Fall Bedding…Time to Get Your Bed Ready for Snuggle Season

 

Snuggle Time

Fall is in full force now.  It’s a great time to start thinking about changing out your summer bedding.  Even if you don’t live in an area with significant changes in temperature, it is still a good time to freshen up your bedding, especially if you have dust or dust mite allergies.

Your first line of defense is your zippered dust mite covers that you have on your pillows, mattress and boxs prings.  If you didn’t take the cover off your mattress in the Spring and wash it, now is a great time to do that chore.  A great snuggle season starts with bedding that is freshly laundered. Be sure to wash in either hot water or add some De-Mite if you are washing in cold.  Wash with the zippers in the open position and be sure the cover is totally dry before you put it back on the bed.  If you didn’t wash your mattress cover last Spring and haven’t done it recently, there is no time like this weekend to get that done!

You are probably washing your dust mite pillow covers every 2 months or so.  If you haven’t washed them in the last two months, throw them in the load with your mattress cover.  Also, try to make it a habit to wash those pillow covers at least every 6 to 8 weeks.  The oil from your hair and head can come through your pillowcase case and make the zippered cover look really dingy.

It’s also time to start thinking about warmer blankets and quilts.  If your Fall bedding includes a blanket or quilt that was not stored in a closed container, then before you put it on your bed, toss the item in your dryer and set to the fluff setting for 20 minutes.  Do not use any heat!  The tumble action of the dryer will help shake loose any dust that might have collected while it was in storage.

If your quilt/comforter isn’t protected with a dust mite proof zippered duvet cover, then you should think about using one.  The zippered cover will provide complete protection against any allergens embedded in the comforter and also help to keep the duvet/comforter itself clean. If you don’t use a zippered cover, then you can always spray your duvet, quilt or comforter or other bedding with ADMS Anti-Allergen Dust Mite Spray.  Just give it a light mist on both sides and make sure it is dry before you put it back on the bed.

If you change to jersey or flannel sheets in the fall months, make sure that your Spring/Summer sheets are washed in De-Mite or Allergen Wash before you store them.  If you didn’t wash your sheets in either of these solutions, then make sure you do wash them before you put them on the bed.  You want to start fresh.

Now if you are going to take your summer quilt/blanket/comforter and get it ready for storage, make sure it is clean first.  If it is washable, wash it and make sure it is completely dry.  If it wool or silk that is not washable, take advantage of these last sunny days and expose your wool or silk to the sunshine.  The ultraviolet light will freshen the silk and reactivate the lanolin in the wool.

If you have large plastic storage bags or tubs, they are great for protecting your summer bedding until you need it again next year.  If bugs are a problem, I recommend the use of cedar chips and cedar oil versus toxic mothballs to repel pests.

If you have allergies and are thinking about adding a new quilt or comforter to your Fall bedding collection, then I recommend wool over down or synthetic fibers.  The lanolin in wool naturally repels dust mites and also provides some antibacterial protection.

I have used both wool and silk comforters on my bed.  I prefer the wool over the silk, my hubby likes the silk better.  The compromise is silk in the warmer months and wool in the cooler months (yes we do have what we think are “cool” nights here in South Florida during the winter).

I know people really like down but it causes problems.  Not only is it a dust mite heaven, but even if you cover your down quilt with a dust mite proof cover, the protection won’t last forever.  Eventually, the quills on the down will penetrate the microweave and your cover will loose its effectiveness.

Some people like to vacuum their mattresses a few times a year.  It really isn’t necessary, but if it makes you feel more protected, then by all means, use this time of year as an excuse to do it.

Till next time

Cheryl

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Dust Mite Facts and Fiction

If you are allergic to dust mites it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information (both true and false) in literature and on the internet. Just as you have to get rid of the clutter in your bedroom, we are going to cut through the dust mite clutter and sort it into dust mite facts and dust mite fictions.

dust mite facts Dust Mite Facts

  •  Dust mites are blind
  • They have 8 legs and are related to spiders
  • Dust mites have two gripping suckers at the end of each leg
  • Dust mites are covered by a hard cuticle that must be shed as it grows
  • There are two major species of dust mites (dermatophagoides farinae – commonly known as the North American mite and dermatophagoides pteronyssinus – the European dust mite)
  • Dust mites float in water
  • A female dermatophagoides far. will lay 1 egg a day for about 30 days.
  • The adult dust mite has about 19 to 30 days to reproduce depending on the relative humidity and the temperature of the environment.
  • The allergen causing protein is in the gut of the mite and is expelled in its feces.
  • Dust mites cannot be seen with the unaided eye. They are microscopic.
  • Dust mite body parts and feces are the major component of house dust.
  • Dust mites will eat the skin of other mammals if human skin is not available.
  • Dust mites love humidity
Dust Mite Fictions
  •  Dust mites bite
  • Dust mites are a sign of a dirty house
  • Acaracides are effective in killing dust mites
  • You can see dust mites on your bed
  • Dust mites live in your heating and ac vents
  • Only humans are allergic to dust mites
  • Dust mite colonies live in our clothing
  • Dust mites can be totally removed from a mattress by vacuuming
  • You can outgrow dust mite allergy
  • Dust mites cause mange in dogs and cats
  • Dust mites are killed by sunlight (just like vampires)
  • Dust mites drink your sweat while you sleep

It is important to know the dust mite facts because this knowledge is what will help you in your dust mite battle. If you know the allergen is in the feces and body and that mites float then you know you need to take special steps when washing your bedding. This is why we suggest the use of De-Mite Laundry Additive or Allersearch Allergen Wash in the wash cycle instead of relying on the heat of the dryer to remove allergens.

Another practical application from the dust mite facts is that dust mites will eat the skin from your pets. That means you need to keep your pet’s bedding washed as well as yours.

If you see some type of small insect on your sheets, you know from the dust mite facts that this is not a dust mite. You also know that calling an exterminator is a waste of money for removing dust mites from your home.

Hope this helps clear the air.

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What Will Kill Dust Mites?

If you’ve got dust mite allergies, you don’t want dust mites. But how do you kill dust mites if they are too small to be seen or felt? There are just a few ways to kill dust mites.

freezing kills dust mites
Dust Mite Magnified

Freezing temperatures kills dust mites

Dust mites can’t stand temperatures below freezing. You can kill dust mites by placing them in freezing cold. Put pillows in the freezer overnight and any dust mites in the pillow die. Of course, your freezer wasn’t really made for storing bed linens. The chicken parts and ice cream might object.

boiling water will kill dust mitesBoiling water kills dust mites

You can kill dust mites by boiling them in hot water.  Actually, exposure to water above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill mites. You could try boiling your sheets and blankets. Of course you need to find a pot large enough first.

Desiccants kill dust mites

Dust mites don’t drink water. They absorb moisture form the environment around them. It’s why they like areas that are damp. Keeps them from feeling “thirsty”. Desiccants remove humidity and moisture from the environment. Common household desiccants  are borax, calcium chloride, and silica gel.

Borax is the traditional washing additive found in 20 Mule Team Borax. Find it in the laundry aisle of the grocery store. Calcium chloride is the stuff you add to pickles to make them crunchy. Just read the label on a jar of Claussen pickles. Buy it where you find canning supplies. Ball sells it as “pickle crisp granules”. Silica gel is used by crafters to dry out flowers. You can find it at a craft shop.

Spread desiccants where you want to kill dust mites.

What really gets rid of dust mite allergies?

The problem with all this dust mite killing is it doesn’t help dust mite allergies. The allergens from dust mites are found in the body and feces. Killing dust mites doesn’t stop the allergen. It actually hastens the release of the allergen. Dead dust mites make you just as sick as living mites. It doesn’t help to kill them.

Zippered mattress covers control dust mites
Zippered mattress covers control dust mites

So what does help control dust mites?

Removing dust and dust catchers. Wipe down all hard surfaces at least every 7 days with a damp rag. This removes allergens. Keep dust catching items like knickknacks and books to a minimum.

Replace rugs and carpets where dust mites live and die with hard surface floors.

Don’t stick the pillows in the freezer or boil your sheets. Encase your pillows, mattress and boxspring in zippered dust mite proof covers.  Wash sheets every 7 days with De-Mite Laundry Additive, Allergen Wash, or 140°F water.

So forget killing dust mites, it doesn’t provide allergy relief. Instead, focus on controlling dust mite allergen in the home. You will sleep better and feel better.

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