Dirt, dead skin, 10m dust mites: maybe it’s time you cleaned your mattress – here’s how

Worried about asthma or eczema? It could be time to break out the baking soda and vacuum cleaner

Name: The mattress.

Age: The oldest mattress is believed to be 77,000 years old. It was discovered in South Africa and was made of reeds and rushes.

Appearance: Coated with dirt and dead skin and possibly harbouring as many as 10m dust mites.

Well, I suppose if it’s 77,000 years old, you’d expect a bit of wear and tear. No, that’s modern mattresses. We should be cleaning them every six months to deal with the buildup of grime and discourage mites, according to Australian bedding brand Bed Threads. How often do you clean yours?

Never, obviously. How on earth would you clean a mattress? I’m glad you asked. According to an Australian TikTok influencer …

No, I’m stopping you there. Don’t make me watch another cleaning TikTok. They’re all so jaunty! No one should be that happy about baking soda. Go on, this short mama_mila one is the perfect primer for mattress-cleaning novices such as yourself.

Can’t you just summarise it for me? Fine. Well, you strip the bed, vacuum it, sprinkle it with baking soda mixed with an essential oil, leave for several hours, then vacuum again – and, voilà, like new. The hi-energy Italian house soundtrack is optional.

I knew the hand of Big Baking Soda would be in there somewhere. Truly, baking soda is the answer to everything these days. There’s even a baking soda TikTok “hack” to stop alcohol tasting of, well, alcohol.

We’ve come a long way since school science project volcanoes. But, as no-fuss housework guru and bonkbuster author Shirley Conran might have said, surely life’s too short to soda a mattress? Not for people with allergies: dust mites are a very common allergen. Do I need to show you a picture of a dust mite?

Don’t you dare. OK, but they exacerbate symptoms for asthma and eczema sufferers and look very sinister.

Pfff. Cleanfluencers keep finding new ways to shame us for our grossness. It’s like when magazines went to war on wrinkly knees, discoloured armpits and “claw hands”. Or perhaps you actually are disgusting?

Rude. Is there any alternative to this rigamarole? Well, research way back in 1988 found that switching on an electric blanket during the day halved the number of mites in mattresses.

In 2022 only Roman Abramovich can afford that luxury. If you spend eight hours in bed with the blanket on, it would probably be more economical than using the central heating.

This is verging on Edwina Currie’s “helpful” advice about putting tinfoil behind your radiator to conserve heat.

Meh, I’m on TikTok time, so I’ve moved on. When did you last clean your shower curtain and your toothbrush holder?

Do say: “Baking soda is so versatile!”

Don’t say: “Where do I get hold of 77,000-year-old reeds?”

The GuardianTramp

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