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Mattress Cleaning Tips

Try this Three-Step Approach

Some items can be faded or damaged by washing in hot water. However, since the alternative is to not use them, it is probably worth the risk for items that are in the house. I would use a combination of washing, eliminating and enclosing to beat the dust mites.

Wash everything possible. If the item is bedding and needs to be washed every week, then make sure you buy things that can be washed at home. For example, ditch that goose down comforter unless you enclose it in an allergenic cover, which can be bought at a linen store. Then wash the cover every week and replace it or just be simple and get a heavy washable quilt to replace it. I replaced non-washable bedspreads with washable ones (quilts), got rid of carpet in the bedroom, and keep clothes neatly put away in drawers or storage bags with cedar so they are not out to give dust mites a home sweet home.

Eliminate things like carpet on the floor and ornate surfaces in the decor that leave a lot of places for dust to stick and are hard to clean. Your goal should be zero items out on bedside tables other than the phone and alarm clock. Everything else should find a home in the drawer or be moved somewhere else.

Enclose your mattress, pillows, box spring, comforter, etc. in allergenic covers. If you cannot wash decorative pillows, then they need to move out. It cost me about $100 to buy all the necessary covers and a couple of washable rugs for beside the bed. It was money well spent, since I saved on medications that were no longer needed!


Use Vellux Blankets

My daughter was diagnosed with a severe dust mite allergy. We were told to concentrate on reducing the dust mite population in the bedroom as a person spends several hours sleeping in bed each night. We were able to replace the bedroom carpet with linoleum, which was a big help. We purchased special mattress and pillow covers. They were pricey but worth it to reduce the ongoing health problems that occurred as a result of the dust mite allergy. All bedding needed to be washed regularly in hot water.

We replaced comforters and regular blankets with vellux blankets. I was able to buy some large-sized end pieces of vellux material at a local fabric store, which were used as blankets on our daughter’s bed. Vellux blankets are very comfortable and warm and can stand up to regular hot water washing and drying in the dryer.

Another interesting tip that was given by a public health nurse was to put cushions and very favorite stuffed toys into a large garbage bag every month and put the bag in our freezer for 48 hours. This apparently also kills the dust mites. (We had reduced the stuffed animal population already but were able to keep a few favorites by rotating them for this freezer treatment!).

Incidentally, one can have a course of dust mite allergy shots (administered at doctor’s office) and this was also very effective in reducing the allergic reaction in our daughter.


Consider Air Mattresses

Yes, the products are expensive, but they work. My nine-year-old daughter has a severe allergy to mites. Her doctor said to wash the things her face touches a lot. Therefore, I only have to wash her bedding with the de-mite laundry additive. I wash the sheets and blanket weekly and mattress cover and bedspread monthly. One large bottle lasts me a year, and because I do not need to use hot water, my linens will last longer and she can have the colorful ones. Plus, I can wash her favorite stuffed animals with it. Compared to what I paid on prescriptions and doctor visits before discovering this stuff, I am money ahead.

Also, a cheap way to reduce the mites is to switch to an air mattress. These do not have a place for the mites to live. We purchased camping mattresses from Wal-Mart for about £20 each for the whole family. We all sleep better! Febreeze dust mite spray seems to work just as well as the more expensive sprays. I just spray the furniture weekly and it really seems to help.


Wash with Eucalyptus Oil

I found this information in a health newsletter. It stated that dust mites are one of the most common household allergens and a major risk factor for asthma sufferers. The article suggested that washing your bedding with eucalyptus oil virtually eliminated these pesky critters, according to researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The researchers got rid of 99 percent of the mites on wool blankets by soaking the blankets for 60 minutes in a solution of 6 tablespoons eucalyptus oil (0.4 percent concentration), 1 1/4 tablespoons liquid laundry detergent and 13 gallons of water. They then rinsed the blankets in cool water. Without the oil, the laundry detergent alone got rid of only 2.4 percent of the mites. You can purchase eucalyptus oil at most natural food stores or wherever essential oils are sold.


Keep Humidity Level Low

As someone who is highly allergic to dust mites, there are several things you can do. Definitely buy containment bedding to keep the dust mites from penetrating through your mattress and pillows.

Also, put a dehumidifier in your bedroom and get a humidistat that tells you the humidity level. Keep your bedroom’s humidity below 50 percent and dust mites cannot live. Since your husband probably spends the most hours at home in the bedroom, you’ll get the most relief from this. I found a dehumidifier at a garage sale for $30 and a humidistat at Radio Shack. I believe there is an economical one at Target.

If I am not mistaken, I believe putting things in the dryer on hot and running a few minutes will also kill dust mites. I do this with my children’s stuffed animals.


Kill in Dryer

I also suffer from the dust mite problem. I wash all of my bedding in warm water and then put them in the dryer. I was told that 30 minutes in the dryer kills the dust mites. With that in mind, every time I change the bedding, I put my pillows in the dryer for 30 minutes. This takes care of all those dust mites!


Wash with Pine Sol

My allergist suggested washing in Pine Sol. I add about 1/8 cup to each load. And I use the citrus scent, so I don’t smell like a tree.


Try Wintergreen Essential Oil

One very simple and pleasant solution is to use wintergreen essential oil. Use approximately 1/2 teaspoon in a quart of water and spray linens, and furniture. Also, add to laundry, mop bucket and air diffusers. This works well on bed bugs too.


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