Some of the most common allergens in the home are dust mites, dust particles, animal hair and dander – and thanks to its warm environment, our bedroom can be the ideal place for these to gather and impair your sleep. Bedding in particular can be a prime candidate for exasperating allergies if you don’t look after it in the right way or are using the wrong type for your needs.
Here, Karen Innes, NPD Manager at bedding specialist Slumberdown, shares her advice on how you can keep your bedding clean and hygienic to minimise the build-up of irritants and which bedding to choose if you, or a member of your family, is affected by allergies.
“As we head into the colder weather we generally keep our homes warm and windows closed which means there’s far less ventilation and these conditions allow allergens to thrive. The result can be runny noses, sneezing, itchy eyes and even rashes that keep us up at night, but there are some things you can do to combat this and getting your bedding right is key.
“The common house dust mite loves warm or humid environments and duvets and pillows provide the perfect setting, so if you suffer from allergies look closely at the type of materials you use in your bedding.
“Check to see that any bedding you’re purchasing has been made with specific anti-allergy fabrics or fillings. For instance, our Slumberdown Anti-Allergy range has been tested by the experts at Allergy UK and uses a special anti-allergy treated filling to help reduce the build-up of dust mites, bacteria and fungi. This is particularly important for homes with children as household dust-mites are responsible for causing 85% of allergic reactions amongst youngsters with asthma.
“Duvets and pillows featuring anti-allergy fillings can generally be washed on a 40°C cycle, which will help to keep the bedding nice and clean. Many people change their bed linen fortnightly, but if you’re someone who really suffers with allergies during the winter months, try to wash your bedding every week to reduce the dust particles and mites from building up.
“And don’t forget to wash your duvet and pillows too. If you’re really suffering try washing your duvet every 4 months and your pillows every 2 months to help keep on top of your allergies.
“Airing your bedding out a few times a week can also make a real difference. Simply hang your duvet over a wardrobe door or on the back of a chair, ideally without its duvet cover on. Another benefit of this is that it allows your bed, as well as the duvet, to ventilate properly. Dust mites hate natural light and fresh air so this is a simple way to prevent build up.
“It might sound obvious but protecting your bedding by always using a cover on your duvet and pillow, and a mattress protector and pillow protector, can help to reduce dust mite build up. Make sure it’s made from anti-allergy materials and that you’re also washing any covers regularly and at 40°C.
“And whilst we might all love our furry family members, animals on the bed can make asthma and allergies worse so try not to allow them in your bedroom if you’re after a good quality night’s sleep!”
Karen’s top five tips for helping manage allergies:
- Use bedding which is made from anti-allergy fabrics and fillings and approved by Allergy UK
- Wash bedding every week at 40°C using a biological detergent
- Try to air your bed and bedding several times a week, daily if possible – dust mites hate light and fresh air
- Make sure pillows and mattress have an anti-allergy protector to help reduce the volume of dust mites that can build up
- Keep pets out of the bedroom. Their hair and dander can worsen allergy symptoms