No space in the home is more personal or intimate than your bed, which is why certain myths about mattress cleanliness are so troubling. The good news is that many of the mattress myths circulating the web are overblown. Snuggle in and read up here on the truths about mattress cleaning and how an ounce of prevention and routine maintenance can keep you sleeping soundly (and sanitarily).
Myth #1 Your mattress doubles in weight every 10 years.
FALSE While it is true that your body sheds a surprising amount of perspiration and dead skin cells when you sleep—1.5 million cells and 25 milliliters per hour, to be exact—your mattress is not absorbing four billion skin cells and 20 gallons of perspiration each year. Your sheets, bedding, and pajamas capture most of it, and can be addressed with frequent laundering of bedding and nightwear. Vacuuming your mattress monthly is also a simple way to keep soil levels down.
Myth #2 Mattress covers protect your bed dirt and germs.
MOSTLY FALSE Mattress protectors are a smart preventative measure to help protect your health and financial investment, but, like most things in life, there are limits. Quality water-, bug-, and allergen-proof covers keep spills and soils from absorbing into your mattress. This can make it more difficult for invisible allergen producers such as dust mites to thrive, and also make bed bugs easier to detect and exterminate. But, even the best covers must be moderately porous or they would be too uncomfortable to use. That means some soils seep through, so having your mattress cleaned professionally at least once a year is an important step, especially for people with dust allergies.
Myth #3 Well-maintained mattresses do not need professional cleaning.
FALSE Routine maintenance—such as washing your bed linens weekly, vacuuming your mattress monthly, and protecting your mattress and box spring with quality covers—all contribute to a sanitary sleep environment, but they do not replace professional cleaning. Pro services use more aggressive tools, such high-heat steam and infrared light to kill dust mite colonies and release stubborn stains that routine maintenance can’t tackle. Annual shock treatments return mattresses to cleanliness levels that can be maintained more easily throughout the year.
Myth #4 Only mattresses in dirty homes get bed bugs.
FALSE Beg bugs are not the least bit picky, and will gladly set up camp in any bed with humans upon which they can feed. Increasing travel rates and decreasing pesticide use have been assisting with bed bug population growth for years. They can be found even in the poshest of hotels and homes, just waiting to hitch a ride on your luggage to the next bed. Best defenses are to inspect hotel mattresses before bringing luggage into the room and purchase covers for your mattress and box spring in case you should unwittingly bring bed bugs home. To check the mattress, simply pull the sheets off one corner and inspect seam bindings for brown spots. Note that hotel bedding is washed and bleached regularly, so should not be relied upon for evidence of a bug-free bed.
Myth #5 You should make your bed first thing every morning.
FALSE For once, cleaning less can be good for you! Remember the dead skin cells and perspiration feeding that 1.5-million strong colony of dust mites in your mattress? They find your damp, blanket-covered mattress as comfy as you do. Leaving blankets and top sheets pulled down allows bedding to dry out. Add in some sunlight streaming through your windows and you have more than enough to kill many of the little buggers in a matter of hours. If you can’t stand the look of an unmade bed, then we suggest neatly pulling down blankets and sheets as in a hotel turn-down service, open your window shades, and begin the day knowing your bed will be fresh and ready for your return that night.