You be the judge: should my boyfriend change the bedsheets more often? | Life and style

The prosecution: Mandeep

Raj would happily sleep in the same sheets for a whole month, which I think is disgusting

I stand firm in my belief that clean bedsheets are the key to a good night’s sleep, but Raj, my boyfriend of two years, couldn’t care less.

A weekly bedsheet change makes me feel good. Slipping into freshly laundered sheets is a small but significant act of self-care – a ritual that sets the tone for your whole night and the next day. But Raj thinks that is over the top and would happily sleep in the same sheets for a month, which I think is disgusting.

I’ll tell Raj that he needs to change the sheets when I’m away, or when I can’t do it, and he just ignores me. When I protest he just says, “It’s clean enough.” As a result, I end up doing the lion’s share of the laundry. Washing and changing the sheets each week is time-consuming, but I do it because I can’t get into a bed unless it’s clean, pressed and fresh. In Raj’s eyes, my insistence on weekly sheet changes is excessive and impractical. He says that because we both shower daily, our sheets aren’t that dirty and that he can’t feel much of a difference.

I disagree – it’s not just about what we can feel, but the actual dirt. Our skin sheds dead cells and oils throughout the night, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Dirty sheets also lead to clogged pores, acne and irritation. At 28, I’m prone to breakouts, but when I started changing my sheets more often a few years ago, I noticed an improvement in my acne.

I’m really into posh linen: my favourite is a cool blue Tencel set, which is made from natural eucalyptus fibres and cost about £100; and I’m also a bit of a geek when it comes to thread counts. I need breathable fabrics and silk pillowcases. Raj laughs at me when I order new sheets, and wash them before putting them on the bed.

He raises concerns about the environmental impact of excessive washing and the wear and tear on fabrics. That’s a valid point, but I don’t think he’s serious – he’s just trying to detract from his own grossness. His personal hygiene habits give me the ick.

The defence: Raj

Our bed still feels fine after a few weeks. There’s just no need to change the sheets before then

Changing your bedsheets once a month is fine, and doesn’t compromise personal hygiene. Our bed still feels fine after a few weeks, and I’ll only change sheets after then. I’ve always been like that – when I was at uni, I probably went two months without changing the sheets.

I just don’t feel the need to wash and launder sheets every few days. It’s excessive. If we were dirtier – say we ate in bed or showered less – washing the sheets more regularly would make sense. But Mandeep and I are both clean individuals who don’t suffer from allergies. She says she has sensitive skin – it’s literally just the odd spot – and blames it on me not changing the bedsheets when she’s away.

We sleep between high-grade sheets. Mandeep is obsessed with decor and interiors and she has spent hundreds on fancy linen. She rattles off thread counts and lectures me on why this fabric or that is better for her hair, or my eye wrinkles. I’ve lost track of how much Mandeep has spent on bedsheets.

Once she’s seen a set she likes online, they’ll be on our bed the next night. She also washes new sheets straight out of the packet before putting them on the bed, which I find unnecessary. Sometimes she even irons our sheets, which is totally pointless because we crease them as we sleep.

It’s great to have someone who cares that much about what we sleep on, but to me this means we don’t need to change the sheets as much. Fancy sheets repel dirt.

Mandeep’s other bedtime habits also have me on the ropes. She has banned all screens from the bedroom, even when I really want to watch something. She also makes me swap pillows with her if I’m lying on her special silk one. Having said all that, it is nice to go to sleep in a beautifully made bed. I don’t do the laundry – that’s Mandeep’s department – but I do all the cooking. That’s not sexist – she just naturally takes more of an interest in the linen. Some might say she’s obsessed.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Raj change the sheets?

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Raj isn’t guilty for not wanting to change the sheets, but he is guilty of not appreciating the value of what Mandeep does for him. It wouldn’t hurt if Raj washed the sheets every now and then as an act of love, even if he’s burning inside at how ridiculous he thinks it is.
Fatima, 29

Raj is extremely lucky that Mandeep provides him with clean sheets every week. His desire to sleep in the same sheets for a month is revolting. However, Mandeep obviously gets a perverse thrill out of obsessing over bed linen (no shade: I can relate), so she should stop badgering Raj to help.
Anita, 37

It’s lovely to get into a bed with freshly laundered sheets, but Mandeep has taken the joy out of this by imagining them as breeding grounds for bacteria. She needs to rein in her fear of dirt before it becomes an obsession. Rupert, 65

Not guilty – who has the time to wash their sheets once a week? I do agree with Mandeep that clean bedding equals better sleep, but maybe thinking too much about bedsheets equals even poorer sleep.
Tom, 35

Raj thinks that washing the sheets once a month is fine – and it is. This is a matter of preference, not hygiene. If Mandeep wants the linen changed four times a month, then she should do it. Want something your way? Do it yourself.
Lola, 35

Now you be the judge

In our online poll, tell us: should Raj get busy with the washing machine?

The poll closes at 10am GMT on Thursday 11 April

Last week’s result

We asked whether Cathleen should preheat the oven when cooking

81% of you say Cathleen is guilty – her arguments are half-baked

19% of you say Cathleen is not guilty – let’s take the heat out of the situation


The prosecution: Mandeep

Raj would happily sleep in the same sheets for a whole month, which I think is disgusting

Mandeep strongly believes in the importance of clean bedsheets for a good night’s sleep. However, her boyfriend Raj prefers to sleep in the same sheets for a month, which she finds repulsive.

While Mandeep finds changing the sheets weekly to be a small act of self-care, Raj sees it as excessive. He argues that daily showers make frequent sheet changes unnecessary, despite the accumulation of dead skin cells and oils on the sheets.

Mandeep prefers high-quality, breathable fabrics and invests in silk pillowcases for better sleep quality. However, Raj mocks her for her attention to detail when it comes to bedding.

While Raj raises concerns about environmental impact and fabric wear from excessive washing, Mandeep feels that his lack of concern for cleanliness is simply an excuse to avoid changing the sheets.

The defence: Raj

Our bed still feels fine after a few weeks. There’s just no need to change the sheets before then

Raj argues that changing sheets once a month is sufficient and doesn’t compromise hygiene. Despite Mandeep’s insistence on weekly changes, he believes their cleanliness habits are adequate.

While Mandeep invests in high-quality bedding, Raj questions the necessity of frequent changes. He views Mandeep’s meticulousness as excessive and unnecessary.

Despite differing opinions on bedding habits, Raj acknowledges Mandeep’s attention to detail and values her efforts in maintaining a comfortable living space.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Raj change the sheets?

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Opinions from Guardian readers vary on whether Raj should change the sheets, highlighting the differing perspectives on bedding hygiene and maintenance.

Now you be the judge

Join our online poll to share your opinion on whether Raj should change the sheets more frequently.

The poll closes at 10am GMT on Thursday 11 April

Last week’s result

Results from last week’s poll on preheating the oven showed a split opinion, with 81% in favor of preheating and 19% against.