How Often Do You Change Your Sheets? (And Other Revealing Facts)

How often do you change the sheets on your bed? Once a week? Every two weeks? When they’re stiff enough to stand upright?

How about brushing your teeth, washing your hair or (ugh) re-using your underwear before laundering it?

With the annual rite of spring cleaning upon us, we thought it’d be interesting to see how just how hygienic Americans are, on average, when it comes to these various must-do’s.

The Albany Times Union recently conducted an online poll of its readers. Their results were similar to a 2009 AOL Health survey of more than 20,000 Americans about their hygiene habits. Following is an excerpt of some of the AOL findings from the SciGuy science blog.

(And by the way, you should be washing your sheets weekly — or  every two weeks at most — to get rid of dust mites, crumbs and other icky things. Check out this article from symptomfind.com for the reasons why.)

How often do you wash or change your sheets?

Once a week: 40 percent

Once every couple of weeks: 34 percent

Once a month: 16 percent

Less than once a month: 10 percent

Do you re-wear your underwear before washing?

Never: 78 percent

Once or twice: 17 percent

Three to five times: 4 percent

More than five times: 1 percent

How often do you brush your teeth?

More than twice a day: 12 percent

Twice a day: 41 percent

At least once a day: 42 percent

Often a day goes by without brushing: 5 percent

Ladies, how often do you switch to a clean bra?

After a day or two: 65 percent

After a week: 23 percent

After a couple of weeks: 6 percent

Never: 3 percent

How often do you shower or bathe?

More than once a day: 4 percent

Every day: 65 percent

Every other day: 21 percent

A few times a week: 10 percent

When do you wash your hands during the day?

After going to the bathroom: 19 percent

Before eating: 2 percent

Both of the above: 77 percent

Never: 2 percent

How often do you throw away your pillows?

Less than a year after purchase: 5 percent

A year after purchase: 12 percent

One to five years after purchase: 50 percent

More than five years after purchase: 18 percent

Never: 15 percent

How long do dirty dishes typically sit in your sink?

I wash them immediately: 49 percent

One day: 37 percent

Two to three days: 10 percent

Up to a week: 3 percent

More than one week: 1 percent

In other health news:

New sleeping pill for those who wake in the middle of the night. For those who wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, the FDA on Wednesday approved a new faster-acting, lower-dose sleeping pill called Intermezzo. The drug should only be taken by those who have at least four hours of sleep time remaining and the labels warns users not to drive for at least one hour after waking and five hours after taking the pill.

Salmonella that may be tied to sushi sickens 90. Federal health officials are investigating a growing outbreak of salmonella that has sickened 90 people in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to a FDA memo. Reports of the foodborne illness have mainly come from the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast, though cases have been reported as far west as Missouri and Texas. Investigators are focusing on six clusters of restaurants in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

More evidence ties diabetes to Parkinson’s risk. People with diabetes may have a heightened risk of developing Parkinson’s, according to a new study that looked at more than 1 million Taiwanese, including about 600,000 with diabetes. Among women in their 40s and 50s, those with diabetes had twice the risk of Parkinson’s that diabetes-free women had. On average, people develop Parkinson’s around age 60, so the research suggests a link between diabetes and early-onset Parkinsons, Reuters reported.

Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr.com