We’ve all seen them: the articles circulating the internet claiming that after 10 years of use, a mattress weighs two times its original weight as a result of the accumulation of skin cells, dust and other debris. Articles of that nature tend to serve one purpose–they pull you in with a teaser line and get you to click through to read the shocking details. I’ll be honest–I’ve clicked on plenty of those but always take what I read with a grain of salt.
This one though, well, it has some merit.
We spend a good chunk of our lives in bed and we shed skin cells while we’re there. Where there are dead skin cells, there are dust mites–microscopic insects that feast on dead skin cells, multiply at an alarming rate, and leave excrement behind. Sure, some of this is absorbed by clothing and bedding which is washed regularly, but some of it isn’t and it resides in your mattress. Once the mites are there, thriving in the comfortable warm environment that is a mattress, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus and can also trap other allergens inside.
This of course raises a good question: What can I do to keep my mattress clean? All of the elements described above are present in even the cleanest of homes; however, we do have some tips to help keep them at bay and keep your mattress clean and healthy.
Keep a lower humidity level: Dust mites thrive in moist environments and die off when there is less humidity in the air. A dehumidifier in the bedroom can go a long way to keep them at bay.
Turn the Temperature down: Keeping bedrooms cooler will help to keep the mite population down as they prefer warmer areas.
Invest in a good mattress cover: Mattress covers and protectors form a barrier between the sheets and the mattress, allowing for fewer mites to make their home in your mattress.
Wash bedding often and in HOT water: Here’s a fun fact! Dust mites can survive temperatures of up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit! That means a typical cold water wash cycle, while being able to rinse some of them away, will not kill any dust mites. Pillow cases and sheets should be washed weekly while comforters, blankets and even pillows should go through every six weeks.
Vacuum: As a rule of thumb, when you strip your sheets, give the mattress a thorough vacuuming in order to pull up some of the dead skin on the mattress surface.
Professional Cleaning: Having a mattress steam cleaned by a professional once a year will help to ensure that dust mites and their excrement as well as any odors, body oils, and allergens don’t build over time. This will definitely help to add longevity to your mattress.
Dust mites are a part of life unfortunately, but following these tips will go a long way in helping you to sleep easy knowing you are reducing the numbers and thereby reducing the allergens in your bedroom.
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