If sneezing and wheezing in the morning cause you grief, it's quite likely you are reacting to the house dust mite. We've written a lot about dust mites in the past but do you know how to really dust mite proof your bedroom?
Look at your current bedding
Firstly look carefully at your bedding. Is it dust mite proof? Your mattress needs to be totally enclosed in a dust mite proof mattress case. Your pillows must either be dust mite proof or enclosed in a dust mite proof pillow case. Your duvet must either be dust mite proof or enclosed in a dust mite proof duvet case. (Though the dust mite proof duvet case is very popular and effective, it does add weight to your duvet, so you may find that investing in a dust mite proof duvet suits you better. This will just need to be covered with your usual cotton case.)
1. Declutter Decluttering your bedroom is important because it not only makes the cleaning job easier but it ensures that you can do it more thoroughly and more quickly. Remember that clothes and books and those odd piles of things one tends to accumulate all harbour dust mites. Clear the surfaces, put your clothes away (once washed and dried these can be sealed in plastic bags or just placed in your chest of drawers. Hang your clothes in your wardrobe. A few sprays of AirCleanse will deter dust mites.)
2. Strip your bed Strip your bed down to the mattress and take the opportunity of turning it if you can. Stripping the bedding off the bed will result in dust mite debris becoming airborne so if you are highly allergic it's best to wear a mask or as soon as you have stripped the bed use the AirCleanse spray to denature any allergens in the air. If you have an air purifier, turn it on high.
3. Clean and turn your mattress You can spray your mattress lightly with HomeCleanse, or use a bed vacuum cleaner to kill dust mites and clean the surface of the mattress. If you can't manage to spray or vacuum your mattress, you can in fact just put a dust mite proof case on. This will still create a barrier between you and the dust mites in the mattress.
4. Wash your bed linen Wash your bed linen at 60C. This needs to be done on a programme that washes at 60C for at least 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a much cooler wash with the addition of FabriCleanse laundry liquid. We advise testing with a pillow case first. When wet the FabriCleanse does have quite a strong smell of Eucalyptus, which dissipates once the item is fully dry. Dry the bedding thoroughly before putting it back on your bed. We usually wash our fitted sheets and pillow cases at 60C and use the FabriCleanse for the duvet case (which may be more prone to shrinkage).
5. Clean furnishings, carpets and upholstered furniture If you have carpet in your bedroom or an upholstered headboard, spray with HomeCleanse according to instructions and allow to dry before vacuuming. Wash or spray curtains with HomeCleanse. Alternatively change to blinds, which are easier to keep dust mite free.
6. Hard flooring If you have hard flooring (wood, tiles or vinyl) damp mop the floor as often as you feel is necessary. Once a week should be adequate for most dust mite allergic people, especially if you use the sprays and an air purifier (see below).
7. Give the bedroom a thorough clean Damp dust all surfaces and vacuum the floor. Use the AirCleanse and HomeCleanse as an integral part of your cleaning routine and you will be surprised how effective they are, helping to keep your bedroom allergen free.
8. Enclose your mattress Enclose your mattress in a cotton or polyester dust mite proof mattress case. The Healthy House® cases are made of densely woven material that creates a barrier between you in your bed and any dust mites in your mattress. It is important that the material in any barrier cases is breathable and not treated with insecticides or fungicides.
9. Make up your bed Once the bedroom is clean and the bedding dry, make up the bed with your washed bed linen, dust mite proof mattress case and either dust mite proof pillow cases and dus mite proof duvet case or dust mite proof pillows and a dust mite proof duvet. If you have a spare blanket make sure it is washed or kept in a sealed bag.
10. Ensuite bathroom If you have an ensuite bathroom, be aware that this can cause excess moisture, which encourages dust mites to proliferate. Use the bathroom fan if you have one and open your bedroom windows until all trace of condensation has gone. If the ventilation from the ensuite is not adequate you may need to look at a dehumidifier to keep the moisture levels down to 45 - 50%. Having this on during the day and turning it off at night should be enough to keep the relative humidity down to an effective level.
11. Ventilate your bed and your bedroom Instead of 'making your bed' in the traditional way with the duvet pulled up or the sheets and blankets tucked in, allow your bed to air each day by folding the duvet down towards the foot of the bed, fluffing up the pillows and opening the windows.
12. Use an air purifier or air steriliser An air purifier in the bedroom constantly filters the air (though unfortunately it doesn't do the dusting for you, it does reduce the need to dust!) Many people find that using an air purifier in the bedroom is the icing on the cake when it comes to controlling the symptoms of dust mite allergy. Ideal units for bedroom use and dust mite allergy are the air sterilisers, which eliminate both the dust mite debris and the fungi that dust mites need in order to survive. The Airfree air sterilisers are designed for one room use and are completely silent. They take up to 21 days to reach their maximum effectiveness. The Radic8 CleanAir 200 or CleanAir 250 are silent. They eliminate a wide range of air pollutants quickly and effectively. We also have a range of air purifiers with an automatic mode, which will constantly monitor the air and turn itself up according to the level of pollutants in the air.
13. Monitor how often to clean your bedroom When our daughter was a baby we had to damp dust her bedroom every day to keep her symptom free. Now there are so many 'aids' a once a week thorough clean and bed linen change should be enough to keep you symptom free. The dust mite proof bedding cases should be washed at 60C 3 - 4 times per year.