Not following mattress hygiene can cost you dear, changing bed covers don’t count

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Vacuuming the mattress and airing it out are some things you can do to maintain hygiene

A good night’s sleep has a lot to do with the mattress, which is why many of us find it difficult to sleep in a hotel bed.

While choosing a new mattress as well, we put in a lot of effort. It needs to be just right.

But when it comes to mattress hygiene, we often ignore it. We regularly wash the clothes we wear and the dishes we use, but cleaning the mattress where we spend a good 7-8 hours every night never comes to mind.

The only cleaning we do is changing the sheets and pillow covers sporadically. But we must tell you that cleaning your mattress is crucial. You may not be able to squeeze it into a washing machine, but there are ways to keep it clean.

“A dirty mattress can exacerbate allergies and respiratory issues due to the accumulation of dust mites, mould, and other allergens,” Dr Shuchin Bajaj, founder-director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, tells India Today.

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that thrive in warm, humid environments like mattresses. They feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and pets, and their faeces contain allergenic proteins that can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

The doctor adds that when someone sleeps on a dirty mattress infested with dust mites, they can inhale or come into contact with these allergens, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and wheezing.

For individuals with asthma, exposure to dust mite allergens can worsen symptoms and increase the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

Apart from this, a dirty mattress can attract pests like bed bugs, which can cause skin irritation and disrupt the quality of sleep.

Adding to this, Dr Andrea Rachel Castelino, consultant dermatologist at DermaZeal Clinic, Bangalore, says that a dirty mattress can be terrible for your skin.

Dust mites can trigger dry, itchy rashes. This may not happen to every individual, but in particular, individuals with atopic eczema, their symptoms can worsen.

Itchy skin rashes, as seen in scabies, can result from an infestation of the mite sarcoptes scabiei, also referred to as the ‘itch mite’, which may reside in mattresses. Scabies is caused due to itch mites and spreads from person-to-person transmission.

Although the mite cannot survive outside of the human body for long, it is known to survive on mattresses and clothes for up to 2-3 days.

Anand Nichani, managing director of mattress brand Magniflex India, says that over time, accumulated sweat, body oils, and other bodily fluids can lead to unpleasant odours in mattresses.

Maintaining mattress hygiene through regular cleaning and ventilation can minimise odour buildup, ensuring a fresh and comfortable sleep environment.

He adds that good hygiene practices contribute to a healthier sleep environment and help extend your mattress’ lifespan.

By keeping it clean and free from moisture and allergens, you can prevent premature wear and tear, ensuring that your mattress provides optimal comfort and support for years.

Nichani explains that the lifespan of a mattress depends on various factors, such as the quality, frequency of use, and personal comfort preferences. Ideally, mattresses should be replaced every 7 to 10 years. However, some high-quality mattresses can last up to 15 years with basic care.

Signs that indicate it’s time to replace a mattress include visible sagging, lumps, or if you wake up feeling stiff or sore.

Apart from this, make sure to clean dust under your bed and around the frame. You’ll be amazed at the amount that builds up. And, given the amount of time you spend in bed during your lifetime, putting in a bit of effort to keep it clean should not be a big task. It is only beneficial for you.

If you have any skin condition or allergies, make sure that your mattress is not contributing to it. Vacuuming the mattress, airing it out, and using a mattress protector are some things that you can do to maintain mattress hygiene.