Caring for Mattresses: Uninvited Tenants

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Every night, while you’re somewhere far away in Lalaland, blissfully oblivious to your surroundings, colonies and clusters of tiny creatures make a habitat in the mattress beneath your sleeping body.

Enter your mattress, a bustling habitat of microorganisms where mould, bacteria, dust mites and bedbugs can become an infuriating source of trouble in your life. You can’t see them with your naked eye, but trust us; they’re there.

Out of sight and out of mind? Well, not unless you’re really out of your mind.

Take Notice!

Singapore’s high humidity levels couple with its warm climate to make our little red dot the perfect Utopia for mould, bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive in.

While it’s easy to turn a blind eye to them, these microorganisms are more sinister than you’d imagine – they can wreck your mattress, and even your health.

Now, you’ve been warned. Take the necessary precautions to sleep in peace at night.

Lo And Behold, The Mould!

89020761If moisture accumulates between the bottom of your mattress and bed frame, mould and mildew may start to grow. Their spores may enter your respiratory system when you sleep, and this can lead to allergy problems, asthma, seizures and even heart attacks.

Does this mean that a mattress should be thrown into the dumpster once it starts showing signs of mould?

Generally, you should consider changing your mattress if you notice that more than half of your mattress is coated with mould or mildew. Since the spores of mould and mildew are almost invisible to the naked eye, it’s probably far too late to save your mattress once these spores have flourished.

However, it isn’t always Mission Impossible to save your mattress once it starts showing tracing of mould or mildew growth.

If the mould or mildew only affects a small portion of your mattress, it’s still salvagable. Air your mattress outdoors on a sunny day and allow it to stay in the sun for the entire day. UV rays in the sunlight help to kill the mould and mildew by destroying their roots permanently.

In the meantime, brush and vacuum the affected area of the mattress thoroughly to remove loose spores. Make sure you’re wearing protective gloves and mask while doing so, so none of that gets into your body.

Next sponge the affected area gently with detergent and warm water. Blot the area again with clean water, and allow it to dry in the sunlight or, if you’re impatient, hasten the process with a hairdryer.

Finally, vacuum your mattress once more after it has completely dried. This will removes any remaining allergy-inducing dead spores. Keep your room well-ventilated and remember to bring in your mattress after dark to prevent dew from settling on it, or you’ll be back to square one.

Bad, Bad Bacteria

bacteriaDon’t say we didn’t warn you; the bacteria found in your bed can lead to infections, fever and other illnesses. There’re even some virus strains that’ve developed a resistance to antibiotics, and this can be extremely harmful to your health.

Instead of devouring every juicy red apple in sight, maintaining a clean bed is the way to go if you want to keep the doctor away. One of the best ways to disinfect your mattress is by using hydrogen peroxide. Just  mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of water, and then pour the deadly little cocktail into a spray bottle. Spritz the solution onto your mattress and to wipe out those nasty little microorganisms

Alternatively, you can disinfect the mattress with alcohol. Simply spray a mist of rubbing alcohol to eradicate all worries of harmful bacteria or viruses. It dries almost instantly, and even helps in minimizing odour.

An important point to note: When it comes to mattress cleaning, the sun’s your best friend. Harness the natural antibiotic properties in sunrays to kill any remaining germs in your mattress. It’s a good habit to disinfect your mattress monthly, so that the bacteria and germs are kept far, far away.

Bugs Buster!

bedbugDust mites live in your mattress, and their favourite bedtime snack are the flakes of dead human skin that your body regularly sheds. The excrement of these tiny translucent creatures contains an enzyme that causes asthma, eczema and allergic reactions.

Here’s the good news: there’re home remedies available to rid your mattress of most of these little critters. The bad news, however, is that you’ll never be able to get rid of them completely, unless you change your mattress.

Basically, all you need to do is vacuum your bed frequently. Make sure that your bed linen is washed every alternate week, with the hottest water available. High temperature kills dust mites, and the rinse cycle of your washing machine ensures that their bodies and excrement are removed. Airing and sunning your pillows and blankets regularly also helps to eliminate dust mites since they only thrive in moist places.

Don’t confuse them with bedbugs, though. Unlike dust mites, bedbugs feast on human blood. These tiny vampires only feed at night, leaving you with itchy bites and traces of blood on your bed sheets. Once these bedbugs decide to make your mattress their new home, they’ll usually stay for good.

Hence, the only viable solution will be to call the pest control company to spray your home with insecticide. There’s little you can do to help, but wash all your bed linen in the hottest wash possible, and keep children and pets away from the infested mattress.

Well, sleep tight. And don’t let the bedbugs bite.