Must I Change The Sheets Between Lovahs?


Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every other week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on notching my bedposts. What is the etiquette for changing the sheets between boys? I have a semi-regular hook-up, and get some other chaps into my bed infrequently-but-more-than-never (pause for high-fives).
Is it … mandatory that I wash all my linens between fellas? I have duvet, top sheet, fitted sheet and four pillowcases. In real money, that’s two loads of laundry and, because we line-dry everything, between one and six days of drying time (oh, the humidity!). I have a spare fitted sheet and two spare pillowcases, so let’s assume I am already changing the fitted sheet and half the pillowcases after mid-week sex. Is it too super-gross not to change the top sheet and the other half of the pillows and still bring someone home on the weekend? There’s never any visible … fluids. How dirty is sex, really?
Or should I buy an extra set of linens and change everything all the time? Things that are stopping me from doing so: poor, lazy, laundry is hard and I am secretly A Gross.

You may not like me very much for this answer: I can’t tell you if it’s mandatory that you wash all your linens between fellas. I can, however, give you several high fives in celebration of your achievements!

See now, the reason I can’t tell you what is and is not mandatory is that it’s an entirely personal choice and it would be totally inappropriate for me to make a personal choice on your behalf. I would no sooner tell you how to manage your sheet washing cycle than I would tell you what color underthings to put on in the morning. Though I will say that you do look awfully fetching in those lacy aubergine panties.

What I can do is to give you some things to consider that will help you decide what’s right for you. And I can also give you some tips, shortcuts, what-have-yous to help cut corners. And since I can do both those things, I will do both those things.

Some Things To Consider

How would you feel if the situation was reversed, and you were doing the nasty on a set of sheets that had been used by your paramour for the same act with another lady?

If you’d be livid or squicked or simply aghast that someone could be so careless with his sheeting, then there’s your answer — you need to launder the linens between guests.

If you’re shrugging and thinking, “What I don’t know won’t hurt me,” then your answer is that you can rotate lovers in without the benefit of a laundering cycle.

Are you worried about one or the other of your visitors finding out that they’re not the only visitor in your life?

If so, don’t risk one or the other of your visitors leaving behind a personal scent, or a personal hair, or personal fluids that could sell you out. Launder the sheets.

How much time and money do you have/are willing to throw at this problem?

LW already told us that she doesn’t have a lot of time and money, nor the desire to spend the time and money that she does have, on this problem. So we know that, and that is just fine! But I wanted to include that one here for others of you to consider on your own.

Some Tips, Shortcuts, What-have-yous To Help Cut Corners

Change the pillowcases between visitors

You know what are pretty inexpensive? Pillowcases. You know what doesn’t take up a lot of extra room in a washer? Pillowcases. You know what dries quickly? Pillowcases.

Use a middle sheet that gets swapped out between visitors

Like, just an extra flat sheet. Over the fitted sheet. The bottom sheet is really the one that takes the brunt of the action, so to speak, so if you add in a protective layer you’ll extend the required time between washings.

Use linen spray

Linen spray is basically just scented water; you can either buy some, like this Caldrea stuff (there are many, many brands of linen spray — I’m currently working out a bottle of the Caldrea in lavender, so it’s on the brain) or DIY it by mixing a few drops of an essential oil in the scent of your choice with water in a spray bottle. Spritz your sheets and then smooth them with your hands, which will reduce wrinkling and make them smell like they’ve been recently laundered.

And see this is part of where the personal choice thing comes in: Half of you will be like, “Oh my God that’s amazing why did I not know about that??” and half of you will be like, “Oh my God that is the most ridiculous waste of time and money I’ve ever heard of who is this loon telling me to spend my cash on linen spray, for crying out loud??” and then the other half of you will be like, “Why is everyone yelling??” and you’ll scroll back up and read the part about the linen spray that you skimmed over on your first pass through the column. Different strokes for different folks, it’s all good.

Shake and smooth the bottom sheet

Grab the undercarriage of the elasticised part of the fitted sheet firmly and shake the sheet so it sort of puffs up from underneath. That will help to shake off any loose hairs and such. Then pull the sheet as taut as you can and retuck it under the mattress. Finally, smooth the whole thing down with your paws — it will make the fitted sheet look far less rumpled than it did post-tumble.

Okay what else? Who’s got other tips, shortcuts, what-have-yous? What else should we be worrying about? Lice? Should we be worrying about lice because oh my God I could worry about lice until Kingdom Come if you told me to, you guys.

My boyfriend and I get a little crazy sometimes, and now I have some lube stains several of my clothing items. Green jeans, a grey cotton sweater, and a dark blue cotton shirt. I’ve tried hand washing these items several times, but the lube is silicone based so I’m not having luck. Any tips for something stronger? I’d like to preserve the color in my clothes.

I do have tips for something stronger. STP Carburetor Treatment works as a spot remover for silicone lube stains.

I could tell you where I learned of that but maybe it’s just better for everyone if I keep it to myself. You know those things on the internet that are like, “HEY LOOK AT THIS HORRIBLE PHOTO THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO BLEACH YOUR EYEBALLS!” and then you look and you’re like, “WHY DID I LOOK AT THAT HORRIBLE PHOTO THAT MADE ME WANT TO BLEACH MY EYEBALLS?”

I’m not going to link to the place where I learned of the STP Carburetor Treatment tip to save us all from the yelling and the bleaching of eyeballs. Also don’t click on that link. (You’ve already clicked on that link. Sorry! Here’s the bleach.)

Another product you might want to check out if the notion of using carburetor cleaner on your clothing is more than you can bear is De-Solv-It degreaser. In both cases you’ll use it as a spot pre-treatment before laundering your clothes as usual.

OxiClean will also work, but really only if you get to the stain while it’s still fresh and that’s not the most realistic thing to ask, so I mention it but with low expectations that it’s going to be the best solution to the problem.

Jolie Kerr is the author of the upcoming book My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha (Plume, Spring 2014); more cleaning-obsessed natterings can be found on Twitter, Kinja, and Tumblr.

Squalor appears on Jezebel and Deadspin on alternating weeks.

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