Do you ever wake up in the night coughing, sneezing, and congested? Is morning a time of misery, when you’re constantly clearing your throat and blowing your nose? If this sounds familiar, your bedroom may be to blame.
In this post, learn what you need to know to rid your bedroom air of allergens, maintain clean indoor air, and enjoy a healthier, more restful sleep.
The Most Common Bedroom Allergens
The first step to ridding your bedroom of irritants and allergens is to know what you are looking for. Here is a list of some of the most common allergy-causing culprits that can be found in most bedrooms:
- Dust mites. Dust mites like to live in mattresses, pillows, and blankets. Mattresses and pillows that are not cleaned and not fitted with protective covers are nearly certain to contain colonies of allergy-causing mites.
- Dust. “Dust” sounds innocuous enough—until you grasp what it’s really made up of. Dust can include sloughed off dead skin (animal and human), dirt, debris, dander, sand, pollen, insect parts, and other, microscopic allergy-producing particles. Dust lives on shelves, in carpeting, around your bed frame, on your fan blades, in your lamp shades, and practically anywhere else with enough surface area for it to settle on.
- Mold and mildew. Since many bedrooms are near to or attached to bathrooms, the bedroom is actually a very common place to find mold and mildew, which can create conditions ripe for mild and more serious allergies and respiratory issues to take root.
- Insect droppings and residue. Roaches, silverfish, and spiders are primary culprits here, as they all favor living with humans, but any insect that enters your home is likely to leave behind droppings, residue (from webs, prey, molts, and more), and other undesirable allergy-instigating elements.
How to Get Rid of the Allergens
Once you know the primary suspects that may be causing your uncomfortable symptoms, the next step is to work on removing those allergens from your bedroom environment.
- Check your HVAC. Here, your first effort should be focused on ensuring your HVAC unit itself is clean and free from debris and that your household filters are fresh and clean. Otherwise, there is no sense in working so hard to remove bedroom allergens if your air conditioning and heating system will just bring them all back in again.
- Clean up your indoor act. Cleaning products, air fresheners, incense, candles, indoor smoking or vaping, indoor craft projects, and painting can all fill your indoor air back up with allergens and toxic elements. Remove these as best you can and substitute with natural and healthier alternatives. Also, try to keep your pets out of your bedrooms to limit how much dander gets deposited there.
- Steam clean. Steam cleaning floors, drapes, and carpeting, including area rugs, can remove the deeply embedded allergens that you can’t see. If at all possible, also replace mini-blinds with very light draperies, wash all bedding in very hot water, and buy covers for your pillows and your mattress.
- Remove the dust-collecting clutter. You may love your collectibles and knickknacks, but there is a good chance your lungs and sensitive sinus tissues do not.
- Exterminate. If you can get away with just exterminating the exterior of your home, this is by far the safest, least toxic, and best option. But if you have an indoor pest infestation going on, you will need to make sure that gets resolved if you want clean air to breathe in the future.
How to Maintain Clean Bedroom Air
Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to remove as many potential allergens as possible from your bedroom space, it’s time for ongoing maintenance. This is the phase when you are (hopefully) breathing easier, sleeping better, and waking up without automatically reaching for the box of tissues.
NOTE: If this is not the case, please make an appointment with an allergist to identify other possible causes for your respiratory discomfort.
Here are the steps we always recommend to our customers to keep newly refreshed indoor air as clean, safe, and allergy-free as possible:
- Bring in houseplants. Houseplants are natural air fresheners. This list of the 10 best houseplants for improving indoor air quality can be a helpful guide.
- Perform routine maintenance on your HVAC unit. Routine maintenance includes changing filters per the manufacturer’s recommendations and ensuring your unit is inspected and cleaned regularly.
- Dust and vacuum regularly. Whether you do this yourself or schedule a maid service to do it for you, this is the only way to ensure you stay ahead of the allergens that can once again disturb your sleep and health. It also helps to open windows while you do this and keep them open for a few minutes after you’re finished.
- Resist clutter. All that fresh, empty space can feel like an irresistible lure…but do your best to resist (unless you love dusting or paying other people to dust for you).
- Keep humidity at a reasonable percentage. If air is too humid, it can cause mold and mildew to grow. If air is too dry, it can cause irritation, itching, bleeding, and discomfort in your sensitive sinus tissues. Less than 50 percent humidity for indoor air is ideal in humid climates. But in very dry climates, and in winter, you may need to add humidity to your indoor air by using a humidifier.
- Add a HEPA filter as a backup for your home air filters. HEPA filters can filter out additional toxins and allergens that may slip past your regular home air filters. Running your HVAC system as needed to manage humidity levels and temperature, and adding a HEPA filtration system, you keep your indoor air much cleaner than would be possible otherwise.