This week is Indoor Allergy Week! Sadly even after you’ve navigated a summer of high pollen counts, there’s a whole host of autumn allergens to deal with, including some that can set up house in your mattress and bedding. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that can really affect the air quality in your house, causing sneezing, itchy eyes, shortness of breath and congestion, and once they’ve settled in, they can be tough to get rid of.
So, how can you protect yourself against dust mites and other allergens?
1) Change your bedding regularly — once a week if possible.
2) Wash bedding at 60°C and use a powder detergent to help kill and get rid of dust mites and their waste. Make sure your bedding is fully dry before storing it away, as damp conditions will encourage the growth of mould and mildew.
3) Don’t neglect your pillows! You should wash them at least a few times throughout the year. Follow the washing instructions on the label if there are any; if not, as a general rule, feather and polyester pillows can be put in the washing machine and washed on a gentle cycle with a little mild detergent. Dry them either in the tumble dryer on a low heat, with a few clean tennis balls to prevent clumping, or by putting them in the airing cupboard and then in the sun if they smell musty. Foam pillows should be gently hand-washed in the bath and then dried in the airing cupboard.
4) Use a mattress protector. We have a wide range of mattress protectors on our site, which provide a barrier to dust mites and are great for keeping your mattress safe from spills and limiting wear and tear, meaning it will be in tip-top condition for longer.
5) Vacuum regularly, and use the upholstery attachment to vacuum your mattress, pillows, and other soft furnishings at the same time. This will help to clear away dust and dust mites that may be in or on your mattress.
6) Use window blinds, which can be wiped, rather than curtains. This has the added benefit of helping to keep out the light at night, which will help you to sleep. If this isn’t possible, get your curtains cleaned every six months or so to clear away the dust.
7) If you’ve had your mattress for more than seven years, it may be time you got a new one — not only is it likely to be harbouring lots of dust and dust mites, but it is probably no longer fully supporting you as you sleep.
8) If your children have stuffed toys that can be washed, do so as often as possible. Just make sure you follow the washing instructions to the letter! If your child really can’t bear to be parted from their favourite cuddly companion long enough to allow it to dry, try putting it in a sealed bag in the freezer for a few hours.
9) It’s not just soft furnishings you should keep an eye on — wipe down hard surfaces once a week to get rid of any lingering dust.
10) Dust mites love food, moisture and warmth, so in addition to hoovering and dusting, make sure you regularly air the house to help stop them from settling in!