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Is your bed making you ill?

Every now and then I like to write a post about my cleaning obsession which I am actually very proud of 🙂 And what better occasion than spring cleaning time to talk about bedsheets and how oftern you should change them?

Some time ago I read an article regarding children’s bedsheets and I cannot help but think that sometimes we underestimate the amount of germs that a bedsheet can contain.

Before going ahead I’d like to stress that I was not paid to write this article and as odd as it sounds, I actually like giving out information to keep your house as germ free as possible (yeah it’s an odd liking).

In my previous article I talked about the importance to make sure that your clothes and your sheets are not only cleaned but disinfected too. This time I’d like to talk in particular about the real possibility that your bed could make you sick…yep!

New research has found up to 10 million dust mites live and feed in just one bed! Whilst dust mites themselves are harmless, their faeces and body fragments can trigger allergic reactions prompting our body to release histamines to attack the allergen. This can cause eczema and hay fever, and estimates suggest dust mites may be a factor in up to 80 percent of asthmatics.

Items that comes into direct contact with the body, such as bed linen, are most likely to be contaminated with pathogens and after just one night of use, your bed sheets can accumulate a horrifying array of dead skin, bacteria, fungus, mites, and even faeces EEEEWWWWW

We spend around a third of our daily routine in bed so making sure that it is hygienically clean is a must if we want to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. So what exactly should we do?

Experts suggest that:

– we’d need to change our bedsheets at least once a week

– we should wash our bed linen separately from the rest of the laundry

– if washing at lower temperature we should make sure to use a disinfectant (I use Dettol antibacterial) which is actually proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria

– Decrease the temperature and humidity levels in your bedroom to reduce the number of dust mites

· Regularly vacuum all soft furnishings, including your mattress, within the bedroom

Out of these five valid points I’m guilty for number 1 and 5. Honestly, sometimes the time goes so fast that I think I changed the sheet only the week before but actually 2 weeks have gone by. I’m better when it comes to the kids bedsheets as I probably feel more guilty thinking that they could get germs from their own bed. Somehow I like to think that by providing added protection while they sleep I take better care of them especially knowing that they daily get enough germs from the nursery!!

dettol

Last week it was finally a bit warmer so I got the opportunity to wash our pillows and let them dry outside.  I just added a bit of Dettol antibacterial to the washing machine to make sure they were properly disinfected. I usually buy the big bottle in Costco so it lasts longer. At the moment I’m actually using the antibacterial for all my laundry and the idea that I can wash at lower temperature but still disinfecting them gives me a piece of mind especially when i see my kids coming home every day either with the a cold, a cough or a runny nose…

So just remember not because it smells good and it is stains free,  it means that it is actually hygienically clean.

 

Germ freak or hygiene conscious mum?

If you read my post about being a clean freak, you’d know by now my obsession about cleaning and germs and disinfecting pretty much everything that enters my house (people included if I could!) and items that my children come in contact with. But really if germs were not invisible and you could actually see them, would you not do that too?

When I was at the end of my pregnancy preparing for Leo’s arrival, I could not help but think about the importance for my newborn to be welcomed in an environment as much as possible germ free. I knew I was going to breastfeed him so knowing that I’ll give my baby’s immune system a boost against viruses (breast milk is filled with protective immunoglobulins that work to fight off bacteria and viruses) made me feel better but I felt that there was more I could do in order to protect him.

I started researching online and the only articles I could find were those where the real debate had wrongly switched over to the importance of choosing the right colour for the baby’s nursery rather than focusing on making our homes ready and igienically clean for the arrival of our little bundle of joy. When I searched for more specific information, few articles proved that my paranoia about germs wasn’t absurd. Bacteria for a newborn, whose immune system does not start to develop before 2-3 months, represent an actual risk that can potentially make a baby severly sick… and people need to know about that!

To me nesting meant not only making sure we had all the lovely little clothes cleaned and perfectly folded on a beautiful new white wardrobe filled with smelly cotton sheets and bunny soft toys BUT most of all, it meant making sure I was taking those extra precautions to ensure maximum protection from bacteria and viruses that normally exist around our house.

Leonardo eating sand at the beach, nice!

So what would you need to do in order to REALLY make your home baby ready? Hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerley offers the following advice:

  • Changing Mats – make sure that the mat is as free from bacteria as possible by using antibacterial wipes and after each nappy change avoid using baby wipes to clean the mat but again use an antibacterial product
  • Cots –Ensure bedding is hygienically clean by using an antibacterial laundry cleanser ( Dettol one for example, is proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria on rinse cycle temperatures as low as 15°C and it is dermatologically tested therefore ideal for children’s blankets, clothes, bedding, underwear and towels)
  • Surfaces – it is important to ensure that any surfaces where bottles or any other baby item (bib, dummy, etc) is placed are hygienically clean.
  • Hands – wash your hands before and after handling a baby and (if you don’t breastfeed) before preparing baby bottles. Ask other people who come and visit to wash their hands too before cuddling your little one

I don’t think people are actually aware of the importance to properly wash bed linen.  I came across an interesting article where Dr Pixie Mckenna (who you’d probably remember for presenting channel’s 4 “Embarassing bodies”) stresses about the fact that washing at 40 degrees does NOT kill bacterias in our laundry instead the risk is that germs are simply transferred from non-contaminated to contaminated items!

*horror in my face*

Since forever I’ve been using disinfectant gels, antibacterial hand washes, anti bacterial wipes and my latest addition is now  an anti bacterial laundry cleanser! ( my mom always asked me if I was using one). Think about when your baby has got a cold and what his sheets look like after a long night spent rubbing his itchy nose on his mattress to find some comfort. Don’t they deserve a very good clean?

By taking all this precautions, the question I ask myself is “Have I got it all covered?!?” Probably not but what I know is that in my little world I do my best to make sure maximum protection again germs  in my house is achieved.

Now that my children are a bit older washing hands with anti bacterial soap every time we come home is a must, wiping highchairs and tables with an anti bacterial spray or wipes is on order and the same treatment goes for the floor.

Check out my daughter’s reaction the first time she tries Dettol no touch hand wash. I created a monster haha

I’m aware that some germs could do some good and the fact that we live with 2 cats proves that I know how to find the right balance. But to the people who keep saying to me that bacteria is good for kids, I always reply that I’m sure my children have got plenty of other places where they can get germs from, so as much as I can, my house won’t be one of them.

*I was inspired to write this article by Dettol.  I was sent some products to try. Many of these products had already been used by our family and we already love them