I know people who spend hours washing and polishing their beloved cars, shining the rims, vacuuming the floor mats and seats, and buying fancy-smelling air-fresheners, all so they can enjoy their daily thirty-minute commute. But have you ever thought about how well you clean the place where you will spend one-third of your life? Mattresses can last for up to twenty years and be used continuously for around eight hours each day. Yet how often do we strip them down and give them a thorough deep clean?
When I purchased a new mattress this summer, the sales guy told me my mattress would double in weight from dust mites and dead skin if I didn’t buy a mattress protector. (Gross!) Of course I went straight to the internet to see if it was true, and a quick search revealed other, equally disgusting stats: An average mattress has 10,000 to 10,000,000 dust mites. Dust mites feed on flakes of shed human skin and therefore live the good life on mattresses and pillows. They are almost invisible to the human eye but can cause asthma and allergic reactions. Females can lay as many as 60 to 100 eggs in the last few weeks of her life. And, as if we didn’t need any more motivation, Melissa Maker, author of cleanmyspace.com, says that the average person sweats out half a pint of perspiration a night!
I don’t know about you but I’m feeling like it’s time to clean up our act in the bedroom. Here’s how.
Tip #1: Suck it Up
The first thing to do, suggests Maker, is to vacuum the mattress, which will remove dust, dead skin cells, and other debris. The key, however, is to use a clean upholstery attachment for your vacuum–you don’t want to deposit any of the dirt and grime you’ve picked up around the house onto your mattress. (Clean attachments by washing with soapy water every four months or so.)
Tip #2: Deodorize
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will help eliminate any odors. If you like essential oils, Maker suggests combining a few drops of oil lavender oil to a cup of baking soda and sprinkling it onto the mattress using a flour sifter. Let it sit for thirty minutes, then vacuum.
Tip #3: Spot Clean
If something spills on the mattress or there’s a stain that needs to be removed, blot it up as soon as possible, wipe it down with a damp cloth, then create a paste of salt, baking soda, and water, rub it onto the affected area and after thirty minutes vacuum up what’s left.
Tip #4: Use Protection
If you suffer from severe allergies, opt for a cotton anti-allergy mattress protector, that zips all the way around. If not, a regular mattress pad will be just fine and will serve as one more layer of protection for your mattress-a layer that can be easily removed and thrown in the washing machine with your sheets, ultimately extending the life of your mattress.
Considering the time we spend with our mattresses, these tips seem well worth the trouble. Sweet dreams!