Freshen Up Your Bedding and Feel Instantly Better
Washing your sheets every week might make your bed smell fresh, but you probably need to be doing a little more than that if you want to rid your bed of allergens. Not only does your body shed hair, dead skin and oil throughout the night, but your bed is probably also home to dust mites. And where there are dust mites, there are dust mite feces, which can cause allergic reactions like a runny nose, sneezing or itchiness in your nose, mouth, throat, eyes and ears. Luckily, a few quick fixes will keep allergens at bay and help you wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.
- Wash your bedding weekly. People shed 500 million skin cells every day and their entire outer layer of skin every two to four weeks. And dead skin cells just happen to be a dust mite’s favorite food. Wash your sheets every week in hot, 130-degree water followed by a spin in the dryer. The heat from both cycles will kill not only dust mites, but also the flu virus, which can survive for eight to 12 hours on porous surfaces like fabric. If there are other fabrics in your bedroom, like curtains, wash those every so often as well since they can also be a magnet for dust.
- Enclose your mattress, box spring and pillows with allergen-proof covers. High-quality, tightly-woven pillow and mattress covers are the perfect barrier between you and dust mites. There are a lot of pillow and mattress covers on the market, so make sure yours say they are allergen-proof.
- Tackle the rest of your bedroom. Dust mites love humidity and warmth, which is why there’s an uptick of dust mites in rooms that tend to be above 70 degrees and 75 percent humidity. Keep your bedroom on the cooler side and cut down on excess moisture with a dehumidifier. If your allergies are particularly bad, consider getting rid of wall-to-wall carpeting and using a HEPA-filtered vacuum on rugs. For extra precaution, place a HEPA air filter over the forced-air vents in your bedroom to prevent additional dust from coming in.
Photo credit: Didriks