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  • The Ultimate Guide to Deep Clean Your Bedding

    Destroy dust mites with better laundry habits.


    The average household mattress hosts anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites*. And since roughly 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites**, it’s no wonder we start the day with headaches, itchy eyes and stuffy noses.

    What’s a sensitive-sinused sleepyhead to do? The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows mites thrive in warm, moist environments***. So increasing ventilation and air filtration while decreasing humidity is one important step. Vapor steam cleaning (for throw pillows, upholstery and other items you can’t launder) can also go a long way in stopping stubborn pests in their tiny tracks.

    Finally, get serious about your laundry game. Even if you already use allergy relief bedding or plastic mattress covers, this mite-crushing routine will help you reclaim your bedchamber in no time.

    • Weekly

      • Sheets and pillowcases. Sheets need to circulate to get clean, so plan on multiple loads to get the job done. Use water 130 degrees or hotter—mites can’t survive that scalding.
      • Comforter cover (or decorative comforter with no cover). If your washing machine isn’t big enough to fit a comforter, head to the laundromat. Yes, it’s a pain. But well worth the trip.
    • Monthly

      • Zippered pillow covers (underneath pillowcases). Wash on the hottest setting possible (take care not to shrink the fabric) and machine dry.
      • Mattress cover/mattress pad. Check care label, then wash, using recommended bleach and the hottest setting safe for the fabric. Machine dry.
      • Blankets, quilts, duvets, comforters, bed skirts. Check labels. If instructions are missing or faded, machine wash in warm (or on gentle) and machine dry on low heat.
    • Seasonally

      • Pillows. Some down and synthetic pillows are machine washable; others require dry cleaning. If you machine wash pillows, launder them in pairs to balance the machine. Run a double rinse cycle (second time with no detergent) to remove all soap residues. Machine dry with tennis balls to keep fibers from bunching up.
      • Under the bed. Vacuum as far as you can underneath the bed frame, paying attention to baseboards and corners.
    • Every six months

      • Mattress. Remove and wash the mattress cover, if you have one. Steam clean and/or use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove any loose dirt or dust. Spritz mattress with a natural dust mite spray. Flip mattress and repeat.