How to Create a Dust-Free Bedroom
If you are dust-sensitive, especially if you have
allergies and/or asthma, you can reduce some of your misery
by creating a "dust-free" bedroom. Dust may contain molds,
fibers, and dander from dogs, cats, and other animals, as
well as tiny dust mites. These mites, which live in bedding,
upholstered furniture, and carpets, thrive in the summer and
die in the winter. They will, however, continue to thrive in
the winter if the house is warm and humid. The particles
seen floating in a shaft of sunlight include dead mites and
their waste products. The waste products actually provoke
the allergic reaction.
The routine cleaning necessary to maintain a dust-free
bedroom also can help reduce exposure to cockroaches,
another important cause of asthma in some allergic people.
You probably cannot control dust conditions under which
you work or spend your daylight hours. To a large extent,
however, you can eliminate dust from your bedroom. To create
a dust-free bedroom, you must reduce the number of surfaces
on which dust can collect.
In addition to getting medical care for your dust allergy
and/or asthma, the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases suggests the following guidelines.
- Completely empty the room, just as if you were
- Empty and clean all closets and, if possible, store
contents elsewhere and seal closets.
- Keep clothing in zippered plastic bags and shoes in
boxes off the floor, if you cannot store them elsewhere.
- Remove carpeting, if possible.
- Clean and scrub the woodwork and floors thoroughly
to remove all traces of dust.
- Wipe wood, tile, or linoleum floors with water, wax,
- Cement any linoleum to the floor.
- Close the doors and windows until the dust-sensitive
person is ready to use the room.
- Wear a filter mask when cleaning.
- Clean the room thoroughly and completely once a
- Clean floors, furniture, tops of doors, window
frames and sills, etc., with a damp cloth or oil mop.
- Carefully vacuum carpet and upholstery regularly.
- Use a special filter in the vacuum.
- Wash curtains often at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Air the room thoroughly.
CARPETING AND FLOORING
Carpeting makes dust control impossible. Although shag
carpets are the worst type to have if you are dust
sensitive, all carpets trap dust. Therefore, health care
experts recommend hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors.
Treating carpets with tannic acid eliminates some dust mite
allergen. Tannic acid, however, is
- Not as effective as removing the carpet
- Is irritating to some people
- Must be applied repeatedly
BEDS AND BEDDING
Keep only one bed in the bedroom. Most importantly,
encase box springs and mattress in a zippered dust-proof or
allergen-proof cover. Scrub bed springs outside the room. If
you must have a second bed in the room, prepare it in the
Use only washable materials on the bed. Sheets, blankets,
and other bedclothes should be washed frequently in water
that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a synthetic, such as Dacron, mattress pad and pillow.
Avoid fuzzy wool blankets or feather- or wool-stuffed
comforters and mattress pads.
- Lower temperatures will not kill dust mites.
- If you set your hot water temperature lower
(commonly done to prevent children from scalding
themselves), wash items at a laundromat which uses high
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
Keep furniture and furnishings to a minimum.
- Avoid upholstered furniture and blinds.
- Use only a wooden or metal chair that you can scrub.
- Use only plain, lightweight curtains on the windows.
Air filters-either added to a furnace or a room unit-can
reduce the levels of allergens. Electrostatic and HEPA
(high-efficiency particulate absorption) filters can
effectively remove many allergens from the air. If they
don't function right, however, electrostatic filters may
give off ozone, which can be harmful to your lungs if you
A dehumidifier may help because house mites need high
humidity to live and grow. You should take special care to
clean the unit frequently with a weak bleach solution (1 cup
bleach in 1 gallon water) or a commercial product to prevent
mold growth. Although low humidity may reduce dust mite
levels, it might irritate your nose and lungs.
In addition to the above guidelines, if you are caring for a
child who is dust-sensitive
- Keep toys that will accumulate dust out of the
- Avoid stuffed toys
- Use only washable toys of wood, rubber, metal, or
- Store toys in a closed toy box or chest
Keep all animals with fur or feathers out of the bedroom. If
you are allergic to dust mites, you could also be allergic
or develop an allergy to cats, dogs, or other animals.
Although these steps may seem difficult at first,
experience plus habit will make them easier. The
results-better breathing, fewer medicines, and greater
freedom from allergy and asthma attacks-will be well worth