The Importance of the Top Sheet: Teaching our Children to Keep a Home

Over the last year it has been really interesting to me to see posts from bloggers about not washing their bed sheets. I am absolutely floored at the amount of people who commented with an “Amen” and the length of time that most people go between washings (the average seeming to be 3-6 months from what I read in comments).

Now before you all think I’m some special housewife, I get it. I have often struggled to maintain dishes and regular laundry let alone bed sheets, usually due to health issues, but not always. Let me tell you something I won’t do, though. I won’t brag about it on social media. Because not keeping my house clean is not a badge I wear with honour. It’s actually something I really struggle with and feel it’s one area as a Christian mom that I, personally, need to work on.

Proverbs 31 tells us of a special lady who kept her house clean. Her children called her “blessed” because she did the needful things. Titus tells us that women are to be “keepers at home.” That’s not a death sentence, Ladies. That is a higher calling!

My mom has always been that Proverbs 31 woman to me. I look back and honestly wonder how she got it all done (I remember us having an immaculate house and her still having time to read). My mom had a strict schedule when it came to our house. I’m terrible with following schedules. Something I wish I had more in common with my mom.

When it came to the bed linens, though, my mom had a no-nonsense approach to keeping them clean! My mom washed her bed linens every week (because she said two people slept on them!) and us kids washed ours every other week (also cutting down on water since we paid for that). I don’t remember ever missing that bi-weekly switch. It was a Saturday ritual.

To top it off, my mom would also stand and iron every single pillowcase Saturday night before bed. Eventually that became my job and I remember, when I got married, people laughed at me because I still did it (in all disclosure, I haven’t ironed pillowcases in years)

Well, Ladies (and Gents if you’re the ones who keep the house), it turns out there is a good reason for my mom’s schedule and cleaning regimen. And one that makes that top sheet, that so many throw away, incredibly important:

Bacteria

Let’s start off by saying that not all bacteria is bad. If you know Science, you know that our bodies are made up of bacteria and there are both good and bad bacteria.

However, if we look at what we do in the run of a day, and what we place on our beds, you’ll get a picture of what you’re sleeping in.

Imagine the effects of this on your health?

When we don’t wash our sheets on a regular basis, that bacteria continues to build. Check out the articles below for more information on this.

And I didn’t even think about this until I started looking for articles to back up my premise on the importance of a top sheet! For all of you who think the top sheet is unimportant, just think about when you finally get around to washing your bottom sheet, do you wash your top duvet?

I actually remember my mom telling me this when I was a kid and was questioning the importance of a top sheet. That top sheet essentially “helps” (it’s not the end-all, be-all mind you,) but it helps act as a barrier to keep your duvet cleaner than if you didn’t use one. And you should also wash your duvet a couple times a year!

So yes, the top sheet, and teaching our children about this, is IMPORTANT.

I’m so thankful for the lessons my mom taught me. Although I haven’t been as good at keeping up with them in my house, I recognize my need to grow in this area. I want to teach my children to have habits that encourage healthy habits. What are one of the things we should be teaching them? How to wash bedding. It sounds silly, but it’s quickly becoming a lost art, and it makes me wonder if a lot of the health issues we face could be fixed by keeping up with daily chores around the house.

Here are some easy steps you can use to help your kids learn to keep their beds clean:

  1. No eating in bed.
  2. In the morning, fold your sheets back for an hour and allow your bed to “dry” before making it..
  3. Make your bed (don’t place anything on your sheets)
  4. Change the sheets and pillowcases weekly
  5. Wash the mattress pad and pillows at least twice a year
  6. Use natural sprays or essential oils on your mattress to kill dust mites, etc.
  7. Diffuse essential oils in the bedrooms to help cut down on dust and more…

Let’s teach our kids to do better! <3

Sources:

Dunn, Robert, Home Life: Factors Structuring the Bacterial Diversity Found within and between Homes, 2013

Shultz, Colin, Germophobes Take Note: Your Pillowcase Is As Dirty As Your Toilet, SmithsonianMag.com, 2012

WebMD.com, Health Hazards When You Don’t Wash Your Sheets, Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, 2019

Hyde, Mackenzie, Bacteria in your Bed, amerisleep.com, 2020

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About Amanda Cunningham

Amanda worked as a full-time school teacher for two years before getting married and having three wonderful kids. She blogs about faith, family, food, and fun. While crafting takes up a lot of her extra time, Amanda also strives to help others through ministry in her church and in the community. Amanda, also known as Mae, works as the church music director and homeschools two of her three children