Why you should never sit on the bed in a wet towel

There are some important reasons you shouldn't sit on your bed in a wet towel. (Getty Images)
There are some important reasons you shouldn't sit on your bed in a wet towel. (Getty Images)

On average we spend around 26 years of our lives in bed, so making sure our sleep space is clean and hygienic is almost as important as getting in some good quality shuteye.

It seems we're all somewhat invested in keeping our beds clean, with over 115.9 million videos on TikTok related to ‘mattress cleaning hacks’. However, despite people's best efforts, there are some hygiene mistakes we're all making when it comes to our pre-bed habits.

We've all done it. Stepped out of the bath or shower and sat on our bed in a wet towel while we scroll Insta or catch up on our Whatsapp messages.

But apart from the inconvenience of getting into soggy sheets afterwards, sitting on the bed in a wet towel could lead to bacteria and in worst-case scenarios, mould.

"Your bedding will absorb the moisture, making the perfect breeding ground for bacteria,” warns Rhiannon Johns, interior designer and head of brand at Piglet in Bed.

And this can have a knock-on impact on health, potentially leading to skin infections or making any existing ones worse.

"Not only that, any dead skin cells and dirt from the body is placed straight onto the towel and absorbed by the bedding which again is less than hygienic and can lead to possible skin infections," Dr Ross Perry GP and medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics adds.

"Dirty towels actually carry a variety of microbes which again transferred onto the bed, small studies have said they can potentially lead to spreading infectious diseases."

To avoid this, Johns suggests finding a new procrastination spot, or increasing how often you are washing your bedding to at least once a week.

"Additionally, before making your bed in the morning, throw back the duvet to aerate," she adds. "For a more thorough freshening hang it over your washing line outdoors - when the weather allows. The sun will help to kill bacteria too, so make the most of any sunshine.”

Sleeping with wet hair is another pre-bed hygiene mistake. (Getty Images)
Sleeping with wet hair is another pre-bed hygiene mistake. (Getty Images)

Showering or bathing before bed has a whole wealth of benefits, including cleansing your body of allergens, oils and sweat from the day and potentially improving sleep quality.

If you've washed your hair, however, it can be a faff to dry it, so its tempting to hit the hay with a wet mane.

But according to the experts there are some good reasons you should rethink snuggling down without getting out the hair dryer.

It’s well documented that your pillow is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and other nasties thanks to it absorbing your sweat, the natural oils from your skin and even, your dead skin cells. Throw wet hair into the mix and you’ve got the ideal conditions for developing infections.

“If you are sleeping with wet hair you may risk your pillow becoming mouldy," explains Johns. "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, you could end up harbouring mould and bacteria inside your pillow, creating a very unsanitary sleeping environment, that could begin to affect your skin, eyes and even your airways," she adds.

If you really can't face the big dry before bed, Johns says there are certain measures you can take to minimise the impact of a wet hair sleep.

“Whilst I would always recommend drying your hair before bed, if this is not an option for any reason, make sure to remove your pillow from its cover first thing in the morning and air them both out," she says.

"This will allow moisture to dry up, reducing the production of bacteria. I would also recommend washing your pillows once every couple of months to keep them fresh and sanitary.”

Turns out leaving your hair wet before bed isn’t beneficial for hair health either.

Studies have found that when your hair is wet, the cuticle (the outer layer that protects it) is at its weakest, meaning it’s more vulnerable to breakage from tossing and turning at night.

"Wet hair is really fragile, therefore if you’re someone who tosses and turns a lot in their sleep, it’s causing friction and you’re likely to do more damage to the hair shaft. You’re also likely to wake up with more tangles," explains trichologist Fabian Martinez at The London Hair Clinic.

Sleeping with your pet dog can be harmful unless you take certain precautions. (Getty Images)
Sleeping with your pet dog can be harmful unless you take certain precautions. (Getty Images)

Every dog owner is likely guilty of swearing they won't let their pet sleep in their bed until they fall victim to the puppy dog eyes.

"With dogs comes dirt and with dirt comes bacteria, and letting them sleep in or on your bed will most definitely be making it dirtier," warns Johns.

Dr Perry says pets can carry all kinds of parasites including fleas and ticks which can cause humans to get sick.

"Especially if they’re sleeping on the bed and transferring anything on the skin straight on the bedding," he adds.

"Not only that, but any allergies such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis will be worsened with dog/cat hair and fur being in the air of the same area you are sleeping in.

"Equally if you have an open wound and sharing your bed with a pet it can easily become infected and actually become very serious if a pet parasite is transferred into the body," Dr Perry continues.

"Protein found in your pet’s hair, saliva, skin and waste if made up of tiny particles, breathing in polluted and can add strain to the respiratory system and cause the body to not fully rest at night.

Of course, we don’t expect you to banish your dogs to the floor, so to keep your bed fresh and clean and both your and your dog's health in check Johns recommends washing your bedding as often as possible.

"Washing your bedding weekly is recommended, but leaving it a little longer when it is just you sleeping in your bed is fine, however, if you are sharing your bed with a pup, then I’d advise not leaving it any longer than a week," she adds.