Sleeping with the enemy: The inevitable dangers lurking in your bedsheets and linens
Just how clean are your towels and sheets? The results of some samples tested by Inside Edition may shock you.
New York mom Kristi Muccini, who runs a busy household with four children, allowed Inside Edition into her home to test the linens, towels and her slippers for bacteria.
Microbiologist Jesse Miller and his team at NSF International in Ann Arbor, Mich., examined the samples from the Muccini household.
"In the towels we found E. coli, which are pathogens for humans; we found coliforms, which are fecal indicator bacteria, which basically tells you there are feces inside the towel," Miller said. "We also found yeast and molds in there and these could be problems for people with allergies."
The microbiologist said the findings, although scary, are typical in towels because, "towels have moisture in them and bacteria like to grow in moisture-rich environments."
However, the sheets also had the same bacteria, but at lower levels. Dr. Miller says there's a good chance that Muccini's cat and two dogs are the culprits.
"We have animals," Dr. Miller said. "They're family. We love them. They live in our house with us. They sleep with us and that's totally reasonable, but if you're going to bring them into your bed with you, you're probably going to have more bacteria so you should know that, understand that, and wash your sheets more regularly."
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The results were enough to convince Muccini to kick the cat out of her bed.
"I'm definitely going to be rethinking having the cat sleep in the bed with us." she said. "I'll miss her, but sorry. This is pretty scary."
As for the slippers, NSF found more of the same bacteria. Dr. Miller says they're a breeding ground because feet can generate a lot of moisture.
His advice? Throw them out after a couple months — especially if you wear them outside and barefoot.
As for your towels, don't leave them bunched up on the floor. That will keep them moist and provide food for bacteria. Instead, hang them on a rod, not a hook, to help them dry faster.
Also, keep the bathroom door open after you shower. It circulates moisture out of the room quicker, giving germs less time to stay moist.
But Dr. Miller says the best thing you can do for both your towels and your sheets is wash them once a week.
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