What bugs are crawling around in your mattress?
Most people know what bedbugs are – those tiny little parasites that feast on humans and are known pests. Many people take precautions against an infestation of this type, but there are other organisms that inhabit your mattress that you might not be aware of.
Let’s start at the beginning. We spend up to a third of our lives sleeping. That means we spend a third of our lives in bed – on our mattress. Many of us have pets who also sleep on our bed with us – family pets that we love, but we have other ‘pets’ that inhabit our mattress and we’re blissfully unaware of these gross little critters.
Because of the amount of time we spend in bed, we perspire, shed skin, shed hair, drool and other unmentionables. Because a mattress is a dense, complex piece of furniture, much of this ‘debris’ becomes a part of the mattress. And this can lead to bugs….
House dust mites are a common phenomenon around the home. These little beasts feed on human skin tissue which has been shed, along with their cousins – skin mites. Whilst they will not cause you any immediate harm, like parasitic bed bugs do, they can cause severe allergic reactions. Many asthma suffers site the root cause as house dust mites. Dust mites can lead to sever allergic reactions in some people, and so they are best kept to a minimum by regularly vacuuming your mattress. Using a water proof mattress protector is also a clever way to protect your mattress from most of these little critters.
Yes, you read right! Fleas can live in your mattress! It’s actually the perfect place for them, once they’ve infested your bed – warm and cosy with a guaranteed food supply on a nightly basis.
The only sure fire way to prevent a flea infestation is to either keep your pets out of your bedroom, or make sure they are regularly treated for fleas. Again a waterproof mattress protector will keep these little hoppers out of your mattress fibres.
Whilst much less common, these little blood suckers are always looking for a host – if they fall off their existing one. Ticks can be transported by you, your partner or your pets to your bed, without you realising it.
Check your animals regularly for ticks and make sure that you ‘de-tick’ yourself if you’ve been camping or for a walk in long grass, before you head for the sweet softness of club duvet on your return.
Household mould is a very common phenomenon and one that most people struggle to keep under control. A mattress is not immune from mould and the mites that feed on it. Whilst these bugs themselves don’t bite, they can, like dust mites cause a severe allergic reaction. Mould spores too, can cause a severe reaction which can result in anaphylaxis or lung issues. If your mattress is mouldy, it’s definitely time to toss it for a new one!
So what should you do to prevent these?
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of using a waterproof mattress protector, which will improve the ‘health’ of your mattress, but it’s important that this too is washed at a high temperature and sun dried on a regular basis. Most bugs can’t withstand the high temperatures of washing machines, tumble dryers and the sun.
We recommend that you also vacuum your mattress fairly regularly, to pick up any surface debris and bugs. If you have a powerful enough vacuum cleaner, then you will probably be able to lift some debris from inside the mattress.
Most importantly, don’t hang onto the same old mattress until the cows come home. Spending a third of your life on something, means it is worth investing in every few years.