Three horror stories to banish from your bedroom
It's the best time of year to curl up with a horror story, be it a ghost, a ghoul or malicious witch. The bad news is there are worse things in your room than any imaginary monster - and you could be sleeping with them, right now.
1. Crawling pillows.
You constantly shed hair and skin cells when you sleep, making pillows the ideal place for dust mites to live. So much, in fact, that up to 10% of an older pillow’s weight is human detritus, plus dirt, saliva and bedbugs. On top of that, pillows can also harbor fungi, with some strains ( aspergillus fumigatus), aggravating asthma.
The good news is that it's easy to correct. Down and feather pillows can be gently washed by hand with a powder detergent. Memory foam or latex can be spot-cleaned and aired outside. Polyester pillows can go in the washing machine (two at a time) with a mild liquid detergent and two tablespoons of baking soda, if they smell. Aim to wash your pillows twice a year and replace them when they start to go thin and no longer bounce back when you fold them. Polyester pillows, in particular, only last for two years.
2. Creeping rugs
Forget vacuuming - when was the last time you washed your rug? Despite our best efforts, our woven fabrics naturally collect all kinds of dirt, from dust and skin to bacteria, lice, fleas and fecal matter. Even a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner can struggle to shift ground-in dirt, which is why it's a good idea to get them properly steamed. Most domestic steamers now have a carpet option or you can simply rent a carpet cleaner for the weekend (and whilst you are at it, make sure you do your fabric sofa too!) You will be amazed at the difference it can make. Some steamers allow you to add scented water to the machine, allowing you to finish with a pleasant atmosphere.
3. Infested water-traps
Many of us use dehumidifiers at this time of year, to avoid damp rooms and condensation on the windows. But this can also be the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mould. Whenever you empty your water trap, give it a squirt of detergent and a quick scrub to keep it clean. You also need to check the filters and give the machine a thorough clean at the beginning and end of winter. Finally, keep an eye on the air filters as they easily get clogged up or even host creepy-crawlies such as spider, ladybirds and moths. That’s not something you want to see erupt from the machine, when it’s first switched on!
Even if you are using dehumidifiers, it still pays to open the windows and let the air circulate. Indoor air can quickly become stale during the winter period, thanks to from the stove or fireplace, oxides from gas appliances and aerosols from household cleaners. Just letting the breeze blow through your upstairs rooms for an hour whilst you are out can make a difference.
Are you ready for winter? Be prepared – and don’t forget your favorite bedtime novel.