There's no time like Spring to start getting cleanliness on the brain. A clean space makes us happier and more productive, but staying healthy and combating sickness is another reason to dust, scrub, and disinfect your home. Here are five important germ-infested areas that you shouldn't overlook when you dive into your duties!
If you have allergies or asthma, chances are you're also sensitive to dust mites. While you can't see these icky, little bugs (they're microscopic), that doesn't mean they're not lurking in your home. Dust mites love to hang out in warm and cozy spots such as carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and beds.
Don't worry though: there are plenty of ways you can combat the presence of dust mites in your home. For one, you can start by not making your bed. Since dust mites need humidity levels above 50 percent in order to survive, an unmade bed is too dry for the critters to survive in.
Want more tips for decimating your home's dust mite population? Then read more
Start a good habit this Winter: flip your mattress. At least twice a year, you should flip your mattress to keep the wear even. This will also help keep your mattress clean. Vacuum the top of the mattress, and if you use a box spring, vacuum that as well. If you have an issue with dust mites, consider adding an allergenic mattress pad to your bedding mix.
If you suffer from allergies to dust, then I hereby excuse you from your bed-making duties. It turns out that a study from London's Kingston University shows that dust mites need humidity levels above 50 percent in order to survive. This means that a neat bed traps the moisture in that those pesky mites need in order to thrive and multiply. An unmade bed, on the other hand, is too dry for those little suckers. Try to remember this little tip in the upcoming Summer months when the air is especially humid. So leave your covers alone in the morning, and you'll have less dust mites living in your bed. Who knows? Not making your bed in the morning may even save you time for breakfast.
Is your pillow over 2 years old? If yes, you might be sleeping with a veritable zoo of mold, bacteria and dust mites. Not exactly the kind of pillow talk you want to engage in, is it?
That fluffy bit of comfort on which you rest your head every night can be a hotbed for germs, and might contain even more germs than your bathroom. Yick! Pillows absorb germs from our skin and the air and since we rarely clean or replace our bedroom pillows, bacterias and molds are free to reproduce unhampered. This can become quite a problem if you have allergies to dust mites or mold since you are placing your head in the hot zone for 8 hours a night.
Experts suggest that you replace your pillow every 2 years. Since that can be a costly endeavor, you can try pillow protectors instead since they can prevent dust mites from breeding in your bedding.
Fit's Tip: One quick way to zap all those bacteria is to throw you pillows into the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat. Aim to do this at least once a month and at least once a week if you are experiencing severe allergy symptoms.
So I've already told you the ugly truth behind Dust Bunnies and if you suffer from allergies to this not so cute problem, you really should re-evaluate your pillow situation.
How long have you had your pillow? Consider this: After about 10 years about 10% of your pillow's weight comes not from the fluffy stuffing, but from dust mites, mold, fungus and bacteria. Gross, huh?
Try these tips to keep your pillows:
- Replace all household pillows (even those in guest rooms) every three years.
- Wash your pillows in the washing machine on hot and then throw then in the dryer. Drying immediately is important to stop any mold growth.
- Storing pillows in attics (basements, storage lockers, etc) is not the best idea as dark damp places are breeding grounds for allergens.
- Try to keep pillows off the floor, dust bunnies and mites congregate on the floor (especially hard wood floors).
- Consider buying a pillow encasing like SatinSoft Supreme Allergy Pillow Cover ($8.99). Buy them on the National Allergy Website.
Fit's Tip: Next time you start a pillow fight, imagine accidentally busting open a 10 year old pillow on your best friend's head. Ewwwww.
We find them hiding under our beds and in the forgotten corners of our home. Dust bunnies aren't just balls of fluff. Lurking inside are tiny microscopic arachnids we call dust mites.
They feed on dead skin cells that are sloughed from our bodies (and probably crumbs from cookies and such). Dust bunnies are just colonies of dust mites hatching, growing, eating, pooping, mating, and laying eggs. That is disgusting with a capital "D".
Many people develop severe allergies to dust mite droppings (ewww). Lie on a dust-infested rug, and you might break into hives. Breathe in those little suckers and you might break into an asthma attack.
Want to know how to stop dust mites before they start? read more