outside dirt, and on occasion other things as well… Yet despite this, according to a YouGov poll almost a quarter of us only wash our sheets once a month, and over a third only wash them once a fortnight. But to avoid the spreading of germs you should definitely wash them on a hot wash (60c or more) once a week, and, if possible, dry them in direct sunlight as UV light can kill micro-organisms.

Pillows

The average unwashed pillow can contain any of 16 different species of fungi, one of which; Aspergillus fumigatus, can cause a serious lung infection that can then spread throughout your body. Wash your pillow every three months on a cycle that is 60c or hotter!

New clothes

Wash them before you wear them! While the fact that people will have been trying them on in the shop before you bought them may not be a big problem, new clothes can have fabric treatments/chemicals/loose dyes still on them and these can irritate your skin if put into direct contact. Jumpers and coats are such an issue, but certainly any new underwear or gym wear should get laundered before wear.

Slippers

As often as possible. Just think of how often you wash your socks! Usually after each time of wearing? Your slippers come into just as close contact with your feet and given how warm and toasty they are; they are a great environment for germ growth.

Bath towels

Once a week is ideal for bath towels, but when you do wash them make sure you don’t put too much detergent in with them as this can make them less fluffy. Another thing to ensure is that you dry them in the tumble drier, as air-drying them can make them go stiff and scratchy.

Hand towels

Wash these every two or three days. It might sound extreme but considering how many different people use them, and for how many different reasons (hand drying, wiping off toothpaste etc), and the fact that they’re usually hung near a toilet, they can collect germs very quickly.

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