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Bedroom hygiene – WHY?

Australians spend a lot of time sleeping – an average of 8.5 hours every day. (Source 1) One third of every day - that’s a lot of time in the bedroom!

Bedrooms generally pose a low risk of transmission of pathogens. But keeping the bedroom free from debris and dust, and keeping bedding clean, can make this room a restful, comfortable and healthy environment.

Of particular relevance to bedroom hygiene are dust mites, which feed on human skin scales and thrive in humid climates. Droppings from dust mites contain proteins that can trigger allergies such as asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis in some individuals. (Source 2) Since an average human loses  moisture each night and sheds skin flakes, a typical mattress provides an ideal environment for dust mites and is thought to house between 100,000 and 10 million of these creatures. (Source 3)

Also relevant is the recent resurgence of bed bugs in Australia. (Source 4) Bites from bed bugs can cause allergic skin reactions in some individuals.

Bedroom hygiene – HOW?

Regularly vacuuming or sweeping keeps floors free from debris, dust, dust mites and animal hair.

Pillow and mattress protectors can be used to help prolong the life of your less-easily washed mattress and pillows. Waterproof mattress covers are especially important for children who wet the bed. Protectors and bed linen should be regularly laundered, and the mattress allowed to air while the sheets are being changed. There is no clear recommendation for how frequently bed linen should be changed, but individuals with allergies may benefit from more frequent changes.

Mattresses can also be vacuumed to remove dust, dust mites and their droppings, and allergens such as pollen. Vacuuming can also remove bed bugs, but will not remove their sticky eggs. However, bed bugs and their eggs can be killed by heat, so washing infested linen at 60 °C should be effective. There are also specific insecticides which are formulated to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

Source 1: ABS 4153.0 “How Australians use their time”,

Source 2: The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick & Kaleidoscope, Hunter Children's Health Network - 2005-2011, "Factsheet: House dust mite allergy - what should you do?"


Source 4: Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, Department of Entomology, Fact Sheet – Bed Bugs.

useful stuff...

Flushing the toilet sprays bacteria and viruses into air, which may float around for two hours after each flush.21 In 2006, women spent an average of 29 minutes and men 5 minutes per day on laundry & clothes care, and women spent an average of 69 minutes and men 29 minutes per day on food and drink preparation & cleanup.9 Australians experience approximately 15.9 million episodes of gastroenteritis every year.10
In 2006, Australians spent approximately 73% of their time at home or at someone else's house.9

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