Almost a third of our life was spent in bed. There we start and end the day, and it is natural to enjoy a soft and cozy bed. Unfortunately, it is also common to wake up with itchy eyes and throat and with a blocked nose. If you suffer from allergies, surely you know very well what I say! Maintaining a proper cleaning routine of the mattress and pillows will make you sleep better … and breathe better.
How to protect the mattress
The best way to protect a mattress and keep it clean for as long as possible is to use a protective cover that is easy to put on, take off and wash. If you suffer from allergies, check that the case is waterproof and hypoallergenic. This type of cover closes with a zipper and completely protects the mattress, not just the top and sides. Wash the protective cover – following brand instructions – at least once a month.
How and how often the mattress should be cleaned
It is essential to clean the mattress periodically, despite using the protective cover, and regardless of whether the mattress is made of springs or more modern materials, such as foam or latex, to keep it clean and fresh. How often? Most experts recommend cleaning it at least twice a year, but if you suffer from severe allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems, my advice is to clean it thoroughly at the end of each season (four times a year).
Start by removing all textiles and pillows from the bed. Using the upholstery accessory of your vacuum, carefully vacuum every inch of the mattress. Pay special attention to the edges, crevices, and seams. The objective? Remove both dust and dust mites. These tiny and practically invisible insects feed on the dead cells that come off our skin, and the mattress is one of their favorite shelters.
Examine your mattress below to identify any possible stains. Remember that, as a general rule, the best way to treat stains (be they food, drink, or human or animal fluids) is to clean them immediately. If you detect the stain when it is dry, make a paste by mixing a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide) with a tablespoon of salt and a couple of drops of liquid soap for the dishes. Rub the paste on the stain (do it with an old toothbrush) and let it act. When the paste is completely dry, remove any residue with a cloth.
In case you perceive bad odors emanating from the mattress, try this trick. Put in a spray bottle, distilled white vinegar, and sprinkle lightly on the mattress. Be careful not to saturate or wet the surface of the mattress in excess. Do not worry about the smell because the vinegar aroma evaporates quickly, but it is fantastic to neutralize other odors. Check my column on how to eliminate bad odors.
Refresh with baking soda
When you check that the mattress is completely dry, sprinkle a cup of baking soda over its entire surface. Leave on for one or two hours and carefully aspirate the mattress again to remove any dust residue. Once the mattress looks and feels dry, clean and fresh, replace the protector and the sheets and other bedding (ideally made of natural fibers).
Why turn and turn
Depending on the type of mattress you have, you will have to turn it at least once a year (this is no longer necessary with the most modern models), so the wear will be homogeneous. In any case, I recommend rotating it three or four times a year (or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations) so that the quality of your rest does not diminish.
How to protect the pillows
As with the mattress, Pillowcases are ideal if you’re allergic or if you just want to extend the life of your pillow and keep them clean longer. These covers keep dust mites at bay and act as a shield against excess moisture, helping to prevent mold. My favorites are the covers that completely wrap the pillow and close with a zipper. Take advantage of putting them in the washing machine in warm water next to the protective cover of the mattress once a month.
How to wash the pillows
Even with the protective cover and cover (wash the latter once a week along with the sheets), plan to wash your bed pillows a couple of times a year. Before washing, read the label carefully with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Pillows filled with cotton, synthetic fibers, down or even feathers can be washed normally in the washing machine.
- It is recommended to wash two pillows at the same time so as not to cause imbalance in the washing machine. and use a mild detergent and liquid (not powder), warm water and delicate cycle.
- Dry the pillows in the dryer with low heat next to two or three new tennis balls, wrapped in clean white socks, to avoid caking inside or that the color of the balls is transferred to them.
- Pillows filled with foam ( foam or memory foam ) cannot be washed in the washing machine. However, you can cool them by putting them in the dryer (without heat) for about 15 minutes.
I share a secret: once you feel that the pillows are not comfortable for you to sleep, use them as additional padding for the sofa cushions!