With the arrival of flu season and all the lovely alignments that accompany it, I started doing a little research and was quickly reminded of many things that could be making you ill right in your own home. Beneath all the layers and textures of your décor are several disturbing things that can contribute to your illnesses, especially in your bedroom. I thought it was important to share and make you aware (even if you might have forgotten).

1. DUST MITES: Dust mites live in your pillows, mattresses, and bedding. Their feces can irritate you, causing cold like symptoms, asthma and allergies. Don’t forget to wash your bedding at least weekly, vacuum the mattress and use allergen-proof bed and pillow covers. Many doctors also suggest replacing your pillows yearly.

2. BED BUGS: So gross. When bed bugs bite, they leave red marks on your skin. Inspect your bed regularly for blood spots, exoskeletons, and bedbugs themselves. If you see them or question if they exist or not, call a pest control company immediately.

3. MOLD: Mold spores cause allergies and respiratory problems. Mold can build up in your pillow, overwatered plants, in the walls and anywhere there is humidity. Keep humidity low, water your plants only when the soil is dry and clean regularly. Don’t forget about your kitchen sponge. Moisten the sponge and a little white vinegar next, pop it in microwave for 2 minutes. Leave it in the microwave to cool off. The steam from the sponge will loosen any debris from the inside of your microwave. Remove your sponge and then wipe down the inside of the microwave with paper towels. Repeat daily.

4. SWEAT: You potentially lose 100 liters of sweat a year in your bed. Your sweat can help spread bacterial infections. Wash your bedding minimally once a week in hot water. Sheets made of natural fibers will also absorb sweat more readily than polyester blends.

5. POLLEN: Pollen is a seasonal allergen that can enter your bedroom thorugh open windows or come from plants in your bedroom. Reduce pollen by using an air conditioner or fan rather that sleeping with the windows open. Also, select plants that are non-flowering for your bedroom.

6. PILLOWS THAT HAVE LOST THEIR SHAPE: When your pillow loses its shape, it does not provide the support needed for your neck, shoulders and back. Make certain you have a pillow that works for the size of your body as well as the way you position yourself while sleeping.

7. WORN MATTRESS: When your mattress is worn and sags it is not supporting your body properly. Replace your mattress every five to ten years or as soon as a valley starts to develop in the center.

8. BEDROOM CARPET: If you can, get rid of it. Carpet in your bedroom harbors dust mites, animal hair, mold spores, and other microscopic particles that can cause allergies and irritation. Vacuum and shampoo your bedroom carpet regularly to keep it clean or replace it with wooden laminate floors.

9. BEDROOM DRAPERIES: Draperies also provide a breeding ground for mold spores, dust mites, animal hair, and microscopic particles. If you must have drapes, select something that can easily and frequently be washed. Otherwise, opt for shades that can be dusted or cleaned with a vacuum or can of air.

10. PARAFFIN CANDLES: These candles release harmful chemicals such as toluene and benzene when they burn. Opt for soy or beeswax candles instead and make certain you open the windows a little when you are burning candles.

11. SHOES: Remove them before you enter the house or if that’s not an option, at lease remove them before you enter your bedroom. They track dirt and all kinds of substances into your home.

12. CLEAN YOUR VACUUM: If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filter, it simply sprays all the dust and pollen that it has sucked up right back into your room. Make certain you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If it requires bags make certain they are made of HEPA material and if it is a canister empty the canister after each use and wipe inside with antiseptic cleaning wipe.

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design