Ah, allergies. No matter what the season, they can always find a way to ruin your day. And sometimes, not even your best neatfreak-like tendencies are enough to keep dust out of your bedroom and get it all under control.
Even if you vacuum your bedroom regularly, change your bedsheets every week, and try to make a good habit out of sweeping every flat surface in sight -- you might still find yourself sniffling and sneezing up a storm. What gives?!
Keep in mind that sharing a bedroom with a spouse or partner, inviting your pets to sleep there, or using it as a space for activities other than sleeping (like watching TV or working) is going to create more dust. To help you save more money on tissues (and stop giving the impression that you might have a cold), here are a few tips to consider in order to keep your bedroom a dust-free zone.
1. Invest in a good air purifier.
“Dust” is really just a word that’s used to encompass all the different particles that collect on surfaces and float through the air -- from dead skin and mites, to clothing fabric fibers and dirt. An air purifier that uses high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters are ideal, since they tend to do the best job at eliminating airborne particles. All you need is a small one, like the Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier, to place in your bedroom.
2. Rethink carpeting.
Carpets make perfectly cozy homes for dust mites, and the airborne particles you see floating through the sunlight near a window are actually dead mites and their waste. Now might be the time to seriously consider installing some hardwood or laminate floors, or if that’s not an option, make sure to run a good vacuum with powerful suction over it at least once a week.
3. Minimize upholstery.
Like carpeting, mites thrive in textiles. Furniture pieces and accessories made out of leather, wood, acrylic, or plastic, have flat hard surfaces that are easier to wipe down. But a bedroom without any textiles at all would be a bit of a decorative drag, so instead, choose accent pillows or furniture with removable cushions that you can wash, or that you can take outside to beat the dust out of them every now and then.
4. Replace old bedding, and use allergen-proof covers.
How long has it been since you replaced your pillows? How about your mattress? United Allergy Services recommends replacing the pillows you sleep with every six months. Your mattress can obviously last several years before it needs to be replaced, but you can extend the life of both by zipping them up in airtight allergen-proof covers.
5. Reduce clutter.
Anything that has a lot of edges, cracks, or crevices is going to make it harder for you to clean. Store knick knacks and other small things you don’t need out in plain sight away in containers and boxes.
6. Use garment bags in your closet.
Don’t forget the closet - after all, it is part of the bedroom. Put seasonal or infrequently worn clothing in airtight garment bags. Shoes and accessories should go in plastic bins, boxes, or drawers.
7. Install blinds instead of drapes.
Big, bulky fabric drapes are a dust mite’s dream. Consider swapping them out for wood, metal, or plastic blinds that are easier to wipe. If you’re not a fan of blinds, try choosing lightweight drapes that can be washed regularly.
8. Clean walls, windows, and mirrors with a microfiber cloth.
That’s right -- even your walls are covered in dust! At least twice a year, wipe a microfiber cloth soaked in warm water across your walls, moving from top to bottom. Windows and mirrors should be cleaned more frequently. Try using vodka for a green cleaning option.
9. Repair any cracks in your walls or windows.
Believe it or not, dust can enter your bedroom from the outdoors through the smallest cracks or holes. Next time you do a deep cleaning of your bedroom, take note of any cracks you find, and feel around the windows for drafty areas. Patch those up ASAP to prevent tiny outdoor particles from making their way inside.
10. Keep the humidity at the right level.
Mites really flourish in warm, humid environments. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, keeping a relative humidity level of less than 50 percent is recommended to reduce dust. For this, you should be using a high-efficiency dehumidifier combined with air conditioning in the summer during those hotter, muggier days.
Dust, unfortunately, is just one of those things that isn’t completely preventable. But if you implement all or most of the tips above, you should be able to cut your cleaning routine down quite a bit, keep dust out of your bedroom for the most part, and experience far less airborne particles tickling your sinuses the wrong way.
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Bedroom image via Shutterstock