As if... As if by this age someone needs to explain how to keep your comforter clean. Nonsense. Obviously, you’d pass the UV light test with flying colors, right?
“What’s that?”, you say.
You’ve watched enough crime dramas to know, haven’t you? That’s when the forensics special agent comes into the hotel room with a UV blacklight flashlight to scan the bed to see if the perpetrator left any “traces” behind.
“Oh, that UV light test”, you say.
See, as we thought, there’s nothing to worry about. So, stop reading this article now and send a link to your teenagers or someone else who might be shocked at what they see on their comforters. You just sleep tight tonight.
Dust mites, bed bugs and other little creatures that might be sharing your comforter
We’re not even talking about the whole world of things you need a microscope to see. We’re talking about the nasty little things you can see with the naked eye (and maybe a pair of safety glasses -- just in case).
Every now and then we hear about some city having an outbreak of bed bugs somewhere in the country. In 2021, Chicago had the worse infestation. You can learn more here.
There is no doubt -- Dust mites, fleas, German cockroach nymphs, and carpet beetles can be found in and around your bed. Yuk!
Sleep time is dinner time for these bugs
There are 11 kinds of bugs that look like bed bugs and then there’s a whole bunch of other ones that are easier to tell apart. Regardless, one of the most common foods among these bugs is dead skin cells from you. That’s right. When you go to sleep, it’s chow down time for them.
When you lie in bed, dead skin cells naturally fall off your body. The more people and pets that use your bed to watch Saturday morning cartoons, the more of a smorgasbord accumulates for your unwanted bed mates. Duvet covers, mattress pads, mattress protectors, blankets, sheets, pillows, mattresses and just about all your other bed linens provide a warm and cozy place to feast for these bugs.
Those annoying fabric care labels make great reading
Oh, please don’t tell me you tore them off. Oops. When you decide to clean your mattress, you can always use a gentle cleaning solution in a spray bottle and test it in a small corner that will be out of sight.
Deep cleaning just about everything else can be accomplished at home or at a local laundromat that has those giant load capacity washers and dryers. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in a laundromat, you’ll get a big kick out of watching those machine do their magic washing your sheets and your other bed linens.
What if you don’t want to wash your covers?
#1 You could move
#2 You could make friends with the bugs
#3 You could wear a hazmat suit to bed every night
#4 You could train your bugs to visit other people’s bedrooms for a dinner snack
#5 You could douse everything you own in patchouli oil (like we did in college)
Eventually, you must do it. In the meantime, if things like your mattress pad or your comforter cover are too big for you to tackle on your own, you might want to spot clean them in between washings.
Enzyme cleaners are relatively new to the market and they do a great job on little areas that need attention. A good stain remover and a clean cloth can do wonders. You can also sprinkle baking soda on your bed linens, let it sit for 20 minutes and then vacuum very thoroughly. Somehow, this will leave your bed linens smelling naturally fresh and clean without deodorizers.
Defcon 1: Dry cleaning
If you let things get this bad, you’ve got one option left – the dry cleaners. Visit your local dry cleaner, suggest they may want to take this sitting down and then, come clean – about everything. They may go pale at first but chances are they will help you out.
As painfully expensive as it may be, you can rest assured you did the right thing. As a reminder, the lower the defcon number the more scary things get. Learn more about defcon levels here.
Sunshine is a great disinfectant
It’s really too bad hardly anyone hangs their clothes out to dry anymore. A few hours of sunshine somehow adds the kind of fresh smell only nature can provide. You don’t need a clothesline necessarily. Somewhere dry and clean will do.
Set out your pillows and lay out your comforter/cover and let the sunshine in to do its thing. You’ll be impressed with the results. And depending on how much time and sunshine you have, there are many benefits to sunshine.
Don’t go nose blind
It’s a thing. Really, it is. We can get so accustomed to the way things smell in our home, we don’t smell them anymore. Ever walk through an apartment building hallway and think to yourself, “Oh my, who died in this hallway?”
Well, everyone else thinks the same thing when they’re walking down your hallway. Unfortunately, it can happen in a teenager’s room or dare I say, a bachelor pad.
How often should you wash your bed sheets?
Once a week. Yes, under ideal conditions, you should wash your bed sheets once a week. What if you don’t use a top sheet? What if you just use a fitted sheet on the mattress and a duvet or comforter without a top sheet?
A good rule of thumb is to wash everything that your body comes into contact with once a week. If you sleep in the buff, you might want to up the frequency. If you sleep with full pajamas, you can go a day or so longer. Learn more about how often here.
Your bedroom is sanctum sanctorum
It’s your happy place. It’s your safe place. It’s your um, er, well, you get it. Treat it as such. Make it special.