04/06/2016 12:09 EDT | Updated 04/07/2017 05:12 EDT

Wash Or Toss? How To Spring Clean Allergens Out Of The Bedroom

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Close-up of couple's feet sleeping on bed in bedroom

Tis the season for itchy watery eyes as allergy season is upon us. The spring also signals a time for rejuvenation and cleaning. While the season may prompt many to clean out their closets, garages and basements, bedrooms should not be neglected. In fact, your bedroom might be contributing to your allergy misery. That's because your mattress, pillows and sheets could be harbouring an array of allergens. This is concerning given the fact that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping.

When it comes to your bedroom, what should you toss and when? If you're still sleeping on the same mattress you bought when you were in school, or the mattress you bought when you got married more than a decade ago, it's probably time to replace it.

The following are answers to some frequently asked questions that can help you reduce allergens in your bedroom and have a good night's sleep:

How often should you wash your sheets, pillows, mattresses, etc.?

Sheets: Try to wash sheets every week in hot water to clean dust, dirt and sweat.

Pillows: Pillows should be washed at least once every six months, if not sooner to get rid of dirt, oil and dead skin cells. If your pillows can't be washed, try to find pillows that have a washable top or cover to ensure the side that touches your face is free from allergens.

Mattresses: For a standard mattress, aim to clean it twice a year. If you can't remember, consider timing it with the changes in season. It's also a good idea to rotate it at the same time to ensure equal usage on all ends. When cleaning, vacuum the top of the mattress using an upholstery attachment and then wipe it with a wet cloth and a little upholstery shampoo. Ensure you keep the water to a minimum because too much moisture can result in mold.

Duvets: To minimize how often you need to wash your duvet, invest in a duvet cover. The cover should be washed weekly with the sheets. The duvet can go without cleaning for a couple of years or more if covered. To preserve the duvet, it's best to get it professionally cleaned.


How often should your bedding and mattress be replaced?

Sheets: There's no hard and fast rule for replacing sheets other than to replace them when they start showing their wear. Depending on the material and how often you wash them, some sheets may last longer than others.

Pillows: If you start to experience neck or back pain or pillows won't fluff up any more, it's time to buy new pillows. As a rule of thumb, expect to replace down-filled pillows every two years. Memory foam will last about five years.

Mattresses: To increase the lifespan of your mattress, rotate your mattress twice a year and invest in a mattress cover. Without a cover, the average person replaces a mattress every seven to eight years. According to Consumer Reports, mattresses should be replaced anywhere from five to 10 years, depending on the quality on the mattress and your age. Seemingly, the older you get, the more often you should consider changing your mattress.

It's critical to keep the bedroom clean and free of dust.

Beyond washing regularly, what else can be done to combat allergens in the bedroom?

Pillows: When shopping for pillows, look beyond soft and firm and find one that is hypoallergenic and washable. Most memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic and doesn't attract dust mites the way traditional pillows do.

Mattresses: Consider purchasing a memory foam mattress that is 100 per cent hypoallergenic and won't attract dust mites. Dust mites like living in feathers and cotton so you don't have to worry about that with a memory foam mattress.

Perhaps the most shocking tip when it comes to reducing allergens in the bedroom has to do with vacuuming. It's critical to keep the bedroom clean and free of dust. Experts say to accomplish this, high-traffic areas should be vacuumed daily! While this is the ideal situation, it's not realistic for most people. Still, if you're worried about dust and allergies, aim to vacuum your bedroom once or twice a week and dust at least every other week.

We spend so much time in the bedroom yet can be the easiest space to overlook because it's a private space, out of the public eye. Keep in mind that neglecting our bedrooms can lead to a dirty and dusty space that can not only impact allergies but also your mood. Keeping it clean and uncluttered will ensure you have a fresh place to rest, recuperate and rejuvenate.

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