You can’t see them with the naked eye, but if you wake up with puffy eyes or feeling all stuffed up, chances are you’re sharing your bed with dust mites. Sleeping in a dusty bedroom is a haven for these little critters because your dead skin cells are their prime food source. Simply foregoing making your bed, as more and more social media posts are recommending, isn’t going to eliminate the problem. Even dead dust mites are cause for concern because it’s their body parts and feces that are the allergens.
Photo Credit: By CSIRO
While you can’t completely eliminate every single dust mite in your home, the good news is that including some basic steps in your cleaning and laundry routine will go a long way in reducing dust mite populations and irritants in your bedrooms.
Cleaning and Laundry Routine for Reducing Dust Mites and other Allergens
- Flip your bed sheets and duvet all the way back to air out your bed. Make your bed at mid-day or when you return from work. Open the blinds or curtains to let the daylight in. If possible, open the window. Allowing daylight into a room actually reduces bacterial growth in comparison to rooms that are kept dark all of the time, according to researchers at the University of Oregon.
- Wash bed sheets and pillow covers once a week in hot water (55°C or 130°F or hotter) to kill the mites. If your water is set to a lower temperature, put them in the dryer for 15 minutes.
- Winter in Canada is a great time to kill dust mites! Freeze blankets, rugs and stuffed toys overnight when the thermometer drops below zero. Then shake out the blankets to loosen and knock out the allergens.
4. Alternatively, sunlight and fresh air will do the same. During the summer months, hang blankets and comforters outside.
5. Vacuum carpeting regularly. Better yet, replace carpets with non-fiber flooring.
6. Include washing curtains and cleaning area rugs in your regular cleaning routine.
7. Steam-clean upholstered chairs.
8. Cover mattresses, box springs and pillows with allergy proof covers. At the very least, vacuum box springs and mattresses on a regular basis.
9. Remove clutter in the bedroom so it’s faster and easier to remove dust.
You'll likely have a better night's sleep in clean sheets and a clean bedroom. Just knowing my bed isn't crawling with those creepy crawlies does the trick for me. Sweet dreams!