You need to ditch these 4 bad habits that are making your bed dirty

From sleeping with wet hair to sharing your bed with your pets, experts warn that these bad habits could be making our sleep space unsanitary

(Image credit: Piglet in Bed, Bluebell Somerley Stripe Linen Duvet Cover)

It's said that the average person spends around 26 years of their lifetime sleeping – which amounts to a lot of time spent in our beds. So, it's only logical that we would want to keep our sleeping spaces as hygienic and germ-free as possible.

But keeping your bed and your bedroom clean isn't just about washing your sheets once in a while. Everyday bad habits could be making your bed a breeding ground for bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens.

From simple actions like drying your hair before bed to regularly airing out your linens, there are several steps you can take to ensure your bed stays fresh as a daisy. Here are four common habits that might be making your bed unsanitary and how to fix them:

1. Sleeping with wet hair

A built-in bed with a canopy and curtains

(Image credit: Piglet in Bed)

'If you are sleeping with wet hair, you may risk your pillow becoming moldy,' warns Rhiannon Johns, Head of Brand at Piglet in Bed. 'As you sleep, your pillow will absorb the moisture from your hair, and as we know, moisture and warmth breed bacteria.

Whilst you might not be able to see it, the unsanitary consequences of sleeping with wet hair could begin to affect your skin, eyes, and even your airways,' Rhiannon explains. 'So, whilst I would always recommend drying your hair before bed, if this is not an option, make sure to remove your pillow from its cover first thing in the morning and air them both out.'

It's also recommended to wash your pillows once every couple of months to keep them fresh and sanitary.

Headshot of Rhiannon Johns, Head of Brand at Piglet in Bed
Rhiannon Johns

Rhiannon is Head of Brand at Piglet in Bed, purveyors of sustainably-sourced bedding made from natural materials.

2. Sharing our beds with our pets

'Every dog owner is guilty of swearing they will never let their dog sleep in their bed until they fall victim to the puppy dog eyes,' says Rhiannon. 'But with dogs comes dirt, and with dirt comes bacteria, and letting them sleep in or on your bed will most definitely make your bedroom dirtier.'

But no one expects you to banish your pets to the floor completely! Just keep your pet's health in check and wash your bedding as often as possible (weekly is recommended). Of course, if washing your bed sheets so regularly isn’t feasible, you could also invest in a second bedding set to rotate and wash both bedding sets bi-weekly.

3. Wearing socks to bed

Wearing a cozy pair of socks to bed might seem harmless, but this habit can actually make your bed unsanitary. Throughout the day, our socks pick up a variety of germs, including fecal matter, which can transfer to your sheets. Over time, these germs accumulate, creating an unhygienic sleeping environment filled with bacteria and dust mites.

So, while wearing socks to bed isn't a significant health risk, it's far from clean. To keep your bed sanitary, consider alternatives like wearing indoor slippers or using a hot water bottle to stay warm. Of course, if you're still committed to wearing socks, please just make sure they are clean and wash your feet before bed!

4. Sitting on the bed in a towel

Most of us are guilty of getting out of the bath or shower and sitting on the bed as we get ready for the day. But much like sleeping with wet hair, your bedding will absorb the moisture, making it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

'To avoid this, find a new procrastination spot, and before making your bed in the morning, throw back the duvet to aerate it,' recommends Rhiannon. 'For a more thorough freshening, hang it over your washing line outdoors to air dry when the weather allows. The sun will help to kill bacteria too, so make the most of any sunshine.'

How many of these bad habits do you unintentionally make? Fear not, if you learn to deep clean your bed, it's possible to keep your sleep space fresh and clean year-round.

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.