On average, you will spend roughly one-third of your life in your bed, rolling around in the linens, comforters, and pillows galore and sweating a remarkable half a pint of perspiration just about every night. And whether you realize it or not, you and/or your partner are not the only ones sharing that mattress. Dust mites and bacteria are cuddling down into the surfaces along with you to wish you a good night.
Now that you’re good and unnerved, let’s explore some tips to make sure you are as safe as possible when it’s time to count sheep.
Proper Mattress and Foundation Care
In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to forget your mattress, foundation, and bed frame need maintenance and TLC as well. Protect your mattress from sweat and stains with a washable cover and ensure it is laundered every 30 to 40 days in at least 55 degree or hotter water. While the cover is rolling around in the washing machine, lightly dust the mattress itself with baking soda to lift odors and allow that to sit for around 20 minutes before vacuuming.
Vacuuming your mattress will penetrate the porous fibers to lift the dead skin cells and dust mites that are living on the surface. Rotate your mattresses while you’re at it and check for any evidence in the foundation or frame of insect activity. Bed bugs and mites feast on dead skin cells and fresh bites and will leave behind black fecal matter and blood smears. If you are looking for a solution to bed bugs that is food, pet, and child safe, explore Diatomaceous Earth (DE), a cheap and harmful chemical free powder that kills these pests by absorbing the oily layer on their exoskeletons, effectively dehydrating them with a few hours.
If you feel like your pillows have become heavier over time, it is because they absolutely have! Your pillow can increase its weight up to 10% just with the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, oil, hair product, perspiration, and saliva. To combat this haven for all-things-horror-movie, you should wash the pillows once per month and replace them entirely at least once a year. When washing the pillows, please do not use bleach products as they have been proven to cause allergic and even asthmatic reactions. Instead, use an oxygenated cleanser, tea tree or eucalyptus oil products, or other gentler detergents. When it is time to dry the pillows, toss dryer or tennis balls into the machine to help restore their natural fluff and discourage uneven balling of the fibers inside. Dry on high, unless the care labels state otherwise, to ensure mites and bacteria have been eradicated.
How to Handle Bedding
While your linen routine is a matter of personal preference, it is recommended never to exceed two weeks before washing and changing your bedding. Sheets, duvets, and comforters need to be washed in 40 to 60 degree warm water to eliminate mites and bacteria while preserving fibers, coloration, and patterns. Oxy powders along with detergent will go a long way to removing stains and perspiration. Beyond that, we strongly suggest you run an iron over the bedding after it is clean and dry as the heat will kill off remaining bacteria and allow the linens to rest on the bed neat and even.
Here Comes the Sun!
When we wake up in the morning, it’s easy to dive right into making our bed. Believe it or not, this discipline is not recommended. In fact, one of the best ways to have a clean and healthy bed is to pull back the covers for at least 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate and natural sunlight and air to hit the sheets and kill surface bacteria. Before jumping in the shower, yank back the bed covers and let the magic happen!
There may be others areas of your home that aren’t getting enough attention. Check out 6 Areas You Might Not Be Cleaning.
House Cleaning Tip #341: Keeping the Laundry Room Clean
A lot of work goes on in the laundry room, but how often does that work include keeping the laundry room itself clean? If you’re like most people, very little time is ever spent keeping the laundry room clean. These simple steps are an easy way to make sure your laundry room space is just as clean as your whites.
Keep it Clean!
Where do you start? From the top and work your way down.
- Wipe down any shelves with a wet microfiber cloth. Starting from the top allows the dust and dirt that you don’t collect fall down to the ground, where you will take care of it later. On those shelves, over spray and splashes of detergent can leave surfaces sticking and gross, making them a great spot for dust, link, and even bugs to accumulate.
- Next, run your washing machine with an empty load an don a hot cycle. Use two cups of vinegar to keep the machine fresh and clean inside. After completing the load, wipe down the interior where soap has accumulated.
- Remove the lint trap from your dryer and soak the trap in hot water and a quality soap. After it has soaked for a few minutes, you can scrub the trap to remove any extra buildup. If you are feeling super motivated, you can also soak the knobs from your washer and dryer as well (if they are removeable). This will put a nice clean touch to your laundry room.
- Wipe the outside surfaces of your washer and dryer with a microfiber cloth and a quality glass cleaner. This will help to make them shine and repel dust.
- Don’t forget to remove the dryer hose and use your vacuum to remove link that has built up on the inside of the hose. Not only is this a good cleaning tip, it is a good safety tip as well, as it keeps your hose from turning into a fire hazard.
- Use a vacuum that has a good attachment that can clean behind, under, and between your washer and dryer.
- Sweep and mop the floors.
Keep it organized
If you’re like most people, you have a small laundry space with huge piles of laundry. There are also probably way too many products in the room and not enough time to get everything done. As a result, it’s easy to let a laundry room go so long without a proper cleaning. If you can add organization to your laundry room, it can make your life and laundry chores much easier.
- If possible, extra shelving can be very helpful with organization. Add shelving where it’s most convenient. This often times would be right above your washer and dryer. This allows you to store bleaches and detergents out of the way, along with other products you might use.
- Periodically sort through the products you have and discard the ones that you do not use.
- When not in use, hang your ironing board on the wall. This will free up a lot of extra space.
- Hang hooks from shelving or you can install a retractable drying line for a place to hang clothes. This helps to keep them from wrinkling and doesn’t take up extra space.
- Use several laundry baskets for storing and separating dirty and clean laundry.
- Keep a small container somewhere safe for storing items left in pockets.
- Keep a trash can in the laundry room! This will help keep clutter down so you have a place for lint, dryer sheets, and many other items that might just end up on your floor.
Clean clothes and clean environment
Yes we all love the feel and smell of clean laundry. The sensation of warmth and serenity that putting on pajamas straight out of the dryer gives. Not surprisingly the process of washing and drying your pajamas is very energy-intensive not to mention the gallons upon gallons of water that this involves. Here are some tips to get your “green on” in your laundry job.
A large percentage of the energy used doing laundry is spent warming up water. Advances in Appliance and detergent technology have made to the point were washing with cold water is just as effective as hot water. Plus cold water prevents color bleed and is not as damaging to textile fabrics. So next time you start your washer, turn the temperature setting to cold.
No to the Dryer
Nothing beats the feel of fresh laundry out of the dryer. Unfortunately this comes to a huge cost to the air quality. The amount of energy spent in the drying of clothes can equate to 15% of your home’s energy consumption. Luckily for us, there is always the sun to take care of our clothes drying needs. A clothesline will do the trick, just remember to keep you clothes in the shade to avoid color and fabric decay. If this outside don’t look so sunny, you can always hang your clothes inside your home.
Use “Green” Products
There is different ways for detergent to be “green” or environmentally friendly. Like I mentioned above, detergent formulas are now designed to work well with cold water and the concentrated formulas require less product to perform a similar job. The chemical compounds found in regular detergents can be harmful to the environment. Look for products that do not include phosphate and dioxanes.
This may not be as closely related to your laundry, but it is little things that make the difference. Be sure you are properly disposing of any containers. Some bottles and boxes can be recycled while others can’t. Read and follow the labels and things should all fall in place.
Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star appliances will almost always be more energy efficient than other option. It is their washers water economy that really makes the difference. Buying a newer more energy efficient model can reduce your water consumption by up to 50%. This of course is for the people who are already into buying new appliances. If you are going to make a purchase, make sure you are at least getting something more efficient than your old model.
Cleaning Your Home Makes You Healthier
When trying to avoid sickness cleanliness is basic. There is of course factors outside our homes that will inevitably lead to sickness a couple times a year, if not more. The fact of life is that you will get sick, and if you do not take the appropriate measures the rest of your family will get sick too. Getting sick may be inevitable, but you can always prevent disease from spreading by disinfecting surfaces and following healthy habits.
You probably already know that hand-washing is the single most efficient way to prevent the spreading of illnesses like the common cold. What you might be forgetting is that in most homes people use the same towels to dry everyone’s hands. Hand towels should be replaced as often as possible during this time to avoid spreading bugs around. Consider paper using paper towels as well; this is not a very ecologically friendly approach, but it is an option to be considered.
Our second recommendation would be to maintain a clean bathroom. After all that is where most of us will be washing our hands. Keep your sink handles and toilets clean to avoid more cross contamination. Another good idea would be to limit yourself to use one bathroom and avoid maintain this habit until everybody is feeling better.
If you have little ones that have fallen ill, a good thing to do would be to clean and disinfect toys and play areas. You may do this on a regular basis already, but it is especially important to maintain toys and common areas disinfected. Along with the idea of cleaning toys, make sure the “toys” of the older children are also clean. Of course we are talking electronics: Keyboards, TV remote, and video game controllers are great things to keep in mind.
If you are sick enough to miss work, you will probably spend a good time of your “time-off” stuck in bed. You need to make sure your sheets and pillow are clean and disinfected after your get better. You want eliminate the source of the illness altogether; you probably don’t want to sleep on dirty sheets anyways. While you’re at it you might also want to flip your mattress.
Another benefit of maintaining a clean home is the comfortable feeling you get walking into a tidy place. If you are already feeling down, the last thing you need is to feel even sick in the space that you are in. Nobody wants to clean while under the weather, but the feeling afterwards is totally worth it.
Cleaning your home is not a bulletproof way to stay healthy, there are external factors that will eventually get you sick. Cleaning will make sure that you are not spreading the bug around your family and hopefully will shorten the time you spend under the weather.
1. Mix things up.
Make a batch of homemade laundry detergent (it only takes a few minutes).
2. Infuse with yum!
Add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil and mix well into your detergent. Make sure to break up clumps with a fork so the oil is even distributed throughout.
3. Get clean.
Wash your clothes, bedding, linens or anything else you want to smell wonderful with two tablespoons of this lavender infused detergent.
For the last step, add ¾ cup of vinegar (with a few more drops of lavender oil) during the rinse cycle. It acts as a fabric softener, which leaves your sheets fluffy and soft.