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Unmade Bed: Does It Get Rid of Dust Mites?

One research finding that continues to spark debate among health experts, as far as removing home dust mites is concerned, is leaving your bed unmade in the morning in order to kill dust mites. This discussion all began when Dr. Stephen Pretlove claimed on BBC News that, based on his study, having an unmade bed helps eliminate moisture in the beddings, thereby dehydrating and killing the minute critters.

Dust mites, a microscopic arachnid species, survive by feeding on dead skin flakes shed by people daily especially during their sleep. That is why these bugs are typically found in beddings, mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets, and padded furniture where it is dark, warm and humid. They usually thrive in an environment with temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent. The thing is dust mites exist everywhere in people’s homes all over the world. This means no one is entirely safe from these pests; however, we can utilize ways to somehow diminish their numbers and the potential harm they can give.

First, humans must know that over a million dust mites dwell in their beds during the night. With such a huge number, imagine yourself being under the covers with those creatures! If you don’t find that disgusting enough, then consider the fact that dust mites release fecal matter containing allergens, which you inhale at night in your sleep. This serves as a good reason we should get rid of these pests. They are known carriers of allergens that trigger asthma and people who have allergic reactions will surely suffer. Even after their death, the dust mites’ dead bodies would continue to spread allergens. Common symptoms of dust mite allergy include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and itchiness on the skin, in the eyes, nose, or throat. 

Impact of Not Making Your Bed

Kingston University researchers like Pretlove argued that making your bed after you wake up is like tucking in dust mites, sheltering them from the heat of the daylight sun, and allowing them the comfort, warmth and humidity they need to thrive. However, leaving your bed “as is” provides the opposite effect; it lets moving air in which dries up the damp atmosphere in the room—this poses a threat to dust mites as they could not survive in a dry environment.

Opposing Viewpoints

Although people who dread making their beds in the morning rejoice to know that having an unmade bed isn’t a bad thing after all, other researchers still expressed their disapproval of Pretlove’s claims. Professor  Andrew Wardlaw and allergist Myron Zitt, for instance, strongly opposed the idea of not making the bed stating it does not really solve the problem. They went on to say that simply leaving the bed unmade would not make a substantial impact on the dust mite population nor on overall humidity.

Keeping Dust Mites Away

If the unmade bed tactic somehow allows moisture to dissipate and dehydrates the bugs, health experts suggest not making your bed immediately in the morning, that is, leaving your bed unmade for a while to air out. Also, you must not let your pets stay in your bed to keep away from other bugs like ticks. It is also recommended that you regularly wash your beddings (every other week if possible) and vacuum mattresses in order to remove dust mites.

It’s a widely held notion that making your bed in the morning is a healthy practice. It makes your bed look tidy and according to research, it helps you start your day right. Nonetheless, the claim that an unmade bed could actually eliminate dust mites has shaken up that belief. This finding is yet to be tested further as suggested by other researchers. Initially, the test made by the Kingston University researchers was not enough to validate the efficacy of the unmade bed strategy as it was conducted in humid areas. This means that their findings are only true to humid regions and not necessarily to hot or tropical places.

Certainly, there has been a demand to pursue more studies to back the findings of Pertlove and consequently a new research aimed at proving the validity of Pertlove’s statements has been done. However, the study hasn’t been published yet. We just have to wait and see whether an unmade bed really does magic in terms of eliminating dust mites or not.

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