On average, Americans spend half our lives in our bedrooms. So it’s important to make the most of it. A dirty bedroom can compromise your health, triggering allergy and asthma symptoms and preventing a good night’s sleep, which is crucial to overall health and lowering your risk of chronic diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. So The Remedy consulted the experts on how—and how often—you should clean your bedroom to make it the healthy haven you deserve.
Your enemy #1 is dust mites. These microscopic creatures feast on human skin flakes, and their favorite residence is in the fabrics and soft surfaces of the bedroom. Dust mites (specifically, their waste) can cause allergic reactions like sneezing, coughing and itching. Start by dusting the ceiling fan, and use an electrostatic duster to remove dust from trim and shelves, working your way down to lower surfaces. Read on for more essential dust-removal tips.
The American Academy of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology recommends vacuuming weekly with a vacuum that has a HEPA or small-particle filter. A HEPA filter is better, as it will trap any dust that traditional vacuums expel in exhaust.
Mop hard-surface floors once a week, the AAAAI recommends.
The AAAAI recommends washing sheets, pillowcases and blankets weekly.
Bedding should be washed in 130-degree F water, the AAAAI says. That’s the standard hot setting on most washing machines.
Curtains should be washed or dry-cleaned seasonally, the AAAAI recommends.
They’re not something we’re eager to think about, but cockroaches are omnipresent, and their droppings can aggravate allergies and asthma and spread disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are the best strategies to keep the bugs out: Seal cracks and openings to the outside; cover trash cans; don’t leave food lying around; and wipe up any spills quickly. If you spot cockroaches, use baited traps or hire a professional exterminator. Never use foggers or bug bombs, the CDC says.
Bedrooms are hotspots for mold growth, the CDC says. To prevent it, keep humidity levels as low as possible, no higher than 50%. To clean any mold from windowsills, use a chlorine bleach solution (3/4 cup chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water) and be sure to wear a protective mask, the AAAAI says.
You should switch out the filters in central air conditioning and heating systems, and in-room air conditioners, once a month, the AAAAI says.
If someone has been sick, the CDC recommends cleaning all surfaces that may have germs on them, including doorknobs, bedside tables, counters and phone. Wash bed sheets with laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot dryer setting. It’s a good idea to wipe down switch plates and doorknobs regularly, even when everyone’s healthy.
While you’re at it, clean up the primary source of germs in your bedroom: Your cellphone. Rest it in a UV sanitizing device daily, or wipe it down with sanitizing wipes or a disinfectant solution.
And to live your happiest and healthiest life, don’t miss these 100 Ways Your Home Could Be Making You Sick.