Why you need to clean your bed/mattress & how to properly do it

[This is a sponsored article with Dyson.]

I have a confession to make. Ever since I bought my mattress nearly two years back, I have yet to find a time to clean it thoroughly even though I sleep on it every single night.

Before judging me, I’m sure a few of you have yet to clean your mattresses too.

In fact, a study by Dyson shows that even though there was a 93% increase in household cleaning among Malaysians compared to last year, 67% of us would usually neglect cleaning our beds.

If most of us don’t care to do it, then surely it’s not a serious issue, right? Well… I hope that reading this article would be enough to convince you (and also myself) to start cleaning our mattresses immediately.

Our beds are not as clean as you think

Humans shed at least 500 million skin cells every 24 hours. With one-third of our day spent in bed, it is the perfect breeding ground for dust mites since they feed on dander or dead skin cells.

Dust mites will also leave faeces or end up dead on our beds, making them one of the main causes of allergies and skin irritations. Some of us even lose sleep because of the constant itching. 

While they don’t typically bite, it’s quite disgusting to think that we’re sleeping on a bed filled with hundreds of thousands of microscopic bugs that may occasionally crawl all over your body.

If you’ve been noticing dark spots on your mattress or pillow, it is most likely a sign that you have been drooling or sweating while you’re asleep.

I’ll admit, I drool a lot during sleep, and I’m sure many others do too. Grossness aside, these spots also provide ideal conditions for bacterial and fungal growth.

According to the Sleep Foundation, everyone should clean their mattresses at least once every week

To my surprise, a quick survey around the office showed that only one out of seven respondents cleaned their beds weekly, while the rest of my colleagues either rarely or have never cleaned theirs at all.

Even then, that usually consists of only changing the bedsheets without actually cleaning the mattress beneath.

Dust mites, fungi, and bacteria can still slip through the fabric, contaminating the mattress underneath. These can be trapped by a mattress protector, but that also needs to be cleaned regardless, as you’ll see proof of later.

Dirt particles tend to stick to pet fur

According to Dyson, one in two pet owners globally let their furry friends sleep on their beds. I’m part of that statistic, and many of us with furbabies probably are too. 

While that may sound cute and harmless, pets that frequently roam outdoors could trap allergens in their fur, which sometimes end up on the owner’s bed. 

Here’s a list of residues Malaysians might not be aware of:

Particles Malaysian average (%) Global average (%)
Food residues 82 76
Pollen 84 75
House Dust Mites faeces 73 73
Viruses 72 66
Sand and soil particles 62 63
House Dust Mites 70 63
Dust 62 58
Skin flakes 73 57
Bacteria 47 48

Pets tend to also shed fur, which can lead to irritations like swelling of the eyes, itchy lips, and runny noses.

When my cat shares the same bed as me, its fur tends to cause my eyes to swell up, sometimes to the extent of requiring me to take antihistamine pills to ease the swelling.

Some of my colleagues have had similar experiences, and have even exhibited symptoms like rashes and uncontrollable sneezing.

Some get such serious allergic reactions that they opt to not let their pets climb on the bed (but let’s be real, those naughty, fluffy critters will still find a way to do so anyway).

According to Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, a respiratory physician based in Pantai Hospital, “Dust mites, more specifically dust mite faeces, are one of the most common triggers for asthma, with significant numbers of patients having an allergy to it.” 

“Poorly-controlled asthma can lead to a multitude of symptoms, such as chest tightness and a persistent cough, all of which can affect one’s quality of life,” he continued.

Vacuum cleaners are effective but underutilised

I asked my colleagues what their preferred tools for cleaning their mattresses were. Most replied that they would either use a lint roller or simply dust debris off their beds with their bare hands if they’re lazy.

And both methods do appear to help, at least to a certain extent.

Top left: lint rolling the bed sheet / Top right: lint rolling the mattress protector / Bottom: lint rolling the mattress directly 

After just one round of rolling on a small area of the bed sheet, mattress protector, and the mattress, this is how much dirt and hair a lint roller picked up from my colleague’s bed.

But what we don’t realise is that tiny debris like dust mites and their faeces, pet dander, skin cells and bacteria are so small, they are practically invisible to the naked eye.

These particles ranging from 0.3 to 0.9 microns are able to get through the sheets and mattress protector,  getting trapped between the stitching of our mattresses where lint rollers can barely reach.

I don’t think a lint roller can really pick up this amount of fine dust

With sufficient suction power though, like the 150AW from the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Total Clean, clearing your bed and mattress of various residues is possible and more convenient.

I had used the anti-tangle Hair Screw tool and with the 60 minutes of run time, it is more than enough for me to clean every nook and cranny of my bed and mattress. Plus it’s compact and light for every manoeuvre.

More importantly, its metal mesh, 11 root cyclones, pre and post motor filter will filter, suck, and trap particles down to 0.3 microns. 

I personally was quite surprised (and disgusted) to see what ended up in the vacuum bin after just one round of cleaning my bed.

Let’s just say, I’ll be more diligent with cleaning my mattress from now on, maybe even doing it as often as once a week.

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To sum it all up, we should be cleaning our mattresses more often and with the right tools, such as a vacuum cleaner that’s powerful enough to suck up dust mites and trapped pet hair.

Speaking of which, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim can be bought from the price of RM3,299 onwards. There’s also a promo going on where you can get the vacuum or even the latest Dyson air purifier at RM500 off from June 15, 2022 until July 31, 2022 with the Dyson Trade-Up campaign.

In order to be eligible for the discount, all you need to do is head over to any Dyson store and trade in your old vacuum cleaner or air purifier from any brand.

If you ever run into a situation where the Dyson vacuum cleaner starts exhibiting issues, you can send it over to any Dyson service centre nationwide to get it fixed.

  • Find out more about the Dyson V12 Detect Slim here.
  • Find out more about the Dyson Trade-Up campaign here.
  • Read more about Dyson’s Global Dust Study 2022 here.

Featured Image Credit: Stockvault